Gwilym Williams
The obituary from the Aberdare Leader, January 1977,
including an appreciation from Mr Williams’ predecessor Mr Jess Warren

Obit heading Obituary

A transcript of the article above follows:


It was a tremendous shock to the people of Aberdare and of his native Mountain Ash to hear of the sudden death of Mr. Gwilym Williams, headmaster of Aberdare Boys’ Grammar School.

Mr. Williams, who lived at ‘Pennar’, Clifton Street, Aberdare, and who was a few months short of his 60th birthday, collapsed on the road outside his home on Wednesday of last week. He was rushed to hospital after having been seen immediately by one of his neighbours, consultant anaesthetist Dr. Gordon Davies.

Mr. Williams died on Friday morning without ever regaining consciousness.

As headmaster he was outstanding in the way he took a lively interest in all the extra activities associated with the school - the Parents’ Association, Past Students’ Association, school bazaars, concerts, etc. Indeed, every tiny facet of school life received his wholehearted attention, and he took a special interest in “Interact”, the youth movement made up of grammar school boys and girls, which is sponsored by Rotary.

Apart from the activities listed below, he was, among other things, a member of Mountain Ash Choral Society, and secretary of Bethlehem Welsh Presbyterian Church, Mountain Ash, and, according to one of the church’s oldest members, he was “the pillar of the cause” there.

Widespread sympathy is extended to his wife, Nesta (daughter of the late Mr. and Mrs. T.J. Richards, of Aberdare Road, Mountain Ash), to his two sons, Stephen and Kevyn, and his brothers and sisters.

It is most fitting that, in lieu of wreaths, donations are invited for “Interact”.

Gwilym himself was the son of William and Sophie Williams, of 22 Duffryn Street, Mountain Ash.

The funeral took place for Llwydcoed Crematorium on Tuesday.

A tribute from Mr. Jess Warren, chairman of the Mid Glamorgan Health Authority,
who was Gwilym’s predecessor.

THE tragically early death of Gwilym Williams has robbed not only Aberdare, but the whole Cynon Valley of a personality of rare distinction, who throughout his life made a most valuable contribution to the life of the community.

Although a native of Mountain Ash, and a product of its Grammar School, Gwilym made his great contribution to education in the Valley at Aberdare Boys’ Grammar School, where he was successively teacher, deputy head and headmaster.

His career spanned the generations, for he was a colleague of the earlier corps of masters at the school, and lived to see his own pupils become masters in their turn, maintaining a tradition of which he, himself, was a shining example.

It was my privilege in 1954 to take over the headship of Aberdare Boys’ Grammar School, and among a staff unrivalled in ability and dedication throughout Wales I found in Gwilym Williams a scholar of the highest distinction, who, as head of the chemistry department, was an efficient and most successful teacher, who earned not only the respect, but the affection of his pupils, many of whom proceeded to university to take honours degrees in chemistry.

In 1964, upon the retirement of Mr. Peter Phillips, Mr. Williams was his natural and most worthy successor as deputy head. After Mr. J. T. Bowen and Mr. Phillips himself, it was a continued source of strength to me to have at my side another man of character and personality, whose integrity and loyalty were beyond praise.

The school, the staff, and I, all derived invaluable benefit from the partnership between us, which lasted until my own retirement in 1970, when, to my delight, Gwilym Williams was appointed headmaster.

Gwilym Williams made his own special contribution of enthusiasm and performance to that musical tradition at the school, associated with the names of Gwilym Ambrose, Peter Phillips, T.R. James and, more recently, Gethin Evans. He also entered fully with the musical life of the town and valley.

His service to the professional organisation of teachers was notable. He was a life-long member of the National Union of Teachers, making a valuable contribution to the local associations, and becoming chairman of the Glamorgan Secondary Committee of the Union. The Welsh Secondary Schools Association (of grammar and comprehensive school heads), will also much miss him at their meetings.

Gwilym Williams was a gentleman of many gifts, both of intellect and character, and his passing leaves us all that much poorer.

from The Aberdare Leader, January 1977

Gwilym Williams Headmaster