February 23, 1948 ~ May 9, 2019

Born in: Birmingham, AL
Resided in: Denver, CO

Lawrence Buford Williams was born on February 23, 1948, in Birmingham, Alabama, to Douglass and Ethel Williams, both deceased. He attended Western Olin High School and earned his college degree from Knoxville College. His experiences growing up under segregation imbued in him a deep and life-long commitment to human rights and social justice, as reflected in both his career and volunteer work. As a teen, he helped register Black voters. As an adult, he marched for civil rights and supported organizations that fought for the rights of the powerless domestically and internationally. Upon moving to Denver in 1971, he worked as an investigator initially for the Colorado Civil Rights Division and later for the Colorado Division of Securities.

Perhaps his greatest passion, however, was mentoring children. His love for his nieces, nephews, grandnieces and grandnephews was boundless and they loved him back in equal measure. As a volunteer, he also touched the lives of dozens of children as a volunteer big brother and, for the past 17 years, as a reading tutor for Denver Public School Children. Often one of the few or only African American male volunteers with Partners in Literacy, he took seriously his role as a model for young Black men, ingraining them with a love for reading, the importance of education and how to carry themselves through life with dignity and compassion.

As the eldest child, he was a devoted big brother to his two sisters. He was a faithful and loving husband. His friends will remember him as a gentleman and a gentle man.

Larry loved to run, loved to travel and often combined the two, running marathons in Amsterdam, Paris, Arkansas and Texas, as well as other races throughout the U.S. A testament to his tenacity was achieving his goal of running 2500 miles in 2018, which was also reflected in his brief, but courageous and fierce, battle against pancreatic cancer.

Larry is survived by his: wife of 33 years, Kathryn Kanda; sisters Beryl Williams and Wanda McConnell, Colorado; nieces Alexis Kanda-Olmstead (Woodstock, Vermont), and Shayna Price; nephews James Bryan-Kanda (Aiken, South Carolina) and Miles McConnell; grandnieces Miriam Kanda-Olmstead and Sydney Price; grandnephew Abraham Kanda-Olmstead; and his best friend, Rainbow.

The family requests that friends make donations to the following charities in lieu of flowers: Partners in Literacy (http://www.partnersinliteracy.org/home/); Southern Poverty Law Center (https://www.splcenter.org/); and Wings of Hope for Pancreatic Cancer Research (http://www.wingsofhopepcr.org/).


Memorial Service: June 8, 2019 2:00 pm - 2:45 pm

Pipkin Braswell Chapel of Peace
6601 Colfax Avenue
Denver, CO 80220

(303) 996-0869

Reception: June 8, 2019 2:45 pm - 5:00 pm

Pipkin Braswell
6601 East Colfax Ave.
Denver, CO 80220

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  1. My heart goes out to a wonderful friend, a great family man and a friend to all. Gone too soon. The family has my deepest condolences. I know his family and will do my best to support and uphold them in your absence. RIP

  2. Larry Williams, my dear friend, how lucky I was to have him in my life!!
    Humor, politics, fashion, family stories and always a quote from his Dad, to close the subject!
    He is the definition of “Gentleman” and ” Gentle Man”, always to be remembered as lbw66gto.com!!

  3. Larry so happy to have you in our lives. The man who ran, and made huge differences for all he touched.
    No one has ever come close to your loyalty, kindness and gentle soul.

  4. Having met “Uncle Larry” through marriage, I’ve not had the personal opportunity to really know him; but the times I interacted with him and the way he treated my son, I was truly impressed with him. A man of nothing but kind words and positive thoughts was what I always received from him. After reading his story; what an honor it was to have made his acquaintance. My deepest condolences to Aunt Kathy, Shayna, Miles, Sydneygirl, Ms. Wanda (Barry) and Aunt T. You all have precious memories to hold in your heart for a lifetime and my prayers are that God will always comfort you in those down times.

  5. I had the privilege of working with Larry for over 16 tumultuous years at the Securities Division. He was a tenacious investigator who quietly and calmly helped put many investment crooks out of business and in prison. He did not like cheaters who took advantage of others. Perhaps that helps define him. I did not know him well, to my detriment, but I admired his dignity and humanity…to say nothing of his devotion to fitness and his natty sense of style. He was one of the first to greet me when I moved to Denver in 1982. He had the uncanny ability to make you feel like a friend upon shaking your hand. He was also the one to let me know that the flame that drew us all to the Securities Division, Royce Griffin, had passed away. The last interaction I had with him was yet another favor for me; he drove my car to Washington, D.C. to help me move to a new job. He always laughed at my jokes–I can hear him yet. My regards to Kathy and all who he loved and who loved him, which must be many. The world is worse without him. He was a treasure. I envy his grace.

  6. When I think of Larry and the stories that I’ve heard through Kathy, I think of a generosity of spirit and life well lived…may there be comfort in all the memories…

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