Our History

Williams - West Bury Funeral home history

James A. Williams, founder of The Williams Funeral Homes, has been in the funeral business for more than 50 years. He started his career in the funeral business with McDonald Funeral Homes in Griffin and Barnesville in 1952.

In 1964, he moved, with his wife and three children, to the City of Gordon and opened the first funeral home in Wilkinson County. In doing so, he gave Wilkinson County it's first ambulance service. The business grew, and in 1969 he purchased land in Milledgeville and built the first building in Milledgeville to ever be specifically designed to be used as a funeral home.

As time passed, both funeral homes saw constant growth because of the Williams Family's dedication to serving the families of Wilkinson, Baldwin, and surrounding counties with the best possible service and caring and compassion. In 1981, James wanted to get back closer to his original home, so his son Rick took over operations in Milledgeville. James moved back to Barnesville and built the first building in Lamar County to ever be specifically designed for use as a funeral home.A few years later, as business continued to grow in all three of the towns, Rick also took over the operations in the town of Gordon.

In the 1990's James and Rick were approached by a corporation about purchasing all three of the family funeral homes. After long discussions, they sold all three of the funeral homes and stayed on to run the facilities. The corporation slowly started to change the way that the funeral homes had always been operated. James and Rick both tried to warn the corporation about what would happen to the business and were fired in 1995.

In 1996, James and Rick started over completely and built a brand new facility in the City of Gordon. Then in 1998, they built a brand new facility in the City of Milledgeville.

After a few years, Rick was operating the funeral home in Milledgeville along with his wife Donna and his son Spencer. James' oldest daughter, Brenda was running the funeral home in Gordon, and James decided once again that it was time to move back closer to his original home. In 2001, James moved back to Barnesville and built a new facility.

After a year of being back in business in each town, the Williams family had taken all of the business back from the corporate owned funeral homes that used to belong to them. In Barnesville, James actually purchased his old building back after the corporation shut it down in November of 2002, and he moved his operation back into his original building.

In January of 2004, the businesses had continued to grow, and James knew that he could no longer handle the day to day operations of the funeral home by himself. It was at this point that his grandson, Spencer N. Williams, moved to Barnesville to take over the day to day operations of the business, and take some of the burden from his grandfather.

Now in its third generation, the Williams Family has continued to grow the business, and is still serving the families of Middle Georgia with Dignity, Honor, and Respect. Williams Funeral Home is not just a funeral home--they are a friend of the family.