(Editor’s Note: The following is a series on the men and women who have spent their summers protecting all those who came to Ocean City for fun and safe vacation.)
OCEAN CITY — Thule, Greenland was never much of a beach town. So, after four years there while serving in the Army, Warren Williams was ready to get back to his native Ocean City.
It was 1963 and Williams joined up with the beach patrol without delay. Little did he know that this was the organization that he would be a part of for the next 40 years.
While guarding that first summer, Warren met a tall, voluptuous, blonde waitress from Phillips Beach Plaza named Lana. They fell in love, married the following March, and by the next summer had a son, who they named Sean. Family usually meant the end of a beach patrol career, but Williams was not ready to give up on summers at the ocean.
He continued guarding the following summers while finishing his engineering degree at the University of Maryland. After graduating in 1969, he got a dream job with N.A.S.A., but still refused to give up the beach patrol. He saved up his leave and worked every weekend so that he could stay on the patrol. He enjoyed N.A.S.A., but he loved the beach.
His son, Sean, remembers, “it was always an unspoken understanding between my father and me that I would one day be a part of the OCBP. Whether it was the custom-made, miniature torpedo buoy he gave me on my fifth birthday or teaching me semaphore when I was old enough to read.”
It was a real bonding for the two.
“Father-son conversations that were rare and awkward during my teenaged years suddenly became more frequent and usually revolved around lifeguarding,” Sean Williams recalled.
Sean Williams would eventually go on to other pursuits, but his father stayed.
“His last weekend on duty was Memorial Day of 2003; he died suddenly two days later,” Sean Williams recalled.
Williams has been missed by many ever since.