Image

Albert Zell Williams Sr. 1920-2010

Okay, admittedly, that saying may seem in poor taste in this posthumous context, but it was indeed a favorite mantra of one Mr. Albert Zell Williams Sr. In his 90 years in this world, Albert had few passions, but was fully committed to them... and his "toys" remained atop the list for more than eight decades.

In his remarkable lifetime, Albert came to be known my many people in many ways. To the world, he was a sailor, community servant, good samaritan and "fix anything" handyman. Honest to a fault, he certainly wouldn't mind me saying that "pain in the ass" and "miserable sumbitch" could also easily describe him by those he encountered.

For those fortunate to really know him, however, there were many layers beneath his gruff and grumpy facade. Dynamics of his unique personality that he were not always apparent, yet he gave selflessly to those he cared about. These were the traits with which he earned his most valuable titles: A hopelessly romantic and devoted husband. A loving and devoted father. A friend for life that would literally give you the shirt off his back... although he may gleefully "break your stones" while doing so. Those close to him knew him as "Al", "Willie" or "Big Will", but there was only one single person in the whole wide world fortunate to have known him as "Pop-Pop".

That lucky guy was me.

I could write a novel here and still not quite express how much my Pop-Pop spoiled me, from the day I was born right up to the day he left us. Instead, I feel it's only fitting to instead try to introduce you to the man and the legacy he left behind. The thought of trying to compress any lifetime into a few paragraphs is not a pleasant one, so I won't even attempt it. Pop-Pop lived so remarkably that just the "broad strokes" are impressive. He was not only a member of the greatest American generation…. He truly personified it!

Pop-Pop's story begins in a place that would arguably become his first love: a little town known as Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Both his first and last breaths were taken in Philly, and - with the exception of that little "saving the world" phase in mankind's darkest hour - he never strayed too far from his city of brotherly love.

By all accounts, his childhood was a humble one. While I can't truly say exactly where or when Pop-Pop found his second true love, it wasn't long before his fascination with all things railroading set its roots. Shared lovingly (and at times, competitively) with his "kid brother" George, there was some intangible draw to the rails that seduced my Grandfather as a child. It was a seduction that only grew stronger in the Brothers Williams and never waivered. I won't pretend to understand or fully appreciate this love affair with trains, but the sanctuary and enjoyment it brought them was obvious to even the most casual observer. It remained in Pop-Pop until his dying day, and lives on to this day with "Uncle George".

As with the rest of his generation, life got in the way of Pop-Pop's passions, and he did not hesitate to heed the call of service to his country. My Grandfather was 21 years old when bombs fell on Pearl Harbor. Before he turned 22, he was an enlisted active-duty sailor in the United States Navy. Already a proficient mechanic and machinist, he honed his skills and served with pride, through V-Day, through VJ-Day, and beyond. Ignoring the constant taunting he endured at the hands of his only son - my Dad - for having spent the majority of his wartime service patrolling the Connecticut coastline, I am not naïve or foolish enough to minimalize the sacrifices of anyone brave enough to step up to such a monumental duty. While any American should need no reminder of this, I offer this amazing memento I found modestly tucked away in his desk…. It's not only an incredibly unique historical artifact, but easily one of my most treasured reminders of my Pop-Pop.

So, you're probably thinking you've identified passion #3 for Pop-Pop, but there's one that was skipped. This passion consumed my Grandfather more deeply than ANY other, and offers more of a definition of the man than anything could even come close to (and yes, that includes the trains)…
If you've never had the privilege of knowing my Grandfather, you'll never be able to appreciate the irony in his infatuation with the girl that was the love of his life.

Earlier, I described my Pop-Pop as a "hopeless romantic". For most of my childhood, and even as a young man, that statement would have even made me chuckle. The rough-and-tough persona he maintained was more than adequate cover to my young mind to conceal the fact that the man was simply head over heels in love with his "Bet". Don't get me wrong, it's certainly not as if they didn't display their love, but it would be many years before I began to appreciate just how deep my Grandparents' love ran. Tragically, I either wasn't observant or mature enough to recognize it until Elizabeth - my beloved Grandmom - was stricken with Alzheimer's Disease. I'm embarrassed to admit it, but until I saw the unmistakable, heartbreaking torment that Pop-Pop endured as the soul mate he shared his life with faded away, I never fully appreciated just how much she meant to him. Albert Zell Williams outlived the love of life by four years, but to this day, I am convinced his death began the day she became ill. That's all I can muster up to share about "the end", so allow me to talk about where it began…

Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum. Donec elementum ligula eu sapien consequat eleifend.

Donec nec dolor erat, condimentum sagittis sem. Praesent porttitor porttitor risus, dapibus rutrum ipsum gravida et. Integer lectus nisi, facilisis sit amet eleifend nec, pharetra ut augue. Integer quam nunc, consequat nec egestas ac, volutpat ac nisi.
Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum. Donec elementum ligula eu sapien consequat eleifend.

Donec nec dolor erat, condimentum sagittis sem. Praesent porttitor porttitor risus, dapibus rutrum ipsum gravida et. Integer lectus nisi, facilisis sit amet eleifend nec, pharetra ut augue. Integer quam nunc, consequat nec egestas ac, volutpat ac nisi.

Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum. Donec elementum ligula eu sapien consequat eleifend.

Donec nec dolor erat, condimentum sagittis sem. Praesent porttitor porttitor risus, dapibus rutrum ipsum gravida et. Integer lectus nisi, facilisis sit amet eleifend nec, pharetra ut augue. Integer quam nunc, consequat nec egestas ac, volutpat ac nisi.

Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum. Donec elementum ligula eu sapien consequat eleifend.

Donec nec dolor erat, condimentum sagittis sem. Praesent porttitor porttitor risus, dapibus rutrum ipsum gravida et. Integer lectus nisi, facilisis sit amet e
Image

More info about my Grandfather to come as this page develops...
If you'd like to browse the model train collection while the inventory is in progress, please use the links below.
  • Placeholder
  • Placeholder
  • Placeholder
  • Placeholder
  • Placeholder
  • Placeholder
  • Placeholder
  • Placeholder
Lionel (80%)
Kris/KMT (10%)
Am. Flyer (5%)
Bachmann (3%)
Other (2%)

Lionel (0%)
Kris/KMT (0%)
Williams (0%)
K-Line (0%)
Train-Minatures (0%)
Weaver (0%)
American Flyer (0%)
Image