Timothy T. Williams, an attorney and homeless advocate who established transitional-living and recovery centers in city neighborhoods, died of a heart attack Dec. 8 at his Lutherville home. He was 64.
Born in Baltimore and raised in the Sunnybrook section of Phoenix in Baltimore County, he was the son of Charles Eugene "Gene" Williams, president of the old Baltimore Federal Savings and Loan Association. His mother was the former Genevieve O'Neill, a homemaker.
He attended St. John the Evangelist Catholic School in Long Green Valley and was a 1967 graduate of Calvert Hall College High School, where he played varsity basketball and baseball. He earned a bachelor's degree at Wheeling College in Wheeling, W.Va., where he also played basketball. He then earned a degree from the University of Baltimore School of Law.
He became a Volunteers in Service to America volunteer in Brownsville, Texas, and worked to defend the poor. He also was a law clerk for the late Judge Albert Close of the Circuit Court for Harford County.
"Taking care of the underserved matched his personality," said his wife, the former Mary Ann Fetting. "He always was a kind, gentle soul, and he saw that piece in other people."
Family members said he chose not to practice law and joined the St. Ambrose Housing Aid Center on 25th Street.
"He decided he needed more out of his life than working as a lawyer," said Michael Seipp, a friend and colleague with whom he worked for many years.
Mr. Williams became the executive director at what was called the South Baltimore Homeless Shelter, then located on Wall Street. The shelter served homeless men.
"He wanted to help people change their lives for the better," said his brother, Joseph T. Williams of Hunt Valley.
The shelter later changed its name to The Baltimore Station after it moved to larger quarters in a former firehouse at West and Leadenhall streets.
"The objective was not only to provide food and shelter for a temporary period, but ... to build a program whereby homeless men would sign a contract," his brother said. "They agreed to deal with the situations that caused their homelessness. They had to apply for admission. They agreed to no drugs or alcohol. And you had to keep yourself clean. He achieved a 20 percent success rate, which was considered high."
Mr. Seipp, who is now executive director of The Baltimore Station, said: "Tim was an inspiration to all of us involved in working with the disenfranchised citizens of Baltimore. Tim cared about the person, not statistics or metrics, but how could he ensure that their quality of life was enhanced by their interaction with Tim. Baltimore lost a treasure with his passing from this earth."
Russell Jackson, the Station's food services manager whom Mr. Williams helped when he was homeless, said: "I met Tim in 1995. He was the first person in a long time in my life who was willing to give me a chance to do what I wanted to do to be successful. Without Tim, I would not be where I am today. I work as the chef and have my own catering company. Tim believed in me. This was something I had not had in my life for a long time."
In 2005, Mr. Williams, after working at Jobs, Housing and Recovery on West North Avenue, saw a need for housing for women with children. He founded a nonprofit, the Supportive Housing Group. He acquired a former school at 1600 Rutland Ave. in East Baltimore, north of the Johns Hopkins Hospital complex.
"His objective was to help families make a permanent transition from homelessness to having their own home," said his brother, adding that in the past seven years, the place assisted about 235 families with 410 total children.
"I could not believe that a man could do so much for so many people. He was the most selfless person I ever met," said Dennis Trencher, Supportive Housing's treasurer-secretary and the group's interim chair.
"He worked to help people, and his reward was knowing that he had made a real difference, that he was able to change their lives for the better. He took a person or a family living on the street and gave them their life back. Tim was a light in my life. He made me feel richer because I could help him."
Mr. Williams spent his free time with his family and at his children's sports events.
"He was at his job early in the morning and stayed until late at night," his brother said.
A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. Jan. 25 at Towson Unitarian Universalist Church, 1710 Dulaney Valley Road, Lutherville.
In addition to his wife of 34 years and his brother, survivors include two sons, Eugene Timothy Williams of Parkville and Russell Henry Williams of Baltimore; a daughter, Dorothy Williams Cook of Baltimore; another brother, John F. Williams of Laurel; and a sister, Ann Williams of Towson.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun