Champion to the Children: Dave Williams Was a Devoted Supporter of the YMCA



Sasha Bush

The Ashland Beacon

   On Wednesday, June 22, friends and family gathered at Ashland’s YMCA to honor and remember not only a great man, but a beautiful soul, and the impact that he left on so many lives through his selfless acts of kindness and support of the Ashland Area YMCA. 

   Dave Williams was born on January 18, 1923, and went on to be the Lord March 6, 2021. Dave always had a passion for helping others and served our country during WWII in the United States Air Force. To know Dave was to love Dave and he would simply illuminate kindness and love everywhere he went. Dave’s favorite place to be was at Ashland’s own local YMCA. It was nothing out of the ordinary to find Dave in the weight room working out daily. He would often grace the doors of the Ashland Area YMCA at exactly 2:30 p.m. every day. Dave was an engineer, inventor, poet, writer, philosopher, artist, and a pilot. In fact, Dave even built three airplanes. 

   Dave was a man of many talents and passions. But among those passions and the one he held most near and dear to his heart was his dedication to doing anything and everything he possibly could for the children at Ashland’s YMCA. Dave loved the children and Dave loved his YMCA. 

   Something most did not know about Dave is that he funded the creation and buidling of the YMCA’s beloved Fun Factory. The Fun Factory is an amazing asset to the Y. It features slides and all sorts of things for kids run, climb, and play on. It gives children a fun and safe environment to just be kids as well as provides a peace of mind for parents working out knowing that their kids are well cared for and having a great time. So, to honor Dave and his kindness and generosity the Ashland Area YMCA dedicated the Fun Factory to Dave Williams. A plaque will forever adorn the left side of the Fun Factory’s door in honor of this man that touched the hearts of so many. The plaque reads “In Memory of Dave Williams- 1923-2021- Devoted Supporter of YMCA and Champion to the Children.”

   Scott Campbell, Ashland Area YMCA’s Executive Director, stated that “What I will always remember about Dave is that he would always ask me ‘What are we going to do for the youth today?’ Dave was an awesome person. He loved children and as I said every day, he would ask me ‘what are we going to do for the kids?’ He touched my heart. I’ve always loved kids, but Dave gave me a new perspective. You know this whole Y is for the kids. Of course, adults use it, senior citizens use it. But it’s really for the kids and I personally will never forget the mark that Dave left on me and on this facility.” Tim Thirion, on of Ashland Area YMCAs board members, added “There are those certain special people that come into your lives that you just never forget.” We will always remember Dave for his kindness, for his patience and how much he loved and supported the children.” 

   Also present during the dedication ceremony was Dave Williams’ daughter, Marty Juday, and his son in-law, Dan Juday. Marty Juday was very emotional during the event and was over-run with emotions and appreciation for the dedication of the Fun Factory. 

   Juday commented, “My dad loved the YMCA. He came here every day faithfully for years and years. My sister and I just appreciate how well everybody loved him here and how they took care of them. You know they watched out for him and if he wasn’t here for a couple of days, they were calling to make sure he was ok and we appreciated that so much because we both loved out of town and I didn’t even know that he had bought that play gym (the Fun Factory) for the kids and so I think that’s really cool and I really appreciate that they dedicated it to him. It means a lot to me and to my sisters. The Y was his home away from and I just really appreciate all the people here and this just means so much to me and my sisters.”