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Farewell, elder statesman

Oceanside politico Sam Williamson departs for the great beyond

Sam Williamson, 80, passed away on January 8.

Back in the early 1980s, when Oceanside’s downtown was a crumbling, rough-and-tumble military town, the former Marine and longtime resident stepped up to help start the city’s turnaround into a thriving beach-side city.

Sam Williamson

First elected to the city council in 1984, Williamson served eight years, including two as deputy mayor, shepherding in the current civic center and library complex, which was built on three city blocks of once rag-tag businesses. Williamson also was onboard when the pier needed to be rebuilt after crashing into the sea from a heavy El Niño storm.

For Williamson, it all started in the '60s with his political activism in the Jaycee’s (Jr. Chamber of Commerce). Williamson was heavily involved in getting the Oceanside Harbor built and convincing Caltrans to pick another alignment of proposed Highway 76, to avoid wiping out the businesses on Mission Avenue.

Choosing to run for city council, “He finally felt he could do more as a policy-maker,” said current councilman Jack Feller, who was mentored by Williamson.

“He told it like it was. He held his ground. He’d fight for a cause whether it was perceived as being right or wrong,” said Feller. Councilman Williamson was best described as being pro-business, but understanding the charm of Oceanside’s small-town feel.

In 2000, Williamson, who still had a lot of longtime residents' support, thought he would try a run at city council again. But he found his protégé, Feller, would be running against him; instead of campaigning against Feller, Williamson offered support to the fresh candidate.

Not receiving a third term on the council, Williamson formerly retired from politics as an elder statesman in the city.

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Sam Williamson, 80, passed away on January 8.

Back in the early 1980s, when Oceanside’s downtown was a crumbling, rough-and-tumble military town, the former Marine and longtime resident stepped up to help start the city’s turnaround into a thriving beach-side city.

Sam Williamson

First elected to the city council in 1984, Williamson served eight years, including two as deputy mayor, shepherding in the current civic center and library complex, which was built on three city blocks of once rag-tag businesses. Williamson also was onboard when the pier needed to be rebuilt after crashing into the sea from a heavy El Niño storm.

For Williamson, it all started in the '60s with his political activism in the Jaycee’s (Jr. Chamber of Commerce). Williamson was heavily involved in getting the Oceanside Harbor built and convincing Caltrans to pick another alignment of proposed Highway 76, to avoid wiping out the businesses on Mission Avenue.

Choosing to run for city council, “He finally felt he could do more as a policy-maker,” said current councilman Jack Feller, who was mentored by Williamson.

“He told it like it was. He held his ground. He’d fight for a cause whether it was perceived as being right or wrong,” said Feller. Councilman Williamson was best described as being pro-business, but understanding the charm of Oceanside’s small-town feel.

In 2000, Williamson, who still had a lot of longtime residents' support, thought he would try a run at city council again. But he found his protégé, Feller, would be running against him; instead of campaigning against Feller, Williamson offered support to the fresh candidate.

Not receiving a third term on the council, Williamson formerly retired from politics as an elder statesman in the city.

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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