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  • Writer's picturelilmyacofield


Carlsbad said goodbye to one of its legends, Captain James B. Williams, on July 10.The funeral service for the long-time police officer, school board member and community leader clocked in at just under 2 ½ hours. How could you ever have enough time to declare allthat there is to say about a man who did so muchfor those around him? It was also, beyond any doubt, one of the most upbeat services I’ve ever witnessed. Captain Williams’family and friends celebrated and rejoiced the fact that this man of faith was earning a much-deserved rest in the Kingdom of Heaven. Here was a place and here was a time of the most sincere faith imaginable. You can read Captain Williams’obituary for hishistory-Carlsbad’s first Black police officer, school board member, everything else. Carlsbad was so incredibly fortunate that he and his wife, Julia, moved here. But the personal moments of his funeral service were an opportunity to truly learn about what a man he was. Person after person spoke about what Captain Williams did for them. One man recalled meeting the captain in the most traditional of fashions for meeting a police officer-being pulled over for speeding. He later married into the family. Another woman recalled being in Carlsbad on a business trip when Captain Williams invited her to church –it took two or three tries. Now, three generations of her family attend the same church, and many of them serve in the band.Follow police officers talked about everything Williams did for them as a mentor. And the music, the Captain’s very own daughter, Trevia Williams-Spurlock, guided a toe-tapping, hand-waving harmony that banished my recurring agnosticism to the furthest reaches of my mind. Having spent the weekbefore preparing concertsfor Independence Day -Trevia outclassed them all. The Rev. David McPherson confidently took up the worshipful chant for the final act of the service. Together, their music bound everyone togetherin a blend of community and faith. As both an observer and a participant, I found myself drawn to the scene’s anomalies. A motherstood andjoined with those in the rows around her waiving her hands in sync to Trevia’s masterful performance. However, the woman’s daughter, seated next toher, glanced back and forth between her mother and the others worshipping around her. I imagined the internal struggle going on between adolescent shyness and wanting to join her mom and the others. Up on the stage, a line of preachers tapped their feetin concert to the melody. Only one member of the clergy moved just a little faster than the other four, his exuberance perhaps pushing him just a little too fast. It occurred to me that we are not an anthill. When we come together as one, we still each maintain our own unique identity, and that’s what makes it so beautiful.The profound feeling of faith and belonging I felt at that moment was enhancedprecisely because of that hesitant young woman, that over-enthusiastic preacher, and the uniqueness of every other man, woman and child who turned out that day. We came together and as individuals to say farewell to Captain James Williams, and to share the fond memories of all that he did for this community and all that he did for each of us on a personal level. He will be greatly missed.

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