The Loss of a Long-Time Friend

Alfred T. Williams Jr. ’52, a life trustee and past chairman of the Moravian College Board of Trustees, as well as a trustee of Moravian Theological Seminary, died October 8 in Philadelphia at the age of 70. A resident of Bethlehem, he had been the senior judge of Northampton County’s Court of Common Pleas.

“For almost four decades, Al Williams offered an extraordinary measure of leadership, energy, and resources to Moravian College,” said President Ervin J. Rokke. “Few figures in our institution’s recent history have had a greater influence on our continued success.”

Under his stewardship, the College graduated its first M.B.A. class, expanded its curriculum to 32 programs of study, and endowed four professorial chairs. Williams supervised numerous building campaigns and the successful capital drive of 1987, which outstripped its goal of $17 million and raised $24 million.

The Allentown Morning Call, in an editorial tribute, called him “one of the finest public citizens” of the Lehigh Valley. He was a past president of the Lehigh Valley Community Council and a trustee of many civic organizations, including Central Moravian Church and St. Luke’s Hospital.

Judge Williams was named to the College’s board in 1963. He served as chairman for 18 years, from 1974 to 1992. “During that extended period, he led Moravian’s transformation into a modern institution,” said President Rokke.

For his services to the College, which also included a term as president of the Alumni Association, Judge Williams received the Alumni Medallion of Merit in 1966 and the Comenius Alumni Award in 1984. He was awarded an honorary Doctor of Laws by Muhlenberg College in 1990 and by Moravian in 1992.

The judge was graduated from the University of Pennsylvania Law School in 1955 and elected to the bench in 1968. His 23 years as a judge included 12 as president judge in Northampton County. He retired in 1991 for health reasons but continued to work as an emeritus judge until the week before his death.

Northampton County President Judge Robert A. Freedberg, who succeeded Judge Williams, referred to him as “one of the great trial judges in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.”

“We have lost one of our closest and dearest old friends,” said President Rokke. “At the same time, as long we pursue our centuries-old mission of teaching and learning on this campus, we will never lose the fruits of Al Williams’ remarkable labors at Moravian.”

Judge Williams is survived by his wife of 14 years, Patricia; daughter Beth A. Boyer ’78 of Bethlehem; sons Thomas A. of Auburn, Ala., and David A. of Bethlehem; stepsons Michael Hoffman of Boise, Idaho, and Christopher Hoffman of Richmond, Va.; eight grandchildren; and two step-grandchildren.

A memorial service was held October 12 at Central Moravian Church. The family asks that memorial contributions be made to the Alfred T. Williams Jr. Scholarship Fund at the College.


Judge Williams at the ground-breaking for Reeves Library expansion in 1991.

Photo: MC collection