Part of a series on nine local athletes being inducted into the African American Legacy Project’s Sports Legends Hall of Fame.
The athletic accomplishments on Dr. John McKay Williams’ resume are impressive enough: He was a Super Bowl champion, a First Team All-Big Ten tackle, and a four-sport standout athlete at Toledo’s since-closed Libbey High School.
But it’s all the other things on his biography that made him a lock for the African American Legacy Project’s Sports Legends of Northwest Ohio Hall of Fame. He spent 34 years running a dental practice in Minnesota — where he went to college — and often offered service to those who couldn’t afford it. He was also one of 100 individuals trained in forensic dentistry after the 9/11 attacks, and helped identify victims after the tragedy.
Meanwhile, he also ran a prison ministry for more than 20 years and served with a variety of nonprofit organizations that helped eliminate economic and health disparities in Minneapolis. And, of course, he gave back to Toledo, his hometown.
“He was a success, and on top of that, he was a great guy,” said Robert Smith, the founder of the African American Legacy Project. “He’s the kind of person you would want to emulate. All the work he did on the field, all the work he did off the field... you can’t ask too much more of anybody.”
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