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The Prescott Daily Courier | Prescott, Arizona

home : latest news : local September 14, 2014

4/19/2012 10:01:00 PM
Former principal Bob Williams leaves behind legacy of caring
Les Stukenberg/The Daily Courier, file
Retiring Miller Valley Elementary School Principal Bob Williams gets a hug from an emotional Jimmy Dilley on the second to last day of school for the year June 1, 2005.
Les Stukenberg/The Daily Courier, file
Retiring Miller Valley Elementary School Principal Bob Williams gets a hug from an emotional Jimmy Dilley on the second to last day of school for the year June 1, 2005.
The Daily Courier/file
Kindergarten students from Miller Valley School surround principal Bob Williams May 3, 2001.
The Daily Courier/file
Kindergarten students from Miller Valley School surround principal Bob Williams May 3, 2001.
To learn more about Bob Williams or share your memories of him, visit remembranceofbobwilliams.wordpress.com.

A celebration of life memorial for Williams will be held Saturday, May 5, in Prescott at a location to be determined. For more information, call Jon Williams at 818-522-9464 or email him at tjwfree@yahoo.com.

Lisa Irish
The Daily Courier

When Bob Williams, 56, who served as principal at Miller Valley School for 18 years, passed away on April 13, Prescott lost a man who enriched the lives of hundreds of students and their families.

"Bob would greet all the students by name as they got off the bus, making them smile, and he'd remember them, and their parents, brothers and sisters when he spoke with them years later," said Justine Mendanhall, a counselor at the school. "His love of special education students was unequalled. Bob was the finest person I've ever known, and I'm 80 years old."

Williams began teaching at Prescott Mile High Middle School in 1980. Whenever Jim Howard, Prescott Unified School District's superintendent, walked into Williams classroom, he was impressed.

"Bob had those kids so captivated and deeply involved in what they were doing, they never knew I was there," said Howard.

Howard said he approached Williams about becoming an administrator, and later hired him as principal at Miller Valley School in 1987.

"That place just rocked and rolled when he worked there," Howard said. "The saying they painted on the mural there - 'Loving to Learn and Learning to Love' - that was Bob's philosophy."

Jean and Dave McGee, who taught at the school, said they watched Bob create a large, loving family of teachers, staff, parents, students, and community members.

"He would play his guitar in the classroom, play ball with the kids at recess, eat lunch with the students in the cafeteria, and would gladly and proudly make time for any child to read to him," said Jean McGee. "His motto while principal and the deciding factor for every decision was, 'Is it good for kids?' He made us better teachers. He made us better people."

If an art, music or P.E. teacher was out, Williams would substitute so students wouldn't miss those fun classes they looked forward to so much, said Kathleen Newman, who taught at the school.

The students and staff members' needs always came before the paperwork for Williams, said Jim Williams, who taught for years at the school, but is not related to Bob. "He worked so hard for us and that's why he will always be loved so much."

After he left education, Williams worked at Keller Williams Check Realty for the past six and a half years. Doug Bunch, co-owner of the real estate firm, said you could see his pride in his three children, Whitney, 18, Brooke, 16, and Casey, 14.

"His children were the center of his world," said Becky Williams, Bob's sister, who noted he still made time to mentor her son as he began his teaching career.

"Bob's eyes sparkled when he talked about his children," Bunch said. "He helped raise thousands of dollars over the years for local charities and gave countless hours to community service projects."

Williams was "a man's man" who was the area's first Special Olympics coach, enjoyed playing basketball, softball, and especially exploring and river-rafting, said his friend Brad Newman, who runs Yavapai Exceptional Industries.

"Bob wrote the book on running the Verde River," Newman said. "He rafted, canoed, and owned every foot of that river from Del Rio Springs to Verde Lake, and he taught us all." Newman and Howard said Williams was their role model of a quiet, confident, servant leader, and they enjoyed playing all types of music with him at Mingus Springs Camp, Acker Night, and many other local venues.

Keller Williams Check Realty, with the support of the Prescott Unified School District, set up the Bob Williams Children's Educational Trust at Country Bank to honor Bob's memory and to support his children's future educational needs. Donations can be made out to the trust and mailed or dropped off at Keller Williams Check Realty, 102 N. Montezuma Street, Prescott, AZ 86301.

Related Stories:
• Letter: Prescott educator fondly remembered
• Obituary: Robert Arthur Williams III

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Reader Comments

Posted: Friday, April 20, 2012
Article comment by: Chris Howard

Bob Williams was the "best of the best."

As a school administrator he set the bar high in his interaction with the students, teachers and parents. He was hands on all the way.

Always a smile, the correct action, and the extra mile...that was Bob and more.

I was sad when he retired early from working with PUSD because he was such an asset.

Always cheerful, a smile, and a positive outlook.

It should be our honor to rename the Miller Valley School after such a man and I hope that is a consideration taken up by the school board at their next meeting.

Our hearts go out to his family and especially his kids.

One of our fallen heros, way to early.

Chris Howard and family

Posted: Friday, April 20, 2012
Article comment by: Kevan Burks

My heart is broken...he will never be replaced...period. He knew MY name the second day of school and NEVER forgot my kids' names...EVER! I know heaven has a great educator now...BLESS YOU for your time here and the impact you made

Posted: Friday, April 20, 2012
Article comment by: Paul Manz

What a great guy. We worked together 30 years ago at Dexter, and then again at MV. He'll be missed!

Posted: Friday, April 20, 2012
Article comment by: Mr. K

I knew Bob for many years. He was a great educator and administrator. A wonderful man. His passing is a great loss to our community.

Posted: Friday, April 20, 2012
Article comment by: Jean McGee

What a great story! What a great man! He will be missed dearly!

Posted: Friday, April 20, 2012
Article comment by: Pete Weaver

Bob was indeed a wonderful man. For the few years that I knew him, I was impressed with his gentle nature, kindness, and compassion. Bob will be missed. God bless his family and friends. Goodbye Bob, you were one of a kind.

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