Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Fred E. Williams Dies at 59; Was Veteran of St. Louis Politics

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Fred E. Williams Dies at 59; Was Veteran of St. Louis Politics

Article excerpt

Fred E. Williams, a veteran of the rough-and-tumble of city politics, died Sunday (Aug. 21, 1994) at his home on Julian Avenue, apparently after suffering a heart attack. He was 59.

Most recently, Mr. Williams handled intergovernmental relations in the office of City Treasurer Larry Williams, who was no relation. Before that, he ran the city's emergency management agency for six years.

Mr. Williams was best known for his nine terms in the Missouri House of Representatives. He won his first election in 1968 and served until after his loss in the Democratic primary in 1986.

Mr. Williams also ran unsuccessfully for the Democratic nomination for mayor in 1985 and, as an independent, for a seat in the Missouri Senate in a special election in 1977.

In 1976, Mr. Williams briefly challenged U.S. Rep. William Clay, D-St. Louis, before withdrawing from the primary race.

In the Legislature, he championed efforts to clean up lead-based paint that poisoned children in poor urban areas, and he campaigned to win high-profile positions for blacks in state government.

Nothing he did in the Legislature won him as much attention as a bill he sponsored in 1985 to bar loud or obnoxious nose blowing in restaurants. "I've been in restaurants with some real honkers," he told the House. "We have to protect the public in spite of itself."

Although his bill drew laughter from his colleagues, Mr. Williams was quite serious about it - as he explained on ABC's "Good Morning America" and on radio talk shows across America. But his bill went nowhere.

In the close combat of city politics, Mr. Williams made a foe of Clay and of Freeman Bosley Jr., now the mayor. Mr. Williams' critics said he had entered the mayoral primary in 1985 at the behest of then-Mayor Vincent C. Schoemehl Jr. to draw black votes away from Bosley.

Mr. Williams denied the charge. But after the election, Schoemehl installed Mr. …

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