Ernest Council Williams lived every day of his life with amazing zest and enthusiasm. He was mainly known for his successful career as a commercial real estate broker, but he was also a man who had a thirst for knowledge, enjoyed many hobbies and was completely devoted to his family.
Ernie was born February 20, 1950, in New Orleans, LA to Ernest C Williams MD and Joyce Blackwell Williams Martin. When Ernie was a child, the family moved to Gastonia NC where he graduated from Frank L. Ashley High School then earned a BS in Mathematics from Wake Forest University in 1972. During his graduate work in architecture at Tulane University, Ernie realized that he did not want to sit behind a desk all day. At the encouragement of his in-laws, Ernie decided to pursue a career in commercial real estate, a career that utilized his God given talents of creativity, determination and boundless energy. Ernie’s time as a land broker spanned nearly 45 years beginning his career in 1978 at Adams/Cates, which later became Grubb & Ellis Atlanta, and then joining NAI Brannen Goddard. Ernie was a real estate icon. He was involved in over $500 million in real estate transactions, responsible for three of the five largest land sales in Atlanta history and one of the largest office leasing transactions. Notable deals include Ravinia, Capital City Plaza, Perimeter Center, Tower Place, Camp Creek Business and Marketplace, Piedmont Driving Club golf course, Town of Braselton, Home Depot headquarters and the Piedmont/Peachtree corner now known at Terminus. Ernie was a lifelong member of the Atlanta Commercial Board of Realtor which recognized his accomplishments with multiple awards including Top Commercial Broker in 1984; Top Five Award 1985-1988, 1994, 2003; #1 Land Producer 1985-1987, 2003; and the Silver Phoenix Award for 25+ years for being in the Million Dollar Club. Ernie was a frequent speaker for the Atlanta Commercial Board of Realtors as well as other professional organizations regarding the state of the commercial real estate industry and the economic environment affecting this industry. In addition, he was a guest lecturer at Georgia State University and Georgia Institute of Technology.
In addition to his focus on real estate, Ernie had a thirst for knowledge and learning new things. He always had stacks of articles to read and new hobbies to develop. He loved gardening, beekeeping, photography, astronomy and star gazing, rock collecting, fishing and accomplished one of his bucket list goals to be a farmer by buying a farm in 2015. In all of his hobbies Ernie saw the majesty of God’s creation: the beauty of the flowers, the life cycle of the bees, the splendor of a sunset sky, the stars in heaven, the fish in the pond. He gleaned personal satisfaction from his hobbies but the best part of his hobbies for Ernie was in sharing his excitement with friends, showing others the beauty of God’s creation, and maybe passing on his awe of God.
Ernie lived life to the fullest. He loved ice cream, dressing up for Halloween and Christmas, and hosting the annual New Year’s Eve party for his First Baptist friends. Yet his favorite role in life was being father to Stan and being “Big E” to his three grandkids. His love for Jesus and his family trumped all. His absence will be tremendous in the lives of his wife, Cathy, son and daughter-in-law, Stan and Peyten, and grandchildren, Bond, Cabyle, and Wayland. He is also survived by his mother Joyce Blackwell Williams Martin, sisters Cheryl Dolan and Samantha Williams all of Tryon, NC, brother Etson Cameron Williams of Dahlonega, Ga, brothers and sisters-in-law, nieces, nephews and cousins. He is preceded in death by his son Brad and his father Ernest C. Williams, Sr., MD.
A memorial service will be held on Monday, April 4, 2022, at 1PM at Church of the Apostles, 3585 Northside Pkwy, Atlanta GA 30327. There will be visitation in the church fellowship hall after the service.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests contributions to: Young Life SW Atlanta GA33 at https://swatlanta.younglife.org; Samaritan’s Purse at https://sampur.se/3NdeKIO or Wellstar Hospice at www.wellstar.org/givetohospice
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