Lumpy always brought delight
I watched Wednesday’s third-game of the National League championship series between the San Francisco Giants and St. Louis Cardinals with a heavy heart, because the warm and wonderful heart of Lumpy had stopped beating the night before.
I remember the day I met David “Lumpy” Williams so well.
It was on a spring weekday afternoon in 1976 at the Sonoma Valley High School field where our semi-pro Sonoma International men’s soccer team was practicing.
While standing with a fellow player and team co-captain, I saw this very big man moving our way with an even bigger smile on his face, and, before he reached us, he said with his JFK-style Massachusetts accent, “Hey guys, I’m your new goalie.”
When we asked what was his experience in goal, Lumpy told us that he was a very good ice hockey goalie back in “Mass.,” and, even though it’s soccer, he’s a confident goalie in his heart and mind, so the sport didn’t matter – if he had a goal to defend, he could do it.
He asked for a tryout, we gave him a tryout, and he played up to his expectations as much as ours and afterwards said his name was Lumpy, and I had gained more than a teammate – I had another special close friend for life.
Establishing himself as a caring person and leader in the community, which includes his beloved Santa Claus persona, he became a Valley icon.
When I left a message for my wife, Margaret, about Lumpy and we later talked, she brought up a story about our oldest daughter, Azure, who, like so many other children over the years, was captivated by his Santa Claus.
When this newspaper ran an article back in the 1980s about how hard-working Santa Claus needed a new suit, Azure, around 7 years old, sent a letter to Santa, along with a dollar from her and her baby sisters for the new suit, that was published in the Index-Tribune, which, not surprisingly, led to more donations.
While Lumpy’s Santa Claus became an important annual event in the Valley, his career took on many facets, that locally included director of the then Valley of the Moon Boys & Girls Club. On the national and international scene, he worked in the higher levels of cycling, which included pro-circuits – like being instrumental in starting what is now the current Amgen Tour of California, and at the 1996 Atlanta Summer Olympic Games and Para-Olympics.
In the local music world, he was a major supporter of many musicians – including his friend, Norton Buffalo – heading committees and fundraisers for music events, and always promoting the arts, as well as sports. He loved his Boston teams, but also was hooked on the Bay Area teams.
In recent years, Lumpy was the primary caregiver for his beloved mother, who passed away early this summer.
Lumpy’s legacy and love-of-life humor will always live on in all of us.
There’s always so much more I could say, with deep feelings, about Lumpy, and I, no doubt, will write about him again.
But, at the moment, I’m feeling numbed by thoughts of my friend. So with Margaret, I’m making a toast to him and expressing how fortunate we all are, who knew him.
All who knew him are so fortunate to have shared some of his rich life.