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Happy 96th, Chester Williams!

Snooky’s celebration brings out community

            The Snooky’s faithful were out in full force Tuesday morning to celebrate the 96th birthday of Snook-PAC’s most-favored and long-standing member, Chester Williams.

            The celebration was organized by Perk Robins and Doug Lambert, frequent breakfast companions of the honoree at the “round tables” of Snooky’s. The morning included a presentation by John Mulherin, president of Southern Boosters, commemorating him as the oldest living member of the Georgia Southern Athletics Hall of Fame. Williams was a four sport athlete and letterman from1931-33.

            Williams was touched by all the attention.

            “The Snooky’s guys are pretty good family and keep me real busy,” said Williams.

            Mayor Bill Hatcher was asked by Lambert to make an official city proclamation about Williams’ birthday, which he was more than happy to do.     

“Chester has been a long time stalwart of this community,” said Hatcher. “It was a pleasure and an honor for me to be there and honor him. It’s amazing that he’s still going down there every morning and just moving and shaking- at 96.”

            Bruce Yawn, Snooky’s owner, supplied the cake for the occasion and said Williams is a real fixture of both his restaurant and Statesboro.

            “Chester’s one of the special ones. He’s a long-time resident and knows just about everybody in town,” said Yawn. “He’s been a principal in most of the counties around here.”

            Mildred Scott, Williams’ niece, was also there to celebrate with him.

            “He’s done a lot of good, but right now I don’t know where to start,” said Scott. “The guys around here now more about his foolishness, but I can say he’s really one-of-a-kind.”

            A quartet of former students from Metter High School was on hand to offer their birthday wishes. JoAnne White, class of ‘68, and Theresa Gay, Connie Franklin and Joyce Sutton, class of ‘66, all said Williams had a positive impact on them and the others in their classes.

            There was also plenty of singing at the party. The Chamber Choir from the First United Methodist Church sang “Happy birthday” and serenaded restaurant patrons with a couple of Christmas carols. Brenda Benton offered up a Marilyn Monroe-style “Happy Birthday” song, complete with a Santa hat for Williams.

            Robins said that one of Williams’ past birthday presents was a one-of-kind Georgia Southern football jacket, commemorating one of GSU’s national championships, given to him by former Eagles coach and Snook-PAC pillar, Erk Russell.

            “I’ve already told Chester, in his will, the only thing I want is that jacket,” said Robins. “The only problem is that I’m 77 and he’s 96, but he’ll probably outlive me.”

            Hatcher summed up the feelings of everyone who attended.

            “All the Snooky’s guys - they all respect him and enjoy very much his being a part of that group,” said Hatcher. “He’s a guy they can really rally around.”

            Phil Boyum may be reached at 489-9454.

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