Monday, December 17, 2018

A Special Christmas Gift from a Special Person

by Paula Gail Benson

D. Reece Williams, III
I met Reece Williams when I had the privilege of working with him on a federal court of appeals case. He immediately impressed me as being the quintessential lawyer and Southern gentleman. As we sat waiting for the judges to enter the courtroom and the arguments to begin, I noticed him reading a small book. It was a collection of Shakespeare’s sonnets.

Reece, who traces his family to Lancaster, South Carolina, in territory where Andrew Jackson was born and spent his early life, has always been a supporter of arts and community organizations. I’ll never forget him coming to a program I presented with friends at the Museum of the Waxhaws and Andrew Jackson Memorial as well as a play I wrote and directed for my church. He has served as a member of the S.C. Philharmonic board and asked me to join him as a guest on the front row for a performance. After being able to see the pianist and orchestra up close, I told him, he’d spoiled me forever for seats further back.

He adores his wife, children, and grandchildren, and has told me he would be content for all of them to live under the same roof with him. Also, he is an avid traveler and food connoisseur. Before I take a trip, I try to consult Reece, who always graciously tells me about the places he has found most interesting to dine in and see. I’ve never been disappointed in his recommendations.

This past week, Reece was in the news. When those of us who know him heard the story, we weren’t surprised.

After law school, Reece purchased a $250 Rolex watch, which he used in his adventures with flying and sailing. The Rolex required a periodic $200 maintenance, so when he later found a less expensive watch that provided all the extra time keeping functions he needed, he put aside his Rolex.

Recently, he came across the watch and took it to a jeweler to be serviced. Amazingly, he learned he had a collectible. The appraised value was almost $40,000.

For many years, Reece had worked with the local Salvation Army and served on its board. I’ve heard him say that he has seen people he has known in other walks of life become dependent upon the Salvation Army’s services.

Reece asked the jeweler to find a buyer for his watch. When that was done, he gave the watch to the Salvation Army.

To Reece, the gift just made sense. To his friends and colleagues, it was simply quintessential Reece. Here's an article with more information about his donation:
Merry Christmas, Reece, and happy holidays! Thank you for the many gifts you’ve given us.


  1. What a great story! Thanks for sharing. :-)

  2. Indeed, a special man and a special story. Thank you!