By Jim Hulen North Myrtle Beach Online.com
June 20, 2012 North Myrtle Beach, SC – After a long fight with cancer, former Councilwoman Doris Williams passed away on June 19, 2012 at McCleod Seacoast Medical Center.
When I first heard the news, my wife and I felt a great loss. Her voice in the community will be missed. Her friendship will be personally missed.
I followed her eight year career on the North Myrtle Beach Council and admired her as an independent voice for the community and an advocate for its citizens. The city is better for her service. Much has changed for the better after she came to office in 2003. I give credit to her and to the council she worked so well with for the many positive changes that occurred. It is impossible to list them all, but I’ll start with the largest newspaper in the area calling North Myrtle Beach the best run city in the area - a fine tribute from a normally highly critical source. Doris was part of that team.
She ran twice for office on the campaign promise to increase public parking and access to the beaches and I believe she kept that promise. During her tenure, Council began requiring developers to either provide public parking, parks or donate to a beach access fund. That requirement became standard for developments with large impacts on the community like North Beach Plantation, Esperanza, Prince Resort, Avista and Towers on the Grove where negotiations resulted in the developer providing a 120 foot ocean front park.
During that time, the City engaged a consultant to analyze the community’s parking needs. The report concluded that the city was short by 800 public parking spots. North Myrtle Beach put up signage adding parking within the first three rows from the ocean, creating an additional 256 parking spaces – one third of the shortage estimated by the consultant.
I admired the way she was always prepared at workshops and council meetings. She always did her homework, which many times meant meeting with concerned constituents and being ready to advocate for them. I remember when the development of Robbers Roost was under consideration, Doris came in with pictures of the poor maintenance and drainage of the property and presented photos of homes and structures that had been nearly flooded during heavy rains. On behalf the residents, she challenged the developer to correct this problem and this issue became a central part of the discussions between the City and the developer.
A good steward of the city’s money, Councilwoman Doris Williams watched carefully the consequences of proposals to spend taxpayer money. Memorably, she expressed concerns about the $3.2 million dollar reimbursement for the Watertower Interchange to be paid by the City to the Parkway Group. Subsequent negotiations led to the City Council imposing a fee structure on each residential or commercial structure in the Parkway Group development to recover the expenditure.
All of us benefited from her public live, but there was a private side to her and Ed’s contribution to the community that they did not publicize and did not wish to do so. I will honor that wish but simply thank Doris and Ed what that did for so many with little fanfare.
Doris was married to Ed Williams and one of fifteen children, 7 brothers and 7 sisters, born to Morgan and Arlie Averitt Mills, Sr. of Houston, Texas. She leaves four children, Gordon Ray Lavender of Conroe, Texas, Charles Lavender of Walterboro, SC, Frances Katherine Williams of Austin, Texas and Stuart Williams of St. Louis, Mo. Her family extends to eight grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.
A memorial service will be held at 11 am on Monday, June 25 in Lee Funeral Home Chapel. The family has requested that in lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Disabled Veterans Association, DAV – Chapter 30, PO Box 30637, Myrtle Beach, SC 29588 or the Wounded Warrior Project, 7020 AC Skinner Parkway, Suite 100, Jacksonville, FL 322256.