Walter G. Williams, a professor at the Iliff School of Theology, was a dedicated educator and expert in Old Testament studies and archaeology. His papers, inclusive dates 1929-1976, reflect the many contributions he made in these fields as well as his continued interest in the Methodist Church and ecumenical movements.
Biographical Sketch of Walter Williams
Walter G. Williams was born June 26, 1903 in West Bromwich, England. He came to the United States in 1921, and became a naturalized citizen in 1929.
He received his A.B. degree from Mount Union College in 1928, and his B.D. from Garrett Theological Seminary in 1931. He continued his post-graduate education at the University of Chicago, where he was a fellow, and received his Ph.D. in 1934. He was also an instructor there in 1934 and 1935. He married Mary Esther Buchanan on June 25, 1929.
During this period, Dr. Williams was also very active in the Methodist Church. As a member of the North East Ohio Conference, he was ordained a deacon in 1926. In 1931, he was ordained an elder and served the following churches: Waynesburg, Union Avenue, and Wade Park Churches in Cleveland; and Massilon-Wesley. After Dr. Williams cam to Iliff as a professor in 1942, he transferred his membership to the Colorado Conference.
Dr. Williams taught at Iliff until 1973. During this time, he was dean of students from 1950 to 1961. He also served as acting president after the death of Dr. Lowell B. Swan in 1969. Dr. William’s teaching was not restricted to Iliff; he was instructor in Semitic Languages at the University of Chicago. He also taught or lectured at Baldwin-Wallace College, Garrett Theological Seminary, the Union Theological Seminary in Cuba, the American School of Oriental Research in Jerusalem, and Soochow University in the Republic of China.
Even while teaching at Iliff, Dr. Williams continued to pursue his interest and involvement in the Methodist Church. He preached in many Methodist pulpits: practically every Methodist church in the Denver area had Dr. Williams in its pulpit or teaching an adult class or delivering a lecture on archaeology. He also preached in Wyoming, Utah, Nebraska, and Kansas, as well as in foreign countries.
Dr. Williams was very involved in the World Methodist Council and he served as a member of the Commission on Ecumenical Consultation. He was also nationally involved. He served as a reserve member of the Judicial Council, a member of the Commission on Worship, as well as a member of the Regional Committee on Missionary Personnel of the Board of Missions.
Dr. Williams also put much effort into the Rocky Mountain Methodist Annual Conference, serving in various capacities. Committees he served on included the Conference Board of Ministerial Training and Qualifications, the Committee on Conscientious Objectors, on Disability, on Conference Relations, and on Accepted Supply Pastors.
As a nationally known expert on the Old Testament and Archaeology, Dr. Williams was the author of several books and numerous articles. He was also a frequent contributor to Bible Education periodicals.