Grier Williams

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Grier Williams
Born June 18, 1931
Died April 19, 2004
Occupation Music director
Religion Presbyterian
Spouse Louise Harvin Williams
Parents Jonathan Beatty Williams Mary Agnes Williams
Children Stephen Harvin Williams
Grier Moffatt Williams, Jr.

Grier Moffatt Williams, Sr. (1931-2004) was a music director and educator best known for his 17-year tenure with the Pensacola Symphony Orchestra. He also served as choir director of First Presbyterian Church for 20 years.

Born on June 18, 1931 in Jacksonville, Duval, Florida, Williams attended Davidson College, where he met his wife, Louise Harvin. A lifelong musician, his instrument of choice was the trumpet.

Williams founded the Music Department of the nascent University of West Florida in 1967 and helped it earn national accreditation.

In 1979, he was asked to serve as interim music director and conductor of the Pensacola Symphony Orchestra. Under his leadership, the PSO broadened its repertoire, increased ticket sales, and moved its performance venue from the Pensacola High School auditorium to the newly-renovated Saenger Theatre in 1982.

In 1990, Williams invited schoolteacher Susan Pote to assemble a group of children to accompany the orchestra for choral pieces. The group was immensely successful and grew into the standalone Pensacola Children's Chorus.

Williams retired from the PSO in 1996. He was succeeded by Peter Rubardt, who praised Williams for setting the orchestra "on a path to professionalism."

He passed away on April 19, 2004 while recovering from a heart attack.


  • "Musical guiding light Grier Williams dies." Pensacola News Journal, April 20, 2004.
  • "Loved ones celebrate life of renowned musician." Pensacola News Journal, April 23, 2004.