A Celebration of Life will be held for Durwood “Wood” Renee Williams from 4 to 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, April 17, at Johnston's Meat Market, located at 1480 W. Washington St.
Wood was a longtime employee at Johnston's and was loved and respected by all he made contact with.
He was born on August 8, 1957 in Dade City, FL. He moved to Tampa, FL in 1972 where he attended the Hillsborough County Public School System, and graduated from Robinson High School. He enlisted into the United States Air Force in 1975 after graduating high school. He is proceeded in death by his youngest sister Andrea D. Williams. He leaves to cherish his memory: his mother, Mary A. Williams; two daughters, Vallerie R. Williams and Devanie R. Williams; two sisters, Essie B. Williams and Nina L. Talley; and one brother, Cecil L. Williams. He also leaves behind his three nieces: Brandi Williams, Carla Flagg and Markela Williams; three nephews: Marvin Ford Sr., Brandon Gongora and Carl Flagg Jr; and a host of great-nieces, nephews and cousins.
Hal Bennett met and hired Wood 23 years ago when he came to Johnston's on a bicycle asking for a job. “I hired him on the spot and have never looked back,” says Bennett. “Wood was a man of his word. He set his standards high and his quality as a person are like none other. Wood was not just my right hand man, he was my friend. And he was a good friend. He loved to read, and his knowledge of the meat market business was far and beyond anyone else. He was always the first one to arrive in the morning and the last one to leave. He was a part of my kids lives and they always looked at him as family. When the grand-kids would come by... they'd ask, “Where's Wood!” We all thought the world of him. He was a part of my family. When customers would come in they would want Wood to wait on them. Every customer Wood worked with loved him. He was able to help them like no one else could. He will always be in the memories of Johnston's Meat Market. He was with us through thick and thin. He was family like no other. There is nothing anyone could say about him that wasn't good. He was special.”
Come meet Wood's family on Wednesday. All are invited to share stories and enjoy light refreshments at the place Wood made his home these past 23 years... Johnston's Meat Market.
I called him Mr. Woods
By Frequita S. Barrington
These days it’s rare that you meet someone that leaves an impression on you, an impression that causes a void when that person is no longer around. I met such a man, he was not tall in stature, but he was a giant among men with his personality, his kind considerate ways, the mastery of his craft and his silent sense of humor.
He wasn’t a wealthy man he didn’t have a fancy job, but he was extremely good at what he did. He was a butcher in a family own business in Monticello, Florida where I live. He was a man who helped to make his employer’s business one of great customer service. Everyone that came into Johnston’s Meat Market, every customer that he served remembered him in a positive and heart-warming way. Saturday, April 13, 2019 was a sad day for me, my heart was heavy because Mr. Woods had gone away. I went to Johnston’s that morning knowing but hoping that the news of his passing was just a dream. I walked through that door expecting to see him with his trademark bandanna covering his long dreads behind the counter. I looked but of course he was not there. The reality that I will not see him there again was real, the void was real. I never knew his first name, I always called him Mr. Woods.
Mr. Woods always greeted me as he did all customers in a personal way. A way that made you feel that he cared about you, a way that made you feel that he remembered the way you liked your bacon sliced, or if you liked hot or spicy sausage. For me he remembered that no matter the amount of my order I wanted it divided in $5.00 packages. On numerous occasions he would go through many parts of the hog to find that right piece of bacon to give me that perfect cut.
There was something about his calm demeanor and always optimistic and encouraging words that I will miss. If you walked into the store with a frown on your face Mr. Woods would say, “What’s the matter, it can’t be that bad. Tomorrow is another day.” When I walked out, I felt much better. When I went to buy bacon for my family after the passing of my late husband, Mr. Woods after learning of my husband’s death told his boss, I’m going to take care of that bill. My husband as a customer had touched the spirit of Mr. Woods and Mr. Woods spirit has touched me. Several of my family and friends only met Mr. Woods once when they visited Johnston’s to buy the bacon that we all love. When I phoned them to tell them of Mr. Woods passing, they too had pleasant memories of their encounter with him.
So, let us take a lesson from the passing of Mr. Durwood Williams. Let us remember that he was a relatively young man and that he looked healthy. Let us remember that we never know when our last breath will be exhaled. We never know when we see a person if that will be the last time we see them, or they see us. Most importantly, let us be reminded that when we smile at someone today, they may not be here tomorrow to smile back, or we might not be here tomorrow to see their smile. Thank you, Mr. Woods, for those perfect cuts, precise wrappings and for being a cut above.