Benjamin Forrest Williams

Born: Thu., Dec. 24, 1925
Died: Fri., Nov. 24, 2017


3:00 PM to 4:00 PM, Sun., Jan. 14, 2018
Location: Gregg Museum in Raleigh

Celebration of Life

3:00 PM Sun., Jan. 14, 2018
Location: Gregg Museum in Raleigh

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Benjamin Forrest Williams, 91, passed away peacefully at the University of North Carolina Memorial Hospital on Friday, November 24, 2017.

Ben was born to Benjamin Forrest Williams, Sr. and Mamie Britt Williams on December 24, 1925 in Lumberton, NC.  An artist, he studied at the Corcoran School of Art and Black Mountain College before ultimately receiving a degree from the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill.  He then studied in France with Henri Matisse before being recalled to North Carolina to join the North Carolina Museum of Art in 1949, where he was appointed Curator in 1956 and served until 1979.  He also served as North Carolina State University’s Curator of Art, and was instrumental in starting the Friends of the College series and the Gregg Museum.  After his retirement, he led an art critique group for over 30 years.  He had a strong interest in the arts and architecture of North Carolina and worked to document and preserve the work of Black Mountain College, Jugtown Pottery, early North Carolina artists, and others.  He was awarded the Raleigh Medal of Honor for the Arts by the NC Department of Cultural Resources in 1989.

Ben married Margaret Click in 1955.  They were inseparable for their 62 years of marriage and shared a passion for art.  They spent many summers traveling in Europe studying art, and also led art tours in Europe and behind the Iron Curtain in the Soviet Union and China. They loved to entertain friends and visiting artists in their home in Raleigh.  They later acquired an antebellum home in Yanceyville, NC, which, after a loving restoration, became their primary residence.

Ben was a devoted husband and loving uncle.  He was generous with his praise and support of artists.  He had a strong desire to create and preserve, continuing to paint, sculpt, and work on various projects until the end of his life.

He is preceded in death by his parents and his brother James Herman Williams.  He is survived by his wife Margaret, sister-in-law Ruth Click Rosenstein, numerous cousins, nieces, and nephews, and close family friend Curtis Steele.

A celebration of Ben’s life for friends and family will be held at the Gregg Museum in Raleigh on Sunday, January 14, 2018 at 3:00.  In lieu of flowers, the family suggests that those wishing to memorialize Ben’s life may do so with a contribution to Black Mountain College Museum in Asheville or the Gregg Museum in Raleigh.

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Harrelson Funeral Services of Yanceyville, NC is privileged to serve the Williams Family

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Lois McIver Winstead
   Posted Mon November 27, 2017
Ben was one of North Carolina's great treasures - an artist, a curator, a historian, a teacher and friend. A man of countless talents and hues, he was unique and brilliant. He and his surviving wife, Margaret, have been my friends for over 60 years. From "Women's College" to Raleigh, their wedding in the UNC arboretum, and home in Yanceyville, the years have not diminished our ties, our friendship and loyalty.

With love and concern for Margaret and my sincere sympathies, I will miss him greatly. With love, Lois McIver Winstead

R G D Pottage 111
   Posted Mon November 27, 2017
Chip Pottage

Nancy P Dunn
   Posted Sun December 10, 2017
You will be missed, Ben.

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