Grenadian-born David Williams prides himself as being a “compassionate” funeral director dedicated to helping families celebrate the lives of their loved ones and finding closure through high-quality and individualized funeral services.
Williams — the founder and chief executive officer of David Williams Funeral Services, Inc., a family-owned business at 108-20 Sutphin Blvd., Jamaica, Queens — told Caribbean Life that his business has been providing “unsurpassed funeral services to the American, Caribbean, South American and African communities for the past 30 years.
“I took some serious risk and created long term vision,” said Williams, who, on Jan. 12, 1991, established David Williams Funeral Services at 667 Blake Ave., Brooklyn, then incorporated the business on June 7, 1992, at its current location.
“At David Williams Funeral Services, the team strives to deliver a quality of service that is truly unmatched,” added the Springfield Gardens, Jamaica, Queens resident. “Each funeral service is a tribute to a life well lived.
“With that approach to business, it is no surprise that the collection of our funeral service has found and maintained success,” continued Williams, who migrated to New York from Grenada in July 1979.
He said David Williams Funeral Services, Inc. provides a wide range of services, such as but not limited to, funeral pre-planning, estate planning through attorneys, grief counseling through local churches, veteran’s assistance, social service assistance, life insurance assistance and live streaming of funeral services.
Williams said areas of specialty include bereavement counseling and funeral arranging.
The fourth of five children born to the late Anthony and Veronica Williams of Happy Hill, St. George’s, Grenada, Williams attended the Happy Hill Primary (elementary) School.
Afterwards, he attended the St. John’s Christian Secondary School (Shaper) for two years, then graduated from the Grenada Boys Secondary School in 1975.
After graduation, Williams said he migrated to New York to pursue the American Dream, first residing in Brooklyn, where he worked at various jobs to support himself.
In 1981, Williams said he married his high school sweetheart, Pauline.
After the birth of their first child, Williams said he decided to further his education in order to provide “a more stable life” for his family.
He said he enrolled at American Academy Mc. Allister Institute, a school of funeral directing, while working full time. He graduated from the program on Dec.19, 1986 with an Associate of Science degree.
Williams said he then began his internship with an established funeral home in Harlem and became a licensed funeral director in 1988. Three years later, he established his own funeral services.
The funeral director said educating families has been among the major challenges in operating his business.
He, however, said that, “when families understand the value of a funeral service, they choose products and services beyond the basic package.
“The key is to bridge the gap between what you know and what they know,” Williams said.
“Our funeral service is more important to our community than you think,” he added. “We have supported and continue to play the role in the development of our community.
“We have given gifts and monetary contributions to churches, civic organization, cultural events, local politicians, and the sick and vulnerable,” continued Williams, who is also involved in other enterprises and charitable organizations.
Currently, he is a board member of Session and an ordained elder of the Presbyterian Church of St. Albans, Queens.
In addition, he said he is “a proud member” of the United Order of Mechanics Friendly Society, Inc. and is a former Grand Master of the Brooklyn District Grand Lodge.
Presently, Williams said he serves on the Executive Committee of the Grand Council of the United Order of Mechanics Friendly Society, Inc., as the commissioner of the Resource and Finance Committee.
He is a member of the Lions Club International, and the recipient of several citations and awards for community service over the years.
Williams said he is a devoted husband, father of five and grandfather of six.
When asked how much longer he envisages continuing to operate his funeral services, Williams responded tersely: “When the time is right.”
He, however, said his two sons, who are New York State licensed funeral directors and are already associated with the business, are being prepared for the transition.
Williams’s advice to those who wish to enter funeral services: “Be prepared to assist families during difficult times.”
The funeral director said he is very grateful to those who have assisted him along his three-decade-long journey, referring to 1 Thessalonians 5:18: “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
“I’ll like to express my sincere gratitude to my family, friends, churches, lodges, organizations and the Caribbean American community for their undying support for the past 30 years in business,” he added.
David Williams Funeral Services, Inc. is located at 108-20 Sutphin Blvd., Jamaica, NY 11435.
He can be reached via his office at (718) 291-3823; or call Williams on his cellular phone at (917) 548-6963, or email him at [email protected].