Dick Williams is 2011 parade grand marshal
This photograph was snapped as Dick Williams learned, while editing this week’s paper, that he had been selected as grand marshal for the July 4 parade. Crier photo: Cathy Cobbs

By Cathy Cobbs

For The Crier

The Dunwoody Crier’s owner and editor, Dick Williams, has been chosen as the grand marshal for this year’s July 4 parade.

The parade committee selected Williams, who is usually heavily involved in the grand marshal decision, in a secret vote on January 9. Ironically, the committee was counting on the-perennially late Williams to arrive on “Dick time” to the meeting, which ranges anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes after any expected start time.

But this day, Williams was only five to six minutes behind, which means the committee barely had time to approve his selection and swear everyone to secrecy.

“We couldn’t believe it when we looked up almost immediately after the vote and there he was,” said parade co-chair Pam Tallmadge. “We smoothly moved onto the next topic, saying that the grand marshal agenda item was to be decided at a future meeting.”

Parade co-chair Penny Forman said the theme “Celebrating Our Freedoms - Religion, Speech, Assembly” fits nicely with Williams’ contributions to journalism in the Dunwoody area. Tallmadge concurred.

“He took this newspaper from a little shopper to a publication that is essential reading in Dunwoody, Chamblee, Sandy Springs and surrounding areas, “Tallmadge said. “I can’t think of anyone more deserving of this honor during a year when we celebrate freedom of the press.”

Longtime parade organizer and friend Bill Robinson agreed on the committee’s selection.

“Dick Williams is so deserving to serve as grand marshal of the 2011 July Fourth parade,” said Robinson former parade co-chairman and past grand marshal honoree. “As publisher of The Crier, he signed on in 1996 as a parade co-sponsor with the Dunwoody Homeowners’ Association. He has continued that relationship as the parade has grown to become the signature event in Dunwoody, and the largest July Fourth event in the state. He has been an invaluable supporter of Dunwoody, especially the many non-profits, these many years. I am honored to count him as a friend.”

Along with supporting numerous educational and philanthropic ventures in the Dunwoody area, Williams serves as an admission chairman for Georgetown University, sings in the choir at All Saints Church and is on the executive board of the Dunwoody Chamber of Commerce.

Williams been reporting and analyzing politics and public policy for more than 40 years. For 17 of these years his column was featured in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and for 10 years in the Atlanta Business Chronicle.

Williams joined the Atlanta newspapers in 1979 and served as executive city editor and business editor before becoming a columnist in 1981.

In 1996, he purchased The Dunwoody Crier. For 29 years, Williams has been moderator of “The Georgia Gang” seen now on WAGA-TV in Atlanta. It is Georgia’s longest running public affairs broadcast.

In 1995, Williams wrote “Newt! Leader of the Second American Revolution” for Longstreet Press.

Williams was born in California and reared in Kansas. He received a degree in history from Georgetown University and a master’s in journalism from Columbia University.

Williams was a high school basketball referee for 40 years and was selected to work in the state tournament seven times. He is married to Rebecca Chase Williams and has two daughters, Chase, who attends Texas Christian University, and Clare, a senior at Marist School.

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