'Lumpy' Williams passes
David “Lumpy” Williams, who was Sonoma’s Santa for years, died Tuesday at the age of 61.
David W. “Lumpy” Williams, beloved by thousands in the Sonoma Valley and beyond for his perpetual persona as Santa Claus, as well as for myriad contributions to civic and social causes, died Tuesday evening, Oct.16, from natural causes. He was 61.
Known universally as “Lumpy,” Williams was found slumped over the wheel of his car on the shoulder of Highway 101 near the 580 split in San Rafael. He had been on the way to his sister’s office in Corte Madera and apparently was able to pull off the highway and stop the car before suffering what was likely a sudden cardiac arrest.
Williams had a history of heart disease and had an implanted defibrillator following a coronary bypass operation in 2000.
His sister, Judith Tree Williams, said she spoke to her brother at 5:30 p.m. as he was driving on Highway 37. It was the last conversation she had with him.
“He was an integral part of so many things. A lot of people are heartbroken, and I certainly understand. But I want everyone to know that he’s at peace now.
Williams had a long history of public service and executive experience, spending four years as executive director of the then-Valley of the Moon Boys & Girls Club. He had also been promotions manager for the Sebastiani Theatre, general manager of Sierra Management Corporation and general manager of the restaurant and bar at the Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn & Spa.
Williams had considerable promotional experience, serving as competition manager for cycling for the Atlanta Paralympic Organizing Committee in 1995-96, and also served as contract raced director and event manager for the Wine Country Classic from 1991 to 2001, and for The Great Race in Sonoma from 1996 to 1998.
But it was as Santa Claus that “Lumpy” was best known, appearing at countless holiday events and arriving in a vintage fire truck at the Sonoma Plaza every Christmas season to greet hundreds of children and their parents, many of whom themselves once greeted Williams as kids.
David Williams leaves behind his brother Gary Williams (Diane Wall and children, Morgan and Graham) and his sister Judith Tree Williams. Memorial services will be announced soon and published in the Index-Tribune and online at sonomanews.com. Arrangements are being made by Duggan’s Mission Chapel in Sonoma.