Joseph A Williamson, Jr., of Blue Bell, passed away Tuesday, July 30 at the age of 83. He was the second oldest son of Joseph A and Emma Williamson, Sr. Emma (née Deamer). He is survived by his wife, Noreen (née McGrath), his son, Joseph A III, son-in-law Dale, grandson Henry Joseph, sister-in-law Patsy, along with his brothers Richard and Jim, sisters Emma and Joan, as well as nieces and nephews too numerous to count. He was a member of the Union League of Philadelphia and Whitemarsh Valley and Naples Lakes Country Clubs.
With his brothers he was a proprietor of Williamson Restaurants, at one time the oldest family-owned restaurant business in the Philadelphia region, having been started in 1933 by their father. Joe was passionate and devoted to his job. His tirelessness helped Williamson’s achieve its prominent status in the area: Williamson’s was a touchstone for many and served as a site for marriage proposals, weddings, anniversaries, proms and special dinners.
His personality was larger-than-life and stories of him as a young man are legendary- racing his 1960 red corvette convertible all over the Mainline no matter the weather and entertaining members of the Philadelphia Phillies and other notables at the family’s restaurants and about town. But Joe was also a hopeless romantic. When they were dating, he would often surprise Noreen, his bride-to-be, with spontaneous trips to New York, where the couple would dine at the 21 Club, or Washington DC where they would be up all night, driving back to Philadelphia at dawn.
Although running a successful business was extremely demanding, he made fatherhood a top priority, spending time with his son, Joe III, as often as he could. When his son entered high school and joined the rowing team, Joe never once missed a race, often showing up hours early with gallons upon gallons of hot chocolate for Joe III and his teammates. With the birth of his grandson, Henry, Joe really came into his own. He positively beamed with pride and joy whenever Henry’s name was mentioned and relished time spent with his grandson.
His generosity of spirit did not stop with his family- he was loved by all who knew him. Joe gave what he could to those he loved and was always the gracious host, making everyone feel special and included. He was a warm and loving friend with a great sense of humor. While his family is grateful for the peace and comfort in which he spent his final days, the truth is, he will be mourned by many.
A viewing will be held at Epiphany of Our Lord Church at 3050 Walton Road in Norristown on Tuesday morning, August 6 from 9.30-10.45AM. A Mass of Christian Burial will follow at 11AM.
In lieu of flowers, memorials in Joe’s memory would be greatly appreciated by the family. Donations can be made either to:
-Einstein Montgomery Home Health Hospice & Palliative Care at https://secure.einstein.edu or by mail to Einstein Healthcare Network, Office of Development Braemer Bldg, 5501 Old York Road, Philadelphia, PA 19141.
-Adoptions From The Heart at https://afth.org/support-our-mission/donate/ or by mail to Adoptions From The Heart 30-31 Hampstead Circle, Wynnewood, PA 19096
To send flowers to Joseph's family, please visit our floral section.