John H. Williams

Class of
John H. Williams

John H. Williams

“My friend, John Williams…a remarkable builder, Renaissance man, citizen.”
Pete Peterson


Born in Havana, Cuba, John H. Williams graduated from Yale University (1940) and worked as an engineer in his uncles’ construction business, the Williams Brothers Company. He was commissioned in the Navy Civil Engineering Corps in 1942 and later rejoined Williams Brothers to work on projects in the U.S., South America, Mexico, and the Middle East. John joined his brother and a cousin in forming the successor company in 1950, where he served as president and chief executive officer of the group. The business was renamed The Williams Companies in 1971 and primarily engaged in the fields of fertilizer, energy, and metals. Williams was named Downtown Tulsa Unlimited’s Man of the Year in 1971, Tulsa Marketing Man of the Year in 1973, and received the Oklahoma Governor’s Arts Award in 1977.

Fun fact

John Williams helped revive downtown Tulsa by building the magnificent Williams Center in the area in 1977. He also pledged to raise half the cost for the $18 million construction of Tulsa’s Performing Arts Center.

Oklahoma connections

Williams came to Tulsa, Oklahoma, in 1940.








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