John Harvey McWilliams III

Published 8:34 am Monday, March 28, 2022

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John Harvey McWilliams III, age 87, a resident of Montgomery, , passed away on March 19, 2022. He was preceded in death by his parents John Harvey McWilliams, Jr. and Elizabeth “Dorothy” Brymer McWilliams, and his wife of nearly 46 years, Dianne English McWilliams. He is survived by his son John Harvey McWilliams IV (Sarah) of Montgomery, and two granddaughters, Anna Elizabeth and Alice Easterly McWilliams. Other survivors include his brother Bill McWilliams (Karen) of Raleigh, NC, his nieces Kinsey Wennerstrom (Jim) of Durham, NC and Elizabeth Kimzey (Bryan) of Houston, TX, and several grand-nieces and nephews. Born in Birmingham, Mr. McWilliams graduated from Parrish High School in Selma and received his Bachelor of Science in Commerce and Business Administration from the University of Alabama where he played #1 and served as captain of the varsity tennis team. His experience as a tennis player led to lifelong love of the game and a decorated career as a tennis coach and teaching professional. During his career, Mr. McWilliams worked for Wilson Sporting Goods, Bancroft Sporting Goods, served as an umpire on the Jack Kramer Pro tour and served as a teaching professional at several clubs in New York, Texas, West Virginia and back home in Selma. He served as a high school and collegiate tennis coach at Marion Military Institute and Huntingdon College.

\Mr. McWilliams founded and directed the Alabama Tennis Academy, a summer camp that supported the growth of junior tennis by instructing hundreds of young players for nearly thirty years. He also founded “Tennis Across Montgomery” an annual event that raised funds and awareness for the Family Sunshine Center, a Montgomery organization dedicated to ending family violence, sexual assault, and human trafficking. Mr. McWilliams is a member of the Alabama Tennis Hall of Fame and the Huntingdon College Athletic Hall of Fame. He was named one of twenty-five “unsung heroes” of the game by Tennis Industry Magazine in 1997. In 2000, he received the United States Professional Tennis Association “Pride of the South” Award for teaching excellence, character and contributions to the game. He was a proud recipient of the Jim Wilson Award given by the Blue Gray National Tennis Classic. In 2015, he was honored by Marion Military Institute Alumni Brigade as their Honored Faculty/Staff Award Recipient. Following his retirement from full-time coaching at Huntingdon in 2002, Mr. McWilliams enjoyed time with family and friends, listening to audiobooks and watching sports. He loved attending the Tuesday morning Bible Study at First United Methodist Church and Friday breakfast at Chappy’s. But, most of all, he enjoyed spending time with his dear wife — his best friend and life partner until her death last year.  A memorial service will be held in the sanctuary at First United Methodist Church Montgomery on Sunday, March 27 at 3 p.m. with a visitation at 2 p.m.. in the fellowship hall. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to First United Methodist Church, the Family Sunshine Center, Huntingdon College, Marion Military Institute or DreamCourt Montgomery.

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