Family, friends and law enforcement gather to mourn fallen Cairo deputy

Officer Clarence "CJ" Williams died on duty on January 28.
Published: Feb. 4, 2023 at 6:55 PM EST|Updated: Feb. 6, 2023 at 6:02 PM EST
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CAIRO, Ga. (WALB) - On Saturday, law enforcement agencies and the city of Cairo are honoring the life of a patrol officer who died on duty.

Clarence “CJ” Williams died after having a medical episode while on a foot pursuit last Saturday evening. He was just 23 years old.

WALB News 10′s Anthony Bordanaro was there as Officer Williams was laid to rest and shows us how his life will be remembered. Friends, family and deputies shared what type of a man he was. Some ongoing themes at the funeral were his infectious smile and his passion to serve the people of Cairo. The family made sure the funeral was not just about remembering Williams, but also a celebration of his life.

“This world is a much better place because CJ Williams was here. CJ always had your back. CJ’s smile. He just shined. He lit up the whole world,” Rhonda Taylor said.

Taylor was his first boss at Ellianos Coffee in Thomasville. She said he was always early to work and was constantly looking to see how he could help out, even on his days off.

“Whatever he started he finished. So to the family, finish the race. CJ we’re gonna miss you. We’ve got it from here,” Kevin Nixon, a Sheriff’s Deputy of Grady County, said.

Nixon talked about how when deer hunting, Williams would always try to “one up” them by getting one more than they did.

“CJ impacted everybody’s life. He was always there when I needed him. It tears me apart that he’s gone, but you always will be in our hearts,” Ronnie Allen Jr. said.

Allen Jr. was best friends with Williams growing up. He shared how Williams’ mother was also a mother to him.

“Even at his young age, CJ knew what was important. That was his family and his community. The chief buys bears. Little stuffed bears. He would give kids, children teddy bears. There’s nothing special about that bear until CJ handed it to you,” Lt. Wayne Redden said.

Redden added that Williams was one of three that have stood out during his long career. The other two being his son and Brandon Griffin.

“He raised the bar. He wanted to make it to when he saw them they would walk to tour them and believe what they said about their children,” Apostle Annette Higdon said. “I pray to God that we continue to see the love that was exhibited by our community in the days to come.”

Higdon eulogized Williams. She shared a message of having this loving energy beyond this week. She also spread the Lord’s message of healing and love.

Governor Brian Kemp and First Lady Marty Kemp showed their respects and attended the funeral. Law enforcement agencies from well beyond Grady County were also there. There was a procession with vehicles from Fitzgerland, Berrien County, Gwinnett County, and much more.

“The officer gave his life to the community. I think that’s the least we can do. Coming support this officer, the city, and this family,” Alice Angulo said.

Angulo came with family and friends from Tallahassee with “Back the blue” gear. She says this isn’t the first time they’ve gone to a procession for a fallen officer.

Mayor Booker Gainor has now proclaimed Jan. 28 Master Patrol Officer Clarence “CJ” Williams Day in the city of Cairo.