Thomas Williams

Died: Fri., Oct. 20, 2017


4:00 PM to 8:00 PM, Fri., Oct. 27, 2017
Location: Friedens United Church of Christ

Funeral Service

11:00 AM Sat., Oct. 28, 2017
Location: Friedens United Church of Christ

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Our beloved Tom left this earth on Friday, October 20, 2017. He was born on June 15, 1941 to Norman E. Williams and Marie Stumpf Williams in Indianapolis. He leaves behind his six brothers and sisters: Rose M. Perkins, Indianapolis; Elizabeth A. Carey, Indianapolis and Ft Lauderdale, FL; N. Frank Williams, Tallahassee, FL; Helen W. Straubinger, Indianapolis; John R. Williams, Indianapolis; and James M. Williams, New Braunfels, TX; 11 nieces and nephews, and 23 great nieces and nephews. He is also survived by his partner, Michael Wells of Indianapolis.

Tom’s love of music developed very early in his life. His first exposure to sacred music came when he sang in the Junior Choir directed by Elise Marshall at Friedens Church. He became fascinated with the pipe organ, and Mabel Thurston, the organist there, encouraged that interest. He studied piano with Myla
Leussow beginning at the age of twelve, and began working as the organist at Southeastern Union Church when he was 17 years old. After graduation from Southport High School, he received a music scholarship to attend Butler University, where he earned undergraduate and graduate degrees in music. He also studied at Union Theological Seminary in New York. While at Butler, Tom studied organ under Kenneth Roberts, and assisted him in his position as organist/choirmaster at Trinity Episcopal Church in Indianapolis. Tom always credited Mr. Roberts as being his most important influence in performing sacred music and playing for church services. Upon Mr. Roberts’ retirement, Tom was named organist/choirmaster at Trinity. While at Trinity, Tom helped establish the very successful Christmas Madrigal Dinners, where he served as music director for over 25 years.
Tom’s first teaching job was at Lebanon High School. While at Lebanon, Tom served as the organist for Centenary Methodist Church in that city. When he left Lebanon, he took a position as the music department chairman at Manual High School in Indianapolis, and also became the organist for Southport Presbyterian Church.

After many years of teaching at the high school level, Tom requested and received an appointment as music teacher at IPS Elementary School #89. Throughout his teaching career, Tom also worked as a church organist. While serving the Southport Church, Tom was persuaded to take the job of organist at Friedens United Church of Christ, which was his home church. He also served for a time at Broadway United Methodist Church. Friedens is the church where he had been baptized and confirmed, and that had provided the initial inspiration for Tom’s remarkable life’s work in sacred music.
Tom Williams possessed extraordinary musical talent which inspired hundreds, if not thousands of people. But Tom was much more than a highly talented musician. He possessed an extraordinary spirit as well. Tom was kind, forgiving, and generous. He was the primary caregiver for his mother during her final illness. Tom was dearly loved by his entire family. He had a gift for connecting with children as well as adults and had a wonderful sense of humor. Yet with all of his talents, he remained an extremely humble man. Words cannot express the enormous love felt by so many people for the extraordinary Tom Williams.

All services will be held at Friedens United Church of Christ, 8300 S. Meridian St. (SR 135), Indianapolis, IN 46217. Calling will be Friday, October 27th from 4:00 -8:00 p.m. A celebration of Tom’s life will be held Saturday, October 28th at 11:00 a.m. Interment will be private. Donations in Tom’s honor to the Friedens UCC Memorial Fund are appreciated, and may be sent to the church. Singleton Community Mortuary and Memorial Center will be handling the arrangements.

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Condolence Booklet

Jean Gantt
   Posted Tue October 24, 2017
Tom was so loved, respected by everyone who knew him. He beautified the worship services at Friedens. Prayers and love are being sent to his entire family.

George Knapp
   Posted Wed October 25, 2017
Tom Williams Family.
Tom will be missed in every way connected at Friedens, his music was enjoyed by all.
Our prayers are with the family
We will miss him.
George and Estella Knapp

Kevin and Terri Hoover
   Posted Wed October 25, 2017
Prayers of comfort to Tom's family and friends. During our time at Friedens, we were blessed to come to know Tom. His kindness and humble nature were examples to us all. Tom generously shared his talents and we were so appreciative of him as he played the music for our wedding some 31 years ago. Even though we hadn't seen Tom for a while, we often remember him fondly, and will continue to do so in the future. His family and friends have been blessed to have Tom in their lives.

Hollace Crane
   Posted Wed October 25, 2017
Tom was an incredible musician and a wonderful support to my mother. He will be sorely missed!

Nicole Felker
   Posted Wed October 25, 2017
Tom was not only a great person, but a great friend. He was always so supportive and kind. Tom will be missed dearly. Prayers to his friends and family.

Judy Brown Wilson
   Posted Thu October 26, 2017
I was saddened to hear of Tom's passing. I have such dear memories of him...playing Christmas Eve service with him at Trinity, enjoying his friendship at Jordan College, suffering with him and Helen over the sudden death of his father, his playing for my wedding at Irvington (glorious music!) and so much more. My sincerest sympathy goes to his family; I am especially thinking of Helen, my dear friend in college and John, who was so involved with my family. I know Tom will be missed.

Roy Glen Jones
   Posted Fri October 27, 2017
To the Williams family, I send you my sincerest condolences. Mr. Williams was my choral director at Manual High School. I then did my student teaching experience with him at Butler. His musical talent, gentle spirit and motivating teaching will always be present in my memories. Cheers Tom!

levena joyce Smith
   Posted Sat October 28, 2017
Sorry not able to get to funeral but unable, Please all my condolences as we will all miss Tom. We had a couple of years caring for a friend while I was his nurse (Cecil and had an interesting time. He was the reason I started to Friedens. we will all miss his beautiful music and his warm friendship.may God bless you and you continue on .

Nancy Carey-Rowland
   Posted Tue October 31, 2017
Tom's talents were many in the musical field. As a student and later friend to Tom, I always sat in awe of the music he played on a pipe organ. The music was magical. One word is consistent here with his condolences--humble. And humble he was. Thoughts and prayers to Tom's family--he will be missed dearly!

Karl Rusa
   Posted Wed November 01, 2017
Many years have passed since I last saw Tom, but he remains unforgettable. When I was just starting piano lessons at age 10 or so, Tom was my first teacher for a couple of years. He was gentle and soft-spoken, always encouraging. My sincere sympathy goes out to Tom's family. Rest in God's peace, Mr. Williams.

   Posted Thu May 24, 2018
Mr. Tom Williams was a teacher at my school at IPS number 89. He took the time 3 hours a day after school to teach me how to play the Piano. His musical talents were incredible, having the ability of being able to play practically any song just out of the thin air was beyond impressive. After a few years I ended up taking an extended break from playing the piano and just recently got back into playing again. When I had started playing again the memories of learning the first time ended up coming to mind and it urged me to look up Tom Williams. I am very saddened to see that he is no longer with us but to see he was able to make such an incredible impact on others lives that he has known and met throughout the years ago adds graciously to his legacy. His family has my condolences and he will most certainly be missed.

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