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True Warrior#8217; succumbs By Thadd White 01/15/2007 WINDSOR – A true Warrior departed this life Saturday. Joseph #8220;Joe#8221; Williford, 57, who was synonymous with Lawrence Academy in the 1990s,

WINDSOR – A true Warrior departed this life Saturday.

Joseph “Joe” Williford, 57, who was synonymous with Lawrence Academy in the 1990s, died at Pitt Memorial Hospital this weekend after a long illness.

“He was a fine man,” retired Lawrence Academy Headmaster Thomas Gregory said. “He supported the school, the teachers and all parts of Lawrence Academy.

“He was dedicated to the kids,” Gregory continued. “He was a board member for many years and was so supportive of the sports program.”

During his tenure coaching with the Warriors, Williford directed the boy’s basketball team and golf team, but his most successful venture was as the girl’s softball coach at the school.

It is in that role that Ridgecroft School Athletic Director Doug Cobbs fondly remembered his long-time opponent.

“Joe did a good job with those girls,” Cobbs said. “I respected him as a coach and more so as a person because he was always a very honest man.”

His tenure at the helm of the Lady Warriors’ program along with that of Dick Lassiter, who preceded him, was the foundation for the program that has become the state’s best.

“There’s no doubt we owe a great debt to Joe Williford and Dick Lassiter,” said Truitt Johnston, who presided over two state softball titles at Lawrence in recent years. “Joe and Dick Lassiter laid the foundation for the program that has been built at Lawrence.

“His loss is certainly personal to Lawrence Academy and to the softball program,” he added.

Memorial contributions for Williford may be made to the American Cancer Society.

Williford is survived by his wife, Linda Pierce Williford of Windsor; one daughter, Cecilia Williford of Raleigh; a son, J. Braxton Williford Jr. of Holly Springs; and a sister, Janet W. Holland of Merry Hill.

He will be laid to rest at a funeral at 11 a.m. today (Tuesday) at Edgewood Baptist Church in Windsor. Burial will follow in the Edgewood Cemetery.