Volume 20, Number 36 | The Newspaper of Lower Manhattan | August 25 - September 1, 2010
Renee Williams is remembered at St. Mark’s memorial
By Lincoln Anderson
Renee Williams was fondly memorialized by family and friends last Friday at a gathering in the St. Mark’s Church parish hall on E. 10th St. Williams died Aug. 3 at 59 after a long battle with cancer.
Speakers recalled Williams’s humor as well as her levelheaded organizational ability, which served her well in a number of local positions, from office manger of Antonio Pagan’s first City Council campaign to program director of Manhattan Youth after 9/11.
Lisa Ramaci recounted how she and Williams would have “wheat-pasting battles with the anarchists” during Pagan’s first campaign. They would put up Pagan posters, and their foes would paste right over them with pictures of the candidate with horns on his head, and the process would repeat endlessly. She recalled when “the anarchists” glued the campaign office’s locks shut, and they had to get the Fire Department to cut the locks. On the way to the stationhouse, a rat ran over the foot of Williams, who shrieked. The firefighters rushed out at the sound, and were dazzled by Williams’s stunning looks, Ramaci called.
Bob Townley, Manhattan Youth’s director, said, “9/11 happened, and we needed a community organizer. Renee just fit — because she was organized, she was kind and she was loved by a lot of people. But she could also tell someone where the bus stop was. It was just so, so helpful to us — and that calmness.” The memorial’s emcee was Colin Gregory, retail ad manger of The Villager and East Villager, who was Williams’s longtime partner.
George Usher, former president of Greenwich Village Little League and formerly of The Bongos, performed songs from his recent CD, “Yours And Not Yours,” accompanying himself on guitar.