WRAL-TV’s Longest Term Employee Clarence Williams Retires This Week

Clarence Williams

WRAL-TV’s Clarence Williams will retire from CBC after 49 years of service on Friday, October 30, 2015.

WRAL-TV Director/Producer Clarence Williams joined the staff of the Big 5 when only a teenager.  Now, almost five decades later, he’s finally donning his fedora and heading out the newsroom door for the last time as an employee.  How do you say good-bye to an institution?  Those of us CBC long-timers know that you never truly get to say farewell.  More than one retiree is still working on special project from time to time.  Yet and still, WRAL-TV will be a different place without in the man in the bowtie gracing our doors every week.

Clarence is the longest current employee at Capitol Broadcasting Company.  He first signed on as a high school trainee in the fall of 1966.  He moved up to part-time in the production department and became a full-time staffer in 1967.  He left CBC for two years to serve in the U.S. Army from 1970-1972.

Upon his return from Vietnam, he worked in Master Control and then moved into a director/producer role in the early ‘80s.

He is beloved by his fellow staffers.  In 2000, the fact became official as his WRAL colleagues voted him the 5-Star winner that year.

“Clarence has become one of my dearest friends over the years,” said WRAL-TV Director of News Operations/Sports/Special Projects Leesa Moore.  “Despite the fact that he used to make me cry when I was a fresh-faced crew member just out of college and trying to make it in the broadcast business.  He really did.  But I learned right away how to be tough, but flexible in this business, and how to forge ahead through any kind of challenge.  Clarence helped teach me that.”

“He also taught me how compassion and humor can get you through any situation and help you deal with a myriad of personalities,” continued Moore.  “I am, in large part, who I am as a professional and as a person because of working with Clarence.”

Clarence Williams

WRAL-TV’s Clarence Williams behind the camera in 1972.

Born in Raleigh, Clarence attended high school in both New York, at the Creston Academy in the Bronx, and in Raleigh, at what he refers to as the “legendary” John W. Ligon High School in Raleigh.  He then went on to attend St. Augustine’s College for a degree in Business and Accounting.  Clarence has also studied at both Shaw University and Fayetteville State University.

He has been a faithful employee at CBC and an advocate for the many non-profit organizations with which he volunteers.

“Dedicated, talented, humble – and perhaps the best ambassador we’ve ever had,” said WRAL-TV Vice President and General Manager Steve Hammel of Clarence.

Over the years Clarence has given hundreds of tours of the WRAL-TV studios to visiting groups from veterans groups such as Enable America, to professionals visiting from foreign countries and many more.  He has also coordinated a Job Shadow Day tour and program for area middle and high school students for many years.  He has always gone the extra mile to coordinate these groups, making everyone feel welcome.

Clarence Williams

WRAL-TV’s Clarence Williams gives a tour to visitors with Enable America.

“While the newsroom is Clarence’s day job, he really is CBC’s best community ambassador,” said WRAL-TV/Corp Community Relations Director Loretta Harper-Arnold. “With open arms, he welcomes youth, military and non-profit groups to our station for tours and treats them like royalty. Never does he even pause when asked to organize station presentations to outside organizations. His attitude is one of graciousness and reflects genuine excitement to share our station’s history and present-day accomplishments with those in our community. We are very fortunate to have Clarence as part of the CBC family.”

Clarence has been an integral part of what makes CBC special and epitomizes our commitment to the community.

“Everyone at CBC has a title and a job description,” said WRAL-TV Vice President & General Manager Steve Hammel. “For Clarence he has an aura. Clarence has one of the most ‘can do’ attitudes I’ve ever seen. He is involved in so much more than his position in the newsroom. He is passionate about the values and virtues of CBC. He exhibits that with arranging outside visits with significant organizations and then shows his passion when those visitors get here. I remember when I first arrived, Clarence took me to the Inter Faith Food Shuttle and with pride showed what they do and how we interact with them. With Clarence’s institutional knowledge of our Company, he is truly one of a kind.”

Clarence Williams

WRAL-TV’s Clarence Williams helps haul turkeys for one of CBC’s many annual distributions.

Clarence plans to continue his good work in the community after retirement.

“I hope to travel, work on the Inter-Faith Food Shuttle farm, etc.” he said.  “Help my father-in-law and work on trying to help our minority boys.”

He also plans to continue his volunteer work with a variety of non-profits and the N.C. History Museum.

And we’re sure he’ll be spending lots of quality time with his family after hanging up his work hat.  Clarence and his wife, Deborah, have four children and two grandsons.

As a side note, Clarence has been an invaluable to this Capcom Editor over the past 15 years that I have been in this role.  He has shared countless stories and photographs, celebrating the great work and lives of CBC employees.  To say good-bye is too painful, so I’ll leave to it the words of Roy Rogers and Dale Evans…  “Until we meet again.”

Some trails are happy ones
Others are blue

It’s the way you ride the trail that counts
Here’s a happy one for you

Happy trails to you
Until we meet again
Happy trails to you
Keep smiling until then

Who cares about the clouds when we’re together?
Just sing a song, and bring the sunny weather

Happy trails to you
Until we meet again

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