Sheriff ‘Big John’ Williams’ funeral set for Monday morning

Lowndes County Sheriff Big John Williams was killed in a shooting at a Hayneville gas station on Nov. 23. (Source: Lowndes County Sheriff's Office)
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) -- Lowndes County Sheriff “Big John” Williams will be laid to rest Monday more than a week after being killed in the line of duty at a convenience store in Hayneville.

Williams’ visitation and funeral will be held at Garrett Coliseum in Montgomery. Visitation will start at 8 a.m. The service is set to start at 11 a.m. Following the funeral, the sheriff will be laid to rest at McQueen Cemetery in Lowndes County.

WSFA 12 News will carry the funeral live on-air and online at wsfa.com/live.

We’ve talked a lot over the last week about the impact Sheriff Williams had on the entire community, the close ties he had with so many people including those who are planning his funeral and burial. They say today will be different, a more difficult day than any they’ve planned in a long time.

“It’s totally different than just embalming or doing preparation on someone I don’t know," said Karl Bell. "For a personal friend of mine, pretty much like a brother to me and my wife, it was really difficult. But I knew I had to be the one to do it because I knew exactly how he should look and knew everything about John.”

Sheriff Williams’ body lay in repose Sunday at Hayneville Middle School. Lowndes County Schools and Lowndes Academy will be closed on Monday as he’s laid to rest.

“Big John was the type of person that demanded respect and he gave respect,” Lowndes County resident Jay Coleman. “He was a guy that, although he was the highest law enforcement officer in Lowndes County, he wasn’t above the people. He was always among the people and that’s why everybody knew Big John. You can look at the outpouring and love of the people who are here now as a representation of the type of person that Big John was.”

Sheriff Williams was also one of the most respected law enforcement officers in the state among his peers. At Monday’s ceremony, Montgomery County Sheriff Derrick Cunningham, along with Clark County’s sheriff and the president of the Alabama Sheriff Association, are all set to speak.

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