September 10, 1930 ~ October 1, 2022

Born in: Shulls Mills, NC
Resided in: Asheville, NC

Just 3 weeks to the day after family and friends gathered to celebrate his “92” birthday, Dean Williams was called home by his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ on October 1, 2022.

Ancil Dean Williams was born in a farmhouse on September 10, 1930 in Shulls Mills, NC to Ancil Chick and Jesse Ida Williams. Dean grew up in the shadow of Grandfather Mountain during the Great Depression and World War II, and in 1948 he graduated from Blowing Rock High School. He immediately entered the U.S. Navy during the Korean War where he spent the next four years traveling the world while also playing basketball and boxing for the Navy.

Honorably discharged from the Navy in 1952, Dean worked for a year before heeding his mothers wishes to attend Appalachian State Teacher’s College from 1953-1957, receiving a Business Education degree. Dean did his student teaching at Beaver Creek High School in Ashe County.

Before graduating college, Dean met and fell in love with Betty Jean Payne. They soon married on August 3, 1956, spending the next 66 years together. By 1960 they had added a son and a daughter to their family.

Dean was offered a teaching position at his alma mater Blowing Rock High School, where he taught and coached girls and boys basketball from 1957 until 1961 when he moved his family to Asheville, NC. Dean began teaching 8th grade at West Buncombe Elementary in August 1961. There he spent 9 years teaching, vice principal duties, and coaching boys and girls basketball. In 1970 Dean started a 23 year love affair with Clyde A. Erwin High School, its students and the community. Dean retired in December 1993, but continued to be involved in coaching girls track, called “Curly’s Girls” and cross country.

In 1970 Dean started the first girl’s track team at Erwin HS and in 1989 Erwin built a new track and dedicated it to Dean Williams. Additionally, Dean became the boys varsity basketball coach and an assistant in football. The boys basketball team won back to back Buncombe County Championships in 1974-1975 and 1975-1976. From 1975-1977 he coached both JV and Varsity boys teams. In 1975 Dean also began coaching cross country. He received 2 Coach of the Year Awards and was honored to be chosen as a coach for the Blue-White game. In 1978, after 21years, Dean resigned from coaching basketball. He also became the Athletic Director from 1981-89. During that tenure, he served as the president of the Mountain Athletic Conference and was selected as Athletic Director of the Year. In 1988 Dean started the Indoor Track Program at EHS. Dean said “Every track has a finish line and every basketball has a goal, but if we are going to be successful we must have a mission to finish the race and reach our goal”.

Dean was a devoted husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather. Here is a list of his blessings: wife of 66 years, Betty Jean Williams, of the home; daughter, Robyn Williams Tounzen (husband Joe) of Asheville; son, William (Bill) D. Willams (wife Susie) of Bakersfield, CA; grandchildren, Reisha Caldwell (Andrew) of Campobello, SC, Tara Tounzen Hearns of Hendersonville, NC, Miranda Wheeler (Michael) of Mt. Juliet, TN, Michael Dean Williams (Leslea) of Coeur d’Alene, ID, and Joseph Robert Williams (Natali) of Bakersfield, CA; great-grandchildren, Owen, Lainey and Gray Caldwell, Avry, Lena and Cole Hearns, Cohen, Stella and Eden Wheeler, Jaxton and Delilah Williams, Brooklyn and Hayden Roush, Selista Wilson, and Ellouise Williams; and a brother, Nick Williams (Teresa) of Banner Elk, NC.

Dean’s Legacy – Live for Jesus, Glory to God!

A Celebration of Life Service will be held at the Mt. Carmel Baptist Ministry Center (across from Mt. Carmel Church) on Saturday, October 22. The service will begin at 11:00 a.m., and the family will receive friends until 1:00 p.m., following the service.

In lieu of flowers, a donation can be given to Mt. Carmel Church, designated for “Disaster Relief”. Missions and serving God was Dean’s heart.


Celebration of Life: October 22, 2022 11:00 am - 1:00 pm

Mt. Carmel Baptist Church
200 Mt. Carmel Road
Asheville, NC 28806

Funeral Home Assisting The Family:

Groce Funeral Home - Patton Ave.
1401 Patton Ave.
Asheville, NC 28806


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  1. Dean was my typing teacher at Erwin High.
    One of my favorite teachers of all times and just a good person.
    My condolences to the family.

  2. I had the honor of taking care of this gentle sweet man the last 3 years of his life. Watching him with his precious wife Betty whom I also take care of was inspiring to say the least. This entire family is a blessing to each other and anyone they come in contact with. I’m honored to have been a part of his life. I’ll cherish him always .

  3. “Coach” Williams was an inspiring teacher and contributed mightily to Erwin HS and community. He was dedicated to his profession and inspired us all to be our best; he will be missed.

  4. Our coach at West Buncombe.
    He hauled us all home from games and practice and was a good human being.
    He will be fondly remembered.

  5. After 60 years since I first met “Mr.” Williams, “Coach” Williams and had him for a teacher and coach at West Buncombe, then worked along side him at Erwin High for several years and also after being in the ministry and pastoring for over 53 years, Mr. Williams is one of the most highly respected human beings I have ever known. He was just an all around great man. He loved what he did and he really cared for his students and athletes.

  6. Coach Williams will live on in my memories. He was my typing teacher, taught me how to drive. Just a classy man. Prayers of comfort to his family.

  7. so honored to have been associated with “coach” during my high school years at clyde a erwin high school(class of 1983). may God comfort you during this time. he was such a sweet soul and was loved by all who encountered him.

