James Williams 1965-2020
Williams, James Rankin passed away on Tuesday, October 20, 2020.
Born August 2, 1965 in Carmi, Illinois, Jim was the oldest child of Larry and Judith Williams.
After graduating from law school in 1990, he moved to St. Louis where he began working at Armstrong Teasdale LLP. Offered an opportunity to assume an existing practice in Belleville, Illinois, Jim moved across the river in 1992 and began practicing law with his partner and friend, Kirk Caponi. A year later he married a former Armstrong Teasdale colleague, Lisa Wood, convincing her to cross the river as well. Their son, Benjamin James, was born in 1995, followed by daughter, Blaire Jaqueline, in 2000. A capable attorney and counselor, Jim represented his clients with vigor, honesty, and compassion. Many of them consider him a friend as do many lawyers and judges in St. Clair County and throughout downstate Illinois. A lifelong Democrat he was active in local politics for many years.
Jim's hobbies are too numerous to mention, but there were none at which he was not adept. Diagnosed with synovial sarcoma nearly 12 years ago, Jim refused to let his diagnosis define him and chose instead to continue living his life to the fullest while at the same time enduring multiple surgeries and rounds of chemotherapy and radiation. He participated in clinical trials, believing a cure would be found, but probably not in time for him. Many thanks are owed to the accomplished physicians and their teams at Siteman Cancer Center, including Drs. Doug McDonald, Doug Adkins, Jeff Michalski, Brian Van Tine, Matt Spraker, and Jack Jennings. They allowed Jim to watch his children become adults and to begin to define their own paths. And they allowed Ben and Blaire to know their father not only as children, but also as adults. Jim's love for his children knew no bounds as did their love for him. And Ben and Blaire will be Lisa's greatest reminder of the nearly 27 years she was so privileged to share with Jim. He was simply the best.
In addition to Lisa, Ben, and Blaire, Jim is survived by his parents, his younger sisters, Suzanne (John) Beaver and Mollie (Stephen) Woods, nephews, William and Paul Woods, and niece, Sara Woods, and many cousins. His mother-in-law, Jackie Wood, predeceased him, but Jim is survived by his father-in-law, Mike (Diane) Wood and sisters-in-law Kristin (Darrel) Pfeifauf and Katie (Christina) Preiss. Jim and Lisa found a second home in Door County, Wisconsin, where he, Lisa, Ben, and Blaire spent many summer vacations and fall breaks, golfing, hiking, and sailing the waters of Lake Michigan on a sailboat aptly named Carpe Diem. It is there he will return.