Robert Beresford Williams 
B. 6/23/1921
 

As a teenager, Bob earned an Eagle Scout Award and was an American swimming relay record holder. As a Naval Academy midshipman, he held the highest appointive rank, Brigade Commander; the highest elective office, Class President; and was a two-sport varsity athlete. At graduation, accelerated a year because of the war, Bob received a Letter of Commendation from the Superintendent and the Class of 1897 Leadership Sword -- the acknowledged leader of his Naval Academy Class of 1945. As a shipboard officer during WW II, he fought in four Pacific campaigns.

After leaving the Navy, in time Bob became the most successful international life insurance executive of his era, highly honored and highly publicized. He established offices in London and Beirut, in addition to Menlo Park. Bob developed a clientele of the rich and famous around the world, even including a Saudi Prince who later became the King of Saudi Arabia. Operating in the Middle East during the oil crises of the 1970s, he generated unequaled positive publicity for the life insurance industry. During Bob’s tenure in the life insurance business, no individual has had a greater impact on professional ethical conduct than he. As the President of the industry’s professional association, Bob tightened the ethical conduct standards. He was an innovator, creating new marketing procedures and opening up markets in the Middle East for American companies.

Bob is known as an innovative thinker and charismatic leader. Indicative of his vision and impact are the more than 500 testimonials he received during his late ‘80s and ‘90s – heart-felt and enthusiastically written, from broad-based sources including colleagues and persons of influence. Oft honored, in 2012 for example, Bob received the National Eagle Scout Association’s Distinguished Eagle Scout Award for service to country, and, Bob and his wife, Carol, were honored as Distinguished Citizens.

Each year, Bob’s two national initiatives, Honoring of Veterans and Enhanced Sportsmanship, the ethics of good sportsmanship, involve and inspire millions of Americans.  Veterans are now honored every fall at home football games near Veterans Day by almost 600 colleges and thousands of high schools. The words of a college President, “Your work on behalf of our Veterans serves as a shining example of the values we wish to instill in our graduates.” The words of two Director of Athletics: “His sportsmanship leadership and passion have earned him the reputation as the nation’s #1 Sportsmanship authority, expert and advocate.  No one can match his record for making a life-time difference for sports in America. He is a great American.” (USAFA); and, We have fully subscribed to Bob's direction and aspire to always exceed his vision in any aspect of competition.His values and ideals have touched the lives of virtually every midshipman who participated in our athletic program.” (USNA).  Bob has been honored for his visionary sportsmanship leadership – locally, nationally, even Internationally. Scotland’s N.E. Fife Sports Council named its new Boys Tournament the Bob Williams Trophy for Bob’s many years of leadership inspiring its boy golfers to “honor the game.”

Bob is recognized as the Naval Academy’s #1 Volunteer, a volunteer without an equal. For more than 50 years he has transmitted his ideals, his values, his enthusiasm, his vision, his passions, and his thoughts and ideas A Naval Academy Foundation Trustee since 1969, in 2018 Bob was honored with The Chairman’s Distinguished Volunteer Award. He created four official Naval Academy ceremonies. Two occur each year, Naval Academy Founder’s Day, a day for bringing the Naval Academy family closer together and the Honoring of Veterans, at a football game near Veterans Day will, perhaps, remain in place as long as there is a Naval Academy. The other two were one-time ceremonies – the Ambassador of Exploration Award, acknowledging the receipt of the Lunar Sample (moon rock) that Bob had procured from NASA for the USNA Museum and the other honored the 50th Anniversary of the First Space Flight by Rear Admiral Shepard, Bob’s Annapolis classmate and roommate. For the training of the Naval Academy Brigade, he put in place four Brigade Traditions. His recommendation led to the creation of the annual five academy sportsmanship competition, The Superintendent’s Distinguished Citation for Sportsmanship. In 2016, Bob sponsored the highly regarded video, The Founding of the United States Naval Academy.

The words of two Superintendents, “You have represented the Alumni so admirably for so long, I think that many of us can’t imagine an Alumni initiative that doesn’t involve you.” and, “On behalf of the Naval Academy and all Alumni around the world, I want to personally thank you for your continued support.” Alumni Association Chair, “…. his legacy and traditions will live on for generations. …. He is a Naval Academy and a national treasure.”

Bob has left a legacy for the Naval Academy and for our country. “The seeds that Bob has planted will long serve future generations, inspiring them with the ethic of good sportsmanship, a love of their school, and a heightened respect and gratitude for those men and women who have served and are now serving their country.”


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