B. Lehman Williamson passed away peacefully at his home, surrounded by loved ones, on September 4, 2015. He was born in Pioneer, Louisiana, on August 19, 1935, to the late Willie Alonzo Williamson and Irma Tidwell Carter. He was raised in humble surroundings in West Carroll Parish, growing up a sharecropper's son in a home with no running water or electricity. Part of his youth was spent in the household of his grandparents, Jim and Della Williamson, surrounded by many aunts, uncles, and cousins. He graduated from Bastrop High School in 1953 and earned state Golden Gloves boxing titles in both Louisiana and Mississippi. He continued to box in the U.S. Navy and later in life sponsored the Tiger Boxing Club in Baton Rouge to afford young boxers an opportunity to participate in the sport. A Navy veteran of the Korean War, he continued a lifelong interest in education after getting out of the service by attending Thomas Edison College and Southeastern Louisiana University. At the time of his death, he was a retired lobbyist and the owner of B. Lehman & Associates, which specialized in public relations and association management. His clientele included the Louisiana Veterinary Board of Medicine and the Louisiana Consumer Finance Association, but one of his favorite lobbying-related passions was opening the doors of The Quorum Call, across from the State Capitol, to give legislators, other lobbyists, and political pundits a place to commune. He served in numerous professional organizations and held several positions during his career including being a founding member of, and Board Member with, the Bank of the South; President of the Louisiana Jaycees; service in the JCI Senate; Vice-President for Development for Southeastern Louisiana University; and the Director of the Louisiana Partners of the Americas program. He is predeceased by his parents, brother (Clarence Harvey Williamson), son (Michael L. Williamson), and grandchildren (Jacob & Aaron Heath). After the death of his son, he established the Michael Lehman Williamson Collection of Civil War Books for Young People at LSU. He is survived by his wife of 44 years, Gayle Kizer Williamson, and four of his five children including Willie E. Williamson (Barbara Williamson), Ann M. Williamson, Lehman (Leh) Williamson, Jr., and Barbara W. Reonas (Matthew Reonas). He was a loving grandfather to five grandchildren including Chris P. Williamson (April Williamson), Matt B. Williamson (Jenny Williamson), and Michael J. Williamson (Farrah Williamson), Madeleine Ann Reonas, and Will Heaton Reonas; and one great-grandchild, Annabelle Claire Williamson. He is also survived by his brother, Clifton P. (Skipper) Carter (Nancy Carter), and his sister-in-law, Marolyn Williamson. He was blessed to have many wonderful friends whom he cherished. In addition to a full career and family life, he had a passion for LSU baseball, taking pride in serving on the Coaches Committee, and was a season ticket holder for both the LSU baseball and football programs. He was an avid reader of science fiction going back to the 1950s and enjoyed the study of history, especially World War II, and family genealogy. He kept honey bees and large vegetable gardens, the fruit of which he loved to share with his friends; he also loved caring for the many animals on his farm, which included over the years sheep, donkeys, goats, chickens, mules, peacocks, guinea fowl, turkeys, horses, miniature ponies, and countless rescued dogs and cats. In his last years, he passed many a pleasurable hour with grandchildren in his lap or by his side. A memorial service celebrating his life will be held at Rabenhorst Funeral Home. Please contact the family for details. The family would like to thank all the physicians, nurses, counselors, and staff who assisted in his treatment and hospice care. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be sent to the St. Joseph's Hospice or any other charity of your choice
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Published by The Advocate from Sep. 8 to Sep. 10, 2015.