FLINT (WJRT) (04/02/19) - Former Flint Mayor Don Williamson died early Tuesday of complications from a respiratory illness.
He was 85 years old.
Williamson was a longtime Flint businessman and entrepreneur. He served as mayor from 2003 to 2009 after being elected in 2002 and re-elected in 2007.
Williamson's close friend, Genesee County Prosecutor David Leyton, shared the news on behalf of Williamson's family. Leyton said he and Williamson just shared lunch last week and had a great conversation.
"I think he really wanted to help people," Leyton said. "Don had a tough side to him as everybody would know. But he had a really big heart. He was a compassionate person. He helped a lot people that probably the public is unaware of."
He said the Williamsons were generous givers behind the scenes.
"When you're as well off as Don was, you get a lot of people coming to you for charitable contributions and for different kinds of help, and he and Patsy Lou over the years helped a lot of people and no one ever knew about it," Leyton said.
Flint Mayor Karen Weaver issued a statement calling for flags at City Hall to fly at half staff in Williamson's honor.
“He was a hardworking public servant who served to the best of his ability and gave so much of his time and heart to this community," he said.
During his career, Williamson owned Rugged Bed Liner, the Colonels International and Brainerd International Raceway in Minnesota. He also served as a consultant to his wife's business, Patsy Lou Automotive Group.
Williamson is survived by his wife, Patsy Lou, and four children.