  8. We are so sorry to hear of his passing. Martin and I were his neighbors from Sept. 1986 until March 2004. He and Betty were great friends to us and we recognized their Christian spirit very well. Our sympathy goes to all the family.

  9. Robyn and family,
    I’m so sorry to hear about your daddy. Praying comfort for your family as you share your many sweet memories of your daddy.

  10. So sorry to hear of the passing of Coach Williams..He was my typing teacher(class of 1974) He and his wife Betty had an impact on my life…Prayers for the family during this time..

  11. So sorry to hear of the passing of Mr. Williams. I had the pleasure of having “Curly” as my typing teacher for 2 years and he also taught my business law class. He was such a sweet person. Prayers of peace and comfort for his family and all of us who knew him. 🙏 ❤️

  12. Love you always, Coach Curly. It was hard living right next door when you noticed I wasn’t running during the summer to get ready for CC! Thank you for being a great influence in my life.
    My love to Betty, Robin and Billy.

  13. So sorry for your loss, prays are flying high for you. “Coach Curly Dean Williams” was a great man and coach. He was my Track Coach for 4yrs at Erwin High School. 1972-1976. He will be missed.

  14. Betty, Robyn & Joe and Billy so sorry to hear the news of “Coach” Williams. He was one of a kind and a wonderful person and human. Not only was I blessed to have played basketball for him on the first championship team I also spent many summers playing softball with him on the Mt. Carmel teams. He and Mr. Owens were always there. He was always a wonderful, kind, giving person and we had many great conversations after my graduation in gyms watching his grandkids play. I will always cherish the Asheville Citizen Times article in 1975 when there was another Willams coaching in the county (Roy) and I believe the article read something like “The DEAN” of Buncombe County. Our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family in this time.

  15. My thoughts are with the family. Worked with Dean at Erwin High School for many years. Dean was a great man and everyone loved him.

  16. Coach Curly,

    You were a big part of my success on the track and in life. Thank you for pouring into all of us.

    I love you,

    Amber Burgess Cox
    Erwin High Class of 1992
    Triple Jump/High Jump/Shot Put/ Discus

  17. Really sorry to hear of Coach Williams passing. He touched so many lives thru the years. Thought and prayers for his family. ❤

  18. I love hearing all the sweet memories of my grandfather and the many lives he touched. Keep them coming! Thank you!

  19. I had coach Williams as a teacher in 8th grade. He also coached our basketball team. I will always keep good memories of coach Williams! Prayers for the family.

  20. Barbra and I extend our deepest sympathy to Betty, Robyn, Bill and family for your loss. Coach Williams was a special teacher and coach who had a tremendous impact on the lives of so many young people. He was a great role model to others and a tremendous mentor and friend to me and my family. Our prayers are for peace and comfort for you during this time. David & Barbra Ball

  21. What a wonderful tribute to
    Coach Williams. He touched all of our young lives, always had a smile and he is a sweet part of my school memories.

  22. Coach was such a special man in so many of our life’s, teaching and coaching us and living a Christian life before us.i remember so many times him bowing his head and praying for us before we went out on the prayer is that
    God richly bless each one of you .mike williams(class of 73).

  23. Curly Dean was my typing teacher at Erwin. He was such a good man. He coached my husband, Bob, for 4 years in Track & Cross Country. He was a good & loved coach! Prayers for a great man! Praying for your sweet family!

  24. Praying for Robin and Billy Williams and the entire family during this most difficult time, may God continue to bless you all always.

  25. Loved Mr. Williams, and I’m so sorry for your loss. One of my favorite teachers ever. I’d go to cafeteria and get coffee for him at the beginning of class and sneak myself a cup as well. He would smile when I’d hand him his. So sweet and so kind, the world needs more teachers like that!

  26. Mr Williams was one of my favorite teachers. I had him for typing and business law. He made his classes interesting. I always felt like he was a Christian man by the way he kept the students in line. We will meet him again.
    Praying for the family
    Joan Hollar Gosnell 1973 class

  27. I have always looked up to Coach Williams with respect and admiration. My condolences to the family, I will keep you in my prayers.

  28. Back in the fall of 1969 I was a young incoming freshman at Erwin who wanted to play football. Coach Williams loaded myself and a few others in his station wagon and took us to Dr. Kerr’s office for our physicals. That was 53 years ago and I’m still a Warrior fan. Coach, may God grant you a special place in Heaven for the lives you touched.

  29. Sorry to hear about the passing of Coach Williams. He was a great coach and dear friend to the Roy and Bea Smith family. We are praying for your family.

  30. Coach is one of the best human beings we have ever met! He touched so many lives in such a positive way. He certainly touched our lives. We love Coach and will always have him in our heart. So sorry Betty, Robyn, Bill and family, our prayers are with you.

  31. Robyn, Bill and your families
    I am so very sorry for your loss. I am not able to attend the memorial service due to precious plans but please know that you and your entire family are in my thoughts and prayers.
    Your dad was a one-of-a-kind man. His love for the Lord showed through by his integrity, humbleness and the way he treated others. He truly cared about all of his students and athletes. Being on the girls track team for 4 years at Erwin was some of my fondest memories of high school and that was because of your dad. He taught us about teamwork, respect and saw potential in each of us (especially me) that we did not see in ourselves. I am forever thankful for him and for showing us all how a true Christian should live their life every day !
    Carla Rice West
    Erwin – Class of 1979


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