Our community mourns the loss of two incredible members of our local Martin Luther King Jr. Scholarship Committee- Captain James B. Williams and Gary Giddens. Both of these gentlemen passed away earlier this week.
Gary Giddens was the President of the MLK Scholarship Committee. He loved working behind the scenes preparing the meals for the annual scholarship banquet. He was the head warehouseman for Carlsbad Schools, and he was well liked and respected across the school district. He worked for the school district for 32 years and he was known for getting the job done. One of Gary’s brothers, Frank, played football for the University of New Mexico and in the NFL.
Captain Williams, as most Carlsbad residents call him, is a legend in Carlsbad. A Korean War veteran, he and his wife, Julia, came to Carlsbad in 1955. Their arrival was one of the best things that ever happened to this community.
He worked for the City and then later at AMAX Potash. In 1970, he began his career in law enforcement, starting as a patrolman and retiring in 1998 as a captain. He was Carlsbad’s first Black police officer and coordinated neighborhood watches while working to combat gang violence. Many Carlsbad residents fondly recall visiting with Captain Williams when they were students. He was a charter member of the Brotherhood of Goodwill and helped establish the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Scholarship Foundation, serving as its president for 7 years.
After retiring, Captain Williams ran his own private security firm and continued to remain extremely active in the community. He also served on the Carlsbad Municipal Schools Board of Education and a wide variety of other boards, including with the Boys and Girls Club and the Carlsbad Mental Health Association. He was a key player in the development of Teen Court.
As one of Carlsbad’s most remarkable citizens, the City of Carlsbad was proud to name a street in honor of Captain Williams in the new neighborhood in front of Ocotillo Elementary School.
The Martin Luther King Jr. Scholarship Committee is an outstanding group of individuals. Every year, they organize a three-day event as a tribute to Dr. King, which features a dinner, a march and a very special choir/church service. Of course, the Committee has also awarded dozens of scholarships to deserving young men and women over the years, a source of particular pride for its members.
The City of Carlsbad has a very strong partnership with the MLK Scholarship Committee, and we are committed to working with them to help continue the legacy of Dr. King’s Dream. Today, the entire community mourns the loss of Gary Giddens and Captain James Williams – two outstanding Carlsbad citizens.
From the office of Mayor Dale Janway