Friend mourns lost link in Rodgers-McWilliams chain

By By Carl Fitzgerald / special to The Star
March 6, 2002
Edwin Richard "E.R." McWilliams Jr. died suddenly Tuesday from a massive heart attack. He was 79.
A resident of the Pine Springs community, McWilliams' home was near the spot where his uncle, Jimmie Rodgers, was born in 1897. His mother was Elsie McWilliams, who wrote more than 30 songs recorded by Rodgers the "Father of Country Music."
McWilliams was married to the former Dot Harmon, and the couple celebrated their 55th wedding anniversary in August, accord to daughter-in-law Terri McWilliams.
Terri McWilliams said her father-in-law was stricken about mid-morning on Tuesday. His son, singer Rick McWilliams III, called for emergency medical assistance. The elder McWilliams was transported to Rush Foundation Hospital, where he died a short time later.
E.R. and Dot McWilliams owned and operated McWilliams Upholstery and Trim Shop on Sixth Street for more than 50 years.
I was a longtime friend of E.R. Jr. and I also remember his father, "Uncle Dick" McWilliams. He was the lovable sergeant with the Meridian Police Department who had countless friends throughout this area and he used to share many funny stories about his work.
Many of us frequently referred to E.R. Jr. as "Uncle Dick Jr."
At this writing, funeral arrangements are pending. I would like to join many of you in sending our heartfelt sympathy to the McWilliams family.
As I look back on our musical heritage in Meridian, and the Jimmie Rodgers legacy, I find the ranks are becoming thin.
My good friend of 50 years, E.R. McWilliams Jr., is gone. He will be missed. Another link in the Rodgers-McWilliams chain has been broken.
God bless his memory. We love you, "Uncle Dick Jr."