The Sykesville Police Department is mourning the loss of their former Chief of Police John R. Williams Jr., 67, who died July 17. Williams served Sykesville from November 2001 to October 2013.
“His legacy lives on in many of the programs, policies and events that are still in place here in town,” said a message posted on the police department’s Facebook page. “In particular, the Sykesville Police Department’s annual Jr. CSI Academy, which Chief Williams created back in 2008, just celebrated its 10th year this past Fall and is scheduled again this Fall.”
According to an obituary posted on the website for Parsell Funeral Home in Lewes, Delaware, Williams started his law enforcement career in Prince George’s County as a police officer and as the head K-9 trainer for his department. He later worked for Fredrick County Police Department.
Sgt. Shawn Kilgore worked with Williams for the 12 years he served Sykesville.
“I found a person in Chief Williams that took the time to care about his officers and his officers’ families,” said Kilgore. “He knew everything about my kids, as he did with everybody who had families. He invested himself in us and, in turn, we invested in him.”
“He was a picture perfect kind of cop that you would want on your side or working a call with you, down to earth and understood what the rigors of this profession are.”
The obituary described him as “an adoring and devoted husband, father, grandfather, brother and friend.”
“He was very much a family man,” said Linda Williams, his widow. “He loved his grandchildren and his children and always liked to plan activities for everyone.”
Shortly after retiring from Sykesville, Williams moved to Delaware to live in what had formerly been a vacation home.
“He enjoyed kayaking” said Linda. “His biggest love was classic cars and he would take his cars to car shows and generally get an award every one he went to. We’d like to travel since he retired. Having been married to a policeman who worked shift work most of his life we were trying to make up for lost time.”
A service will be held Aug. 1 at Parsell Funeral Home at 6 p.m. Instead of flowers, the family has suggested that people contribute to Johns Hopkins Pediatric Oncology, in Williams’s memory, according to the funeral home’s obituary. Williams was preceded in death by his sisters: Grace Ann Hance and Joan Marie Guider. In addition to his wife, he is survived by his son, Casey Williams; his daughter, Megan Schoepf; his grandchildren: Jaden Newcomer, Carter Fannin, Jake Newcomer, Roman Williams, Braxton Schoepf, and Payton Schoepf (to be arriving soon); and his sister, Betty Ledford.
According to Kilgore, Williams helped push him forward in the Sykesville Police Department.
“He took the time to mentor me and put me in a position to progress into a leadership role,” said Kilgore. “I can remember him pulling me into the office one day and saying ‘Hey, I see a lot of potential in you as a leader, have you thought about, if you don’t have it already, getting a college degree?’ At the time I didn’t have it so he encouraged me to go get it, which I did."
Williams also presented Kilgore with the opportunity for him to attend training at the Northwestern University School of Police Staff and Command through a grant he received from the Maryland Highway Safety Office, with which Williams put him in touch.
“He was a picture-perfect kind of cop that you would want on your side or working a call with you, down to earth and understood what the rigors of this profession are.”
When people interacted with Williams, Kilgore said, “I didn’t deal with the chief of police very often, I always dealt with John” and the chief and John were two different guys. Kilgore’s daughter lovingly referred to Williams as “Chief PopPop,” originating from the nickname given to Williams by his grandchildren.
“I am blessed to have had the opportunity to work for Chief John Williams, to be mentored by him but I am truly blessed to know him as a friend and a colleague,” Kilgore said. “I can tell you we are heartbroken.”