Dallas College Trustee JL Sonny Williams served the constituents of District 1 for the past 15 years.
Contact: Liz Scruggs
For immediate release — July 12, 2021
(DALLAS) — Dallas College Trustee JL Sonny Williams, a lifelong businessman and community servant, died this past weekend at his home. He was 78.
Williams joined the Dallas College Board of Trustees in 2006, and faithfully served constituents of District 1 for the past 15 years. In 2016, he rose to chair the board’s audit committee, a capacity he served in until his death. Williams considered giving back to the community a personal responsibility, colleagues said.
“Although he was a man of few words, those of us privileged enough to know him understood that his passion for this institution, our students and the Dallas County community was unparalleled,” Dallas College Chancellor Joe May said of Williams’ passing. “Sonny was both wise and discerning, calm yet commanding — all qualities that served him well personally and professionally.”
A minority owner of the Dallas Mavericks, Williams was also a former president and chief operating officer of Minyard Food Stores, Inc., a position he earned after working his way through the ranks from store employee to company executive.
Throughout his life, he worked with several civic and professional organizations and served on the board of directors for the State Fair of Texas, the Southern Methodist University Athletic Forum and the American Red Cross, among others. Williams earned a bachelor’s degree and honorary doctorate from Dallas Baptist University. He is survived by his wife, Gretchen; his children, Claire and Connor; son-in-law, Chase Caywood; and granddaughter, Ivy Lisbeth.
Ever proud of his Mavericks championship ring, he loved letting students try it on and hold it — a sign of his relatability and connection to Dallas College students.
“I know the Dallas Community will join me in extending our thoughts and prayers to Sonny’s family during this most difficult time,” Dr. May said. “Dallas College is a stronger institution thanks to Sonny’s influence, expertise and selflessness.”
“Our hearts are now with Sonny’s family and friends,” added Board Chair Monica Lira Bravo. “My fellow board members and I were fortunate to witness Sonny’s devotion to his fellow man through his commitment to Dallas College’s students. He possessed an eternal hope that peace spreads through all generations of every creed and every race. We will miss him dearly.”