Frost Illustrated Staff Report
FORT WAYNE—One of the city’s most talented native sons is set to be honored when the Central High School Alumni Association Inc. holds it 2013 annual meeting from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m., Oct. 12 at First Presbyterian Church Hall at the corner of Ewing and Wayne streets.
Renowned singer, pianist and all around entertainer, Beauford T. Williams, better known on stage as Eddie Blue, a member of the Central High School class of 1951 began his entertainment at Toppers in Fort Wayne in September 1955.That came after two years studying at Earlham College in Richmond, Ind., and serving a two-year stint n the U.S. Army and being honorably discharged with the rank of E-5 sergeant.
After discharge, Williams went to work for the Frank Welch Advertising Co. from 1955 to 1956 as his entertainment career began to take off. The Fort Wayne gig at Toppers led to a job for Eddie Balentine on the Don McNeal Breakfast Club in Chicago, which subsequently led to a recording contract with Decca Records and a national tour to promote his record, “This Is Only The Beginning.” Williams’ recording netted him a CashBox award.
The recording contract also led to a deal with Associated Booking Corporation of Chicago with Hal Munro representing him—a relationship that lasted for more than 30 years. Munro consistently booked Williams through the U.S., Belgium and France.
Williams also worked 30 years on the hotel circuit as a popular entertainer, being introduced at the Preview and Bismark Hotel in Chicago, later securing contracts with the Holiday Inn, Sheraton, and Galena Territory and Amigo hotels of Belgium.
Despite his of love for performing, Williams left the profession for a time.
“On Feb. 14, 1989, my beloved son Michael was killed in an accident,” said Williams in a biographical sketch. “He was to have graduated from Ohio State University the following week. I was devastated. This resulted in my becoming depressed and reclusive.
“After about a year,” continued Williams, “the owners of LA Cheers (a local restaurant in the Shiloh/Mansfield, Ohio area where Williams has lived for some time) convinced me to return to entertaining. I continued to play locally at Mohican Lodge and the Country Clubs of Mansfield and Ashland and the Sheraton of Billings, Mont. Today, I perform occasionally for special events and special friends.”
In addition to performing, Williams is also involved with a number of civic and cultural organizations, serving on a number of boards, including:
• The Mansfield Board of Health,1996 to present;
• AARP Board, 1996 to present;
• Human Relations Commission, 1993 to current;
• Mansfield Fine Arts Committee, 1998 to 2004.
• United Wayne as a yearly performer for their Fund Raisers Pillar Club;
• Baha’I Faith member, 1963 to current
• Diversity Committee at North Central and Ohio State University-Mansfield Campus, 2010 to present.
Williams and his wife of 60 years, Janet, are the parents of five children (four living) and have 10 grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.
This article originally appeared in the Oct. 2 print edition.