Joseph Williams

Obituary of Joseph Clarke Williams

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A memorial mass will be held Friday for Joseph Clarke Williams, of Wanaque, who died peacefully April 20 after several years battling Parkinson’s Disease. He was 82.

Born in Brooklyn, New York, he spent nearly all of his life in Northern New Jersey. As an 8-year-old, he marched with the St. Anne’s Cadets Drum and Bugle Corps in Fairlawn, NJ, launching a life-long connection with what eventually became an international endeavor.  He was an instructor with the Valley Grenadiers in Hillsdale, NJ, and many other drum corps and color guard groups over the years.

Through the Eastern States Judges Association, Mid Atlantic Judges Association, and Winter Guard International, he began judging drum corps competitions in the 1960’s. Prior to becoming ill, he had judged nearly every Drum Corps International (DCI) championship dating back to the original 1972 contests in Whitewater, Wisconsin.

Known for his deep integrity and his genuine concern for the talented young marchers and musicians who dedicated their summers performing and competing on football fields across the country, he was inducted into the Drum Corps International Hall of Fame in 1999.

A longtime resident of Oakland, NJ, he served as a coach and mentor to countless young people in the community. He coached soccer, baseball, and basketball and he volunteered with the Youth Group at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church. As a volunteer leader with Boy Scout Troop 49, he once won a not-so-coveted “Jacques Cousteau Underwater Canoeing Award” after his canoe capsized on an outing in the Delaware River. He accepted the award with a smile. He volunteered with many local organizations in Oakland.

He was preceded in death by his first wife, Diane Zielinski Williams. He is survived by his wife, Janet Williams, of Wanaque; his son, Joseph Clarke Williams Jr., of Saranac Lake, NY; and daughter, Marcie Ament, of Rockville, MD. He was particularly proud of the various accomplishments of his 10 grandchildren.

Visitation will take place  from 4 to 8 p.m. Thursday, April 25, at Oakland Memorial Home, 330 Ramapo Valley Road, Oakland, NJ.

A memorial mass will be celebrated at 11:30 a.m. on Friday, April 26 at St. Mary’s Roman Catholic Church, 17 Pompton Ave., Pompton Lakes, NJ. Burial services will follow at Maryrest Cemetery, 770 Darlington Ave., Mahwah, NJ.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that you honor his wonderful life by committing flagrant acts of kindness in your community. That is how he lived until the very end. Memorial contributions may also be made to:

The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research

Grand Central Station

P.O. Box 4777

New York, NY 10163


Support Our Aging Religious (SOAR)

8484 Georgia Ave.

Suite 300

Silver Spring, MD 20910




4:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Thursday, April 25, 2024
Oakland Memorial Home
330 Ramapo Valley Road
Oakland, New Jersey, United States
201 337-6161

Funeral Mass

11:30 am - 12:30 pm
Friday, April 26, 2024
St Marys R.C.Church
17 Pompton Avenue
Pompton Lakes, New Jersey, United States


1:00 pm - 1:30 pm
Friday, April 26, 2024
Maryrest Cemetery
770 Darlington Ave
Mahwah, New Jersey, United States
(201) 327-7011
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Joseph Williams

In Loving Memory

Joseph Williams

1942 - 2024

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