Alumni

Published on March 19th, 2020 | by Staples Soccer

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Staples Soccer Mourns Loss Of Jeff Williamson ’73

Jeff Williamson ’73 — a tri-captain, 2-time All-FCIAC pick, and the player who assisted the lone goal in the 1972 state championship match — died this morning. He was 65, and spent much of his life fighting multiple sclerosis. The first signs appeared when he was a senior soccer player at St. Lawrence University.

Williamson — whose brother Scott ’70 was a star and state champion player in his own right — was the only sophomore brought up to the varsity in 1970. He scored in his first appearance, an opening round 5-0 victory over Hamden.

Williamson started and shined for the next 2 years. He is one of several players to score 4 goals in one match. As a senior, his penalty kick after a tie against New Canaan helped the Wreckers advance to the final. Moments into the title match against Conard-West Hartford at the Choate School, the Staples defense cleared the ball. Williamson picked it up near midfield and fed Dennis Murphy. He caught up to the ball behind the backs, dribbled to the left, then outfoxed the keeper with a low line drive to the far side. Just 30 seconds had elapsed. The Wreckers made the goal stand for a 1-0 victory — their 3rd straight state crown — and ended the season 18-0-1. The lone blemish was a 1-1 tie on opening day at Nyack, New York.

Williamson’s MS symptoms began while he was still in college. The disease was diagnosed several years later.

He remained a loyal Staples soccer fan, even as MS sapped his mobility. He was in the stands for the 2006 state final in New Britain, and came to the 2008 50th anniversary celebration too.

Williamson’s first wife — the head nutritionist at Danbury Hospital — died of colon cancer, at the age of 25. A second marriage ended in divorce.

In addition to his brother Scott, he is survived by his father, Fred.

Donations in Jeff Williamson’s name can be made to the Top of the Hill Team — the Staples boys soccer booster club. Click here to donate online; click here to donate by mail.

Jeff Williamson

 

Jeff Williamson (far left, in wheelchair) attended Staples boys soccer’s 50th anniversary celebration in 2008.

 

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11 Responses to Staples Soccer Mourns Loss Of Jeff Williamson ’73

  1. Fred Cantor says:

    Very sorry to hear this. Jeff was such a good person, both on and off the field. Notwithstanding his outstanding play on the field, perhaps his greatest legacy in the world of Staples soccer was that it was his idea to have the field named in honor of Albie Loeffler while Albie was alive so that he could share in a joyous celebration with his extended family and former players—and Jeff got the ball rolling on that. My condolences to Scott and Fred.

  2. Peter Dickstein says:

    I’m very saddened by the news of Jeff’s passing. Jeff (aka “Lefty” to us former Staples soccer teammates) was a great guy whose upbeat spirit and humor against the difficult life and health realities he faced for most of his life never ceased to amaze and inspire me. He was fun to be with off the pitch and an absolute honor to play next to. His clever, dry and sly humor also characterized his playing style…he quietly, and almost magically, always made the right decision by putting the ball in the exact right place at the precise right time; whether on someone’s best foot or in the back of the net. He was both confident and humble. I stayed in touch with him periodically as he moved around and stayed as engaged in “normal” life as he could. Ultimately, he provided me with a lifetime of great memories and smiles. I will miss and always remember him fondly.

    • What a beautiful and accurate tribute to Jeff- he was a wonderful friend, terrific athlete and he had a great mind. His sense of humor will always bring a smile to my heart. Thank you Peter for putting in words what I couldn’t say.

  3. Mark Goldrosen says:

    I am so saddened by Jeff’s passing. I met Jeff at Long Lots Junior HS and have such fond memories of playing basketball with him and his dad on the hoop in his driveway, and playing hockey on the frozen ponds near his house. Jeff was responsible for convincing me to play soccer, a sport I had never played before, when we entered Staples. And years later I was so happy to be part of the 1972 championship team that featured Jeff and other amazingly talented players. Jeff was such a kind person. He was a tremendously skilled athlete, yet had no ego and supportive of all his teammates. This is very sad.

  4. Dana Hollingsworth says:

    I’m so sorry to hear about “Lefty’s” passing. I was very lucky to have played with Jeff at both Staples and St. Lawrence University. I’ve always said that he was the most talented soccer player I ever played with. He had a natural ability to see the flow of the game and thread the impossible pass to a lucky forward.

    Jeff was a natural and gifted athlete in multiple sports. He also was a GREAT guy and friend to many. Despite his long battle with MS, he always had a smile on his face and positive attitude.
    My thoughts and prayers go out to Scott and Fred. I’m sure Lefty’s hanging with his good buddy Murph and knocking the ball around.

  5. Jody grose says:

    Sorry to hear this! I graduated with Jeff, and loved watching him and the whole team play with such skill and team work! I didn’t know him well, yet always appreciated his talent.

  6. George Barrett says:

    I saw the news of Jeff’s passing with real sadness. I can imagine that for people who may have only known Jeff during his wheelchair-bound days, it would be hard to describe the grace and fluidity of his physical movement – before this disease robbed him of his control over his body. I remember watching him play soccer for the first time – the ball was an extension of his him and his feel for the flow of the game was hard to describe. I will forever have wonderful memories of playing soccer in his back yard with brother Scott and his Dad and (and you guys) summer nights at the Staples field and of course the privilege of being his team mate at Staples. Jeff was a really sweet guy, humble with a funny subtle sense of humor and a generous spirit. Rest In Peace Lefty

  7. Adam Gross says:

    While not a soccer player, I was so lucky to be a neighbor of Jeff’s growing up on Greens Farms Road. In the early 70’s there was nothing better than riding my stingray bike (banana seat and spaghetti handlebars) over to Jeff’s house for intense hoop games, flashlight tag and ice hockey on a pond around the corner. We’d play basketball in the dead of winter with two orange Spaulding balls, always keeping one inside on a radiator to be exchanged when the other ball became too cold to bounce. Some of the best moments were when Jeff’s dad would come home from work, strip off his tie and play with us until dark. He had a mean jump shot. Jeff was always the quintessential neighborhood pal – fun, lithe in spirit, competitive, gracious and seemingly always happy. As an athlete and a friend, he was always an inspiration.

  8. Larry McFaddin says:

    I am terribly sorry to hear about the passing of Jeff. He was an amazingly courageous and a good
    hearted man. As mentioned in other posts the Williamson house, driveway, and yard were a kids dream. Soccer, B-Ball, Hockey, and many other activities were always going on and made for a lifetime of fun, learning, and memories. Fred was so supportive despite the broken garage windows and general omnipresent chaos.
    Scott encouraged me to come to St Lawrence for a Winterim which led me to their Graduate School. I was lucky to be able to see the “Staples Connection” of Jeff, Scott, and Dana excel on a very good SLU team. My thoughts and prayers are with Jeff, Scott, Fred, and the family.

  9. John F Wiliamson says:

    To his teammates and friends – many thanks. Yes I miss him and often wonder how such a great athlete could keep that positive attitude when being paralyzed from the waist down. His Dad

  10. Tracy McIntosh says:

    So saddened to learn of Jeff’s passing. my friend and Staples teammate Scott’s younger brother. The Williamson brothers and their wonderful dad Fred were such talented athletes and wonderful gentlemen. There was always such a joie-de-vive about everything they did. Jeff was such an amazing guy and my admiration for him grew exponentially in later years as he dealt with the challenges of a life-altering illness with incredible grace and strength . He never seemed to lose his love of his friends, his family, and of life. He is missed. Our condolences to Scott and Fred and family.