Staff and Trustees of The Duke Endowment mourn the loss of Board Chairman L. Neil Williams Jr., who died in Winston-Salem on August 26, 2012. Mr. Williams joined the Endowment’s Board in 1997, providing outstanding service as former Chairman of our committees on Investments, Trustees and Governance, and Educational Institutions. He led our Board since January 2011.
“We are all grieving over the sudden death of a man who meant so much to so many,” said Gene Cochrane, the Endowment’s President. “He made a tremendous impact on the Endowment and he had many aspirations for the future. We benefitted from his keen wisdom, sound judgment and honorable leadership, and he will surely be missed.”
Mr. Williams grew up in Charlotte, North Carolina, and attended Charlotte public schools. He went on to earn an undergraduate degree from Duke University and a law degree from Duke School of Law. He spent his professional career at Alston & Bird in Atlanta, where he was named a partner in 1965 and served as a managing partner from 1984 to 1996.
Duke University honored him with a Distinguished Alumni Award in 1990 to celebrate his dedication to his field, to Duke and to humanity, and Duke School of Law presented him with the Charles S. Rhyne Award in 1996 to recognize his professionalism, personal integrity and commitment to education and community service.
We join his family and a wide circle of friends and colleagues in mourning his loss, and take comfort in the legacy that survives him.