Folsom A to Z; Jim “Digger” WilliamsBy: Rachel Zirin, Senior Reporter
Editor’s note: Folsom A to Z is an intermittent series in the Telegraph where readers can learn facts and history about Folsom. Each week, the Telegraph will select a landmark, place, historical figure and major historical event that start with the next letter of the alphabet. This week we continue with “W.”
- Jim “Digger” Williams was born on February 21, 1935, in Caldwell, Ohio.
- Williams moved to Folsom in 1960 with his wife, Sharon.
- He quickly volunteered, became a community leader.
- Williams was a Parks Commissioner, host of public concerts and ambassador for the Folsom Chamber of Commerce.
- He was recognized as Volunteer of the Year, Citizen of the Year and received placement on the Wall of Fame for his work as an ambassador.
- While working as an undertaker and cemetery manager for Miller Funeral Home, he earned the nickname “Digger.”
- The nickname stuck with him for life, and he often introduced himself as just that.
- His most adored and well-known role was that of Arena Boss for the Folsom Pro Rodeo, a position he held for 54 years, as well as serving as Grand Marshal.
- Dedicating many years as a volunteer, he prepared the venue for families and the people of Folsom to celebrate the Fourth of July.
- Williams was inducted posthumously into the first class of the new Folsom Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame.
- While serving as Parks Commissioner, Williams was instrumental in the development of the Folsom Athletic Association.
- He pursued other volunteer efforts for youth sports by coaching football, baseball and wrestling at Folsom High School.
- Williams also worked to bring Pop Warner football to the area.
- Williams served as the official host of the summer series of Concert in the Park for more than 20 years, something Folsom residents enjoyed greatly.
- He loved Folsom and its residents, and worked to create lasting traditions for all ages to enjoy.
- Often described as one of the nicest people you ever meet, Williams was a gentle cowboy known for his compassionate nature.
- Williams passed away on July 1, 2014.