March 26, 1924 to October 27, 2015
Long time Downey resident, Grady Williams, passed away peacefully at home, with his wife Lynn of 68 years and his children at his bedside of Alzheimer's on October 27.
The 64 year resident of Downey was 91 years old. He came to California in 1942 with a friend looking for work. In 1943, Grady tried to enlist, but due to a perforated ear drum, he was declared 4F. He then volunteered for the Merchant Marines and made two trips to Hawaii. During this time he developed a love of seafaring and later owned several pleasure craft, including a 40 foot Ketch sailboat, which he captained up and down the California coast for many years.
After his last trip to Hawaii, he soon found work driving trucks, which became his passion. He drove for many of the largest trucking companies. He owned and maintained many of his trucks. He operated 2 gas stations early in his career and then a successful body shop in Lynnwood, where he built the wheel covers for Mickey Thompson's Land Speed Record streamliner and modified 2 cars for Alfred Hitchcock's movie, North by Northwest. Jaguar sportscars were his love. He raced a 1954 XK-120 and then a 1956 XK-140 to victories at racetracks around California in the 1950's. He also trophied in a Formula One Maserati in 1958, at a Riverside Hot Rod Club drag race, because he was the only entrant in a class for 4 cylinder, turbocharged, double overhead cam engines, even though the Maserati was the slowest car entered, because it was geared for top speeds of 180 m.p.h., not quickness off the start line.
In the latter part of his career, Grady drove piggy-backed new White Frieghtliner's from the factory in Chino to dealerships all over the country. After delivering the last truck he would fly home. United Airlines gave him a plaque honoring him as a Million Mile Flier.
After giving up sailing the seas, he purchased an older motorhome, rebuilt it by himself, and then with his wife Lynn, visited every state in the lower 48.
Grady is survived by his wife Lynn, 3 sons, Steve of Yucaipa, California; Greg of Lake Havasu City, Arizona; Brett of Lakewood, California; daughter Lisa of Port Charlotte, Florida and 11 grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests a donation to the Alzheimer's association.