RIDGWAY – Former Ridgway Marshal Clyde Sherman Williams, a tireless advocate for troubled youth, died peacefully in his home in Montrose on Monday, April 22 ,surrounded by his loving family and cats.
Throughout his 14-year career as Ridgway Marshal starting in the 1980s, Sherm kept a quiet yet powerful presence within the community. “He was a great fit for the town,” said Ouray County Commissioner Don Batchelder, who was mayor at the time Williams was hired on as town marshal. “The things he did, that nobody knew about, to help kids in the community were phenomenal.”
He volunteered as a youth boxing coach, for example. And while in Ridgway, whenever a teenager made a questionable decision, “rather than playing the heavy, Sherman would go sit down and talk to them,” Batchelder recalled. “They really appreciated and benefited from that.”
At a time well before “community policing” was a buzz phrase, Williams embodied that philosophy. “You deal with the people and don’t take a real hard hand unless that’s really necessary,” Batchelder explained.
Williams was born in Ouray on Feb. 8, 1940, to Sherman and Eva Williams. He spent time in Ouray as a child and moved to Bisbee, Ariz. in his early teens. He loved Arizona, and often told stories of going arrowhead hunting with his mother, and his time boxing and training with at-risk kids.
He started his career in law enforcement in California, and returned to Colorado in the 1970s where he found his calling as a police officer in Montrose. He ended his police career in Ridgway after 14 years with the Marshal’s Office.
“Those were some big shoes to fill,” said current Ridgway Town Marshal David Scott, who replaced Williams when he retired a dozen years ago.
Williams’ community service and commitment to working with at-risk youth continued throughout his retirement, much of which he spent working at the Robert A. Brown Center for Youth in Montrose – a shelter, detention center, and transitional living program for boys. Here, he enjoyed working with the young men and inspiring them to walk the line.
When he wasn’t working with at-risk youth, Williams enjoyed working on his ranch property in Montrose, riding his Gold Wing with the Blue Knights, rescuing animals and playing his guitar.
Sherm is survived by his wife Susan Rahn, former wife and good friend Debra (Jeff) Ford, his children Mary (Randy) Melton, Ann Williams, Joel (Shelia) Williams, Teresa McFarland, Stanley (Katharina) Williams, Jamie (Mike) Freyman, and stepchildren Nathan (Shannon) Rahn and Katie (Tim) Rupnow, and many grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Sherm was preceded in death by his mother and father.
At Sherm's request, a Celebration of Life will take place in Ridgway, Colorado on Saturday, May 4, 2013 at 1 p.m. at the Ridgway Fire Hall. After the service, the celebration continues at Sherm's favorite Ridgway hang-out, the True Grit. In lieu of flowers please consider making a donation to your favorite animal shelter.