Clarence Williams Jr. 

Life remembered

Life remembered

Enthusiasm for life lived to its fullest in work, public service, church and family. Clarence Williams Jr. radiated joy. No task was either too great to tackle nor too small to consider undertaking.
Clarence "C-Daddy" Williams working in his restaurant.

Clarence, owner and operator of C-Daddy’s BBQ & Ice Cream, died Oct. 26, 2005, at age 43. On Oct. 31, an Indianapolis Police Department spokesperson identified a man named Edrick Williams, no relation to Clarence Williams, as having confessed to the murder. A 23-year fugitive from Alabama, Edrick Williams allegedly entered C-Daddy’s about 6:30 p.m., fired shots and sped away on a bicycle.

The Haughville community is credited with helping to identify Edrick Williams as the suspect. The community has openly articulated the depth and breadth of the neighborhood’s loss with the death of Clarence. He was a daily activist for building a joy-filled neighborhood, instilling pride in heritage, garnering economic mobility on the roiling Westside of Indianapolis. He cared about the small things along with the big picture. He re-planted flowers time after time in a tiny garden outside his store after they’d be ripped out. He became a leader in community development projects, learning to write grants and work with elected officials.

Clarence lived by a code of planting — good feelings, good acts, good thoughts and good food. Quality. And he didn’t stint on the quantity. He laughed heartily, loved expansively. He heaped C-Daddy’s carry-out containers full. He dreamed of expanding into a sit-down establishment. The décor would be the accumulated history of the Westside.

Clarence dreamed of opportunities for the youth to hear the stories of the elders so they would know upon whose shoulders they stand, whose sweat-labor built the dwellings, whose faith requires acknowledgement. He was in the midst of formalizing the Y.E.S. Corps — Youth Empowering Success.

Clarence pushed for an inclusive program of oral history collecting. “We need to know our full story about Hawthorne, Haughville and Stringtown. There’s a lot of history here of people with a determination to succeed.” He offered C-Daddy’s as a place to gather those stories. He loved relating his own family stories of migration to and settlement in Indianapolis.

Clarence was quick to offer aid to the newest migrants, those who came in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

In a NUVO profile on March 9, 2005, Clarence said his goal was always to be a positive example, “to show you can succeed if you do good work. I want to make a living museum here, to show the history we are part of, the history we’re making.”

What one heard about Clarence Williams Jr. during his lifetime is what is being spoken now. “He’s a fine man, from a fine family.”

Funeral Arrangements

Wake: Thursday, 10 a.m.-noon

Service: Thursday, noon Mt. Olive Missionary Baptist Church, 1003 W. 16th St. 317-634-9178

Contributions to family fund: Carla Williams

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Rita Kohn

Rita Kohn

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Rita Kohn has been covering craft beer and the arts for NUVO for two decades. She’s the author of True Brew: A Guide to Craft Beer in Indiana.

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