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“In the early 1960's I worked my way through Bridgewater State College short order cooking at Buddy's Coffee Shop On Fridays, Lee came in to help...Read More »
1 of 8 | Posted by: Robert Constant - new bedford, MA

“Kevin and family, my deepest condolences to you on the passing of Lee. He was a good and loyal friend to me and my family. I will always cherish the...Read More »
2 of 8 | Posted by: Skip Howard - South Easton, MA

“Kevin, Our thoughts and prayers are will you. Your Dad was one of the finest gentlemen. Always bright and cheert. He will be missed by many. RIP...Read More »
3 of 8 | Posted by: Henry & Bette Frenette - MA

“Betty, Kevin and Family: We have all lost a great man far too soon. He was able to do many great things with his life, his talents, and his love...Read More »
4 of 8 | Posted by: Richard Brady - Walkersville, MD

“Mr. Williams probably the nicest man I have met while living in Easton. Hard to ever forget. I know no one ever could. So sorry for the entire family...Read More »
5 of 8 | Posted by: Suzanne Young - Easton, MA

“Kevin, so sad to read of your dad's passing. Wonderful man and always made me laugh. My dad always spoke very highly of him. God Bless ”
6 of 8 | Posted by: Walter Copeland - Surfside Beach, SC

“Lee was my mentor at The American Legion. He helped me transition from a committee member to a Vice Commander and to Legion Commander. He saw...Read More »
7 of 8 | Posted by: Joseph Moran - South Easton, MA

“Avery Lee Williams. He was Easton personified. I am thankful I got to know him through my youth days attending his 4-H club, my adult days at Lions...Read More »
8 of 8 | Posted by: Gail and Rick Devins - MA

Patriotic Emblem

Avery Lee Williams dies, Easton Loses Activist

Hurtling down a black diamond trail at Loon Mountain, his ski caught an edge and sent him headlong and helmetless into the gnarled tree's trunk. He died instantly.

Though it might not, and probably did not happen just that way, it is how he would have wanted to be remembered. Nothing done the easy way, Williams, a "Furnace Village Rat", lived and died in Easton. Born June 29, 1935 in the midst of the Great Depression and scarred by the turmoil of those depressing years.

His folks, Avery, Sr and Margaret Adams Williams were renting the second floor of the Warren (and Ethyl) Blood house behind what has been the Blackthorne Tavern, previously the Pickle Barrel run by the Blood twins, George and Gene.

Lee lived there for about his first three years, but not without incident. He made the front page of the Boston Globe having been bit on the thumb by a poisonous snake, nearly died after falling into the cesspool and drank enough kerosene from the 50 gallon drum behind the Farnum house to put him into a prolonged coma. More than one Eastonite regrets he survived for all the trouble he caused them over his lifetime.

He lived the next twenty-five years at 455 Foundry Street. His dad built the house. Lee fell into the hand dug well, but again escaped drowning, when his dad heard his cries for help and lugged him up in a bucket. It was work at the early age of ten years when Lee went on the job for Frank Gracie, the small dairyman at the Five Corners, now the site of Shaw's Plaza. Lee picked strawberries and pulled weeds for the handsome pay of ten cents an hour. It was only a six hour day and Mr. Gracie gave him an extra nickel with which to buy a candy bar bigger than one that costs a dollar today. At age twelve he graduated to haying chores. Lee had the short pitchfork with which he placed the loose hay pitched up to him on the wagon into the corners. The Nordbeck and Schleicher boys did the pitching.

From1947 to 1949 Lee had a paper route for what was the Brockton Enterprise. One had to vie to get a coveted route. The paper was six days a week with no Sunday edition. The cost was four cents a day or twenty-four cents a week. Most customers gave the quarter each week. With the extra penny times the forty two customers, Lee had a nice bonus with which to treat himself. The route was four miles each way and his first customer on South Street was a mile from his home. His last customer was Laurie "The Blind Mechanic" Rego, who played Sweet Georgia Brown on the piano each day for Lee, who never outgrew his love for traditional music.

Lee served as Mr.Helmich Boosenkool's "yardboy" at Wheaton Farm for several years. There he learned organic gardening techniques that he followed over his lifetime.

A family friend, Mr. Edward Milano got Lee a job at Harco Orchards and Poultry Farm and he worked there for the next three years. Pay was seventy-five cents an hour and during non-school days it was a fifty-four hour work week. When school was in session he worked only 28 hours a week. He paid board at home of five dollars a week. He had been buying all his clothes from the age of twelve. When he decided to get a car at age fifteen and a half, his dad told him he'd keep the board at five dollars, but if Lee bought a car the fee went to ten dollars. Lee bought the 1939 Ford Standard Coupe from Dick Hanscom for seventy five dollars and paid the ten dollar toll. He got his driver's license the week after he turned sixteen.

Peanuts was the name of the old horse that pulled the water wagon through the chicken yards at Harco. Lee was dressed in cut off dungarees and a straw hat. No shoes needed, except the time Peanuts stepped on his big toe and disfigured it for life. Brown as a berry, he paid the price at dermatologists for many years after for the excess sun exposure he took. To entertain the other farmhands at lunchtime, Lee would do ten handsprings in a row. He was five foot eleven and weighed one hundred and forty five pounds. When Lee graduated from OAHS in 1953 he had $3,200 in the bank. A small fortune for that time.
With no other plans upon graduating from Oliver Ames High School in 1953 Lee told his dad he'd like to try going to Bridgewater State Teachers College. Avery, Sr. told Lee that he had had no schooling beyond the tenth year and saw no need for Lee to go on with his education. He told Lee that if he did not go to college, he'd keep the board at ten dollars, otherwise the rate would go to fifteen. Lee graduated from Bridgewater State in 1957 majoring in English and minoring in French.
While going to college he worked in kitchens as a second (line) cook at Howard Johnson's, the Merrimacs Restaurant, Sylvia Sweets and three summers at the Hampton Beach Casino Restaurant in New Hampshire.

In July of '57 came his draft notice. Lee decided to join the U S Air Force and become a pilot. He failed the eye tests, but was encouraged to try again as a navigator – he who could not find his way from Easton to Whitman! It was good luck for America that he failed the visual test again and joined the National Guard, where he could do less harm. He served six months on active duty, trained as a Company Clerk, served as a Company Cook (standard for the Army) and later was allowed to be Commander of Easton's Post 7 American Legion on such