William “Papa” Gold passed away peacefully at home on Sunday, August 1st.
William, known to his family simply as “Papa'', and to his friends as “Bill”, lived up to his name. He truly had a heart of Gold and was widely loved and will be deeply missed.
William was born in Newark, New Jersey on August 19, 1931 to Rena and Bill Gold. Rena later married Mr. Womack. From their union came six sons and one daughter. Bill Womack, Judy Womack, James Womack, Robert Womack, Ronnie Womack, Joe Womack, Anthony Womack, and a stepbrother John Womack and stepsister Joni Womack. In the early 50s William married Sonia Lewis and produced two sons Jocko Gold and Allan Gold.
As a young man William’s passion for music led him to sing in the choir at Tacoma’s Bethlehem Church. It’s there where he met Stokey Wilford, Carl Charles and Malcolm Parks. The four students decided to form a singing group, The Barons, while they attended Lincoln and Stadium high schools. The Barons were the Pacific Northwest's first r&b / doo wop vocal group. Dubbed the “forgotten pioneers” of Tacoma’s music scene, The Barons, with William serving as lead singer and songwriter, eventually moved to LA where they released several songs for Imperial Records, including “Crying for you Baby”, “Eternally Yours” and “I know I was wrong”.
After a brief but spectacular run at music, William left the group and joined the merchant Marines, where he served as a mechanic and a chef. After leaving the Marines William worked for the Boeing company for 4 ½ years, and then for Consolidation Freightways.
In 1964 William met and married Olympia Johnson and took on the responsibility of raising her 11 children. Jacquelyn Patricia Houston, Donald Houston, Diane Marie Houston, Mansfield Houston, Debra Jean Carter, Peggy Ann Houston, Gregory Johnson, Jeffrey Johnson, Cynthia X Evans, Annette Johnson and David Johnson. William and Olympia had a successful janitorial business that was in service for 25 years. William finished his career working for The University of Washington.
After the passing of Olympia, William met and married Willie Jean Nichols Gold. And accumulated 8 more children. Pamala Nichols, Joseph Nichols, William Nichols, Christopher Nichols, Linda Nichols, Malcolm Nichols, Marcello Edwards Nichols, Larry Nichols. As you can see William loved children not just his own but everyone's, may peace and blessings follow him internally.
William leaves behind 1 sister, 5 Brothers, 17 children and a host of Grandchildren and Great- Grandchildren. He is preceded in death by his Mother Rena Womack. His Wife Olympia Johnson. His Wife Jean Gold. His Daughters Diane Wilson and Jacquelyn Houston. His Sons Lionell “Rex” Hobson, Jocko Gold and Gregory Johnson. Granddaughters Kenya Houston and Martina Phelps. Grandsons Thomas Riggens and William Wilson. Great Granddaughter Jacquelyn Gholson-McWilliams.