By: Jorge Campos
Tom Williams, a life-long Don, died Nov. 6 of a heart attack at the age of 65.
Mr. Williams was an athletic equipment assistant at Santa Ana College for 35 years, retiring from the school in 2009.
“Tom was dedicated to SAC. He might have been a behind the scenes guy but did a lot of work for the college, especially basketball,” Sports Information Coordinator Jason Kehler said.
A scorekeeper for the Dons men’s basketball team, Mr. Williams attended every home and away game for 46 years, dating back to his days as a 19-year-old student at SAC in 1967.
“He was a very dedicated employee. All the time he kept score he volunteered his time,” said Dean of Kinesiology Avie Bridges, noting that his scorekeeping was done on personal time. “It was all after his regular work hours,” Bridges said.
After retirement Mr. Williams kept score for women’s basketball as well as the men’s team.
He traveled with both teams to away games and even preseason competition, which does not require scorekeeping, just to help both teams and watch them play.
“He traveled with them, he paid his own way. He just really loved basketball,” Athletic Trainer Garry Kinney said.
Aside from keeping score, Mr. Williams traveled to the same lake in Montana every year for vacation. He would stop at a favorite Utah buffet, Chuck-A-Rama, a highlight of his trip, Kinney said.
Mr. Williams led a simple life. Instead of a traditional memorial service, he asked that his close friends gather at a local Hometown Buffet to celebrate his life.