Front page of latest edition of Williams' paper
Bill Williams, who was one of Tennessee's most respected newspaper publishers, died Thursday in his hometown of Paris, in the northwest part of the state. He was 85.

Williams was publisher of the Paris Post-Intelligencer, the daily his grandfather bought in 1927, until 1999, but continued to write editorials until 2016. He suffered from Parkinson's disease and Lewy body dementia, and suffered a massive stroke the day before his death, his obituary said.

He once said of his newspaper, “I’ve tried to see that it’s been a good citizen of our community.” His grandfather, Bryant Williams, said of their profession, “The only higher calling is the ministry.”

The Post-Intelligencer set a standard for small dailies in Tennessee, as signified when Williams was made a member of the charter class of the Tennessee Journalism Hall of Fame in 2013, along with former Nashville Tennessean publisher John Seigenthaler, Maryville Times editor Dean Stone and three Nashville television journalists.

Williams wrote many editorials that won awards from the Tennessee Press Association, which he served as president in 1982-83. He was also former president of the Tennessee Associated Press Managing Editors and United Press International’s Tennessee newspaper group, and a civic leader in Paris.

Visitation will be held from 3 to 6 p.m. Saturday and from 1 to 3 p.m. Sunday, and the funeral at 3 p.m. Sunday, all at First Presbyterian Church, where he served as an elder for 52 years. McEvoy Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the church, 105 S. Market St., Paris.

Williams is survived by his wife of 63 years, the former Anne Corbett; their son, P-I Editor and Publisher Michael Williams; three daughters: Cindy Barnett of Murray, Ky.; Julie Ray of Gainesville, Fla.; and Joan Howe of Paris; 14 grandchildren, and eight great-grandchildren.