By Norm Sagon
We in the industry were saddened to hear of the passing of Mike Williams. Mike passed at his hometown of Sherwood, WI this past September at the age of 80 after a long battle with arterial disease. Mike was one of the founders of harness producer Unlimited Services in Oconto, WI in 1982. He retired as VP Sales / Marketing in 2007.
Mike was perhaps best known in the industry as one of the founders of the Wire Harness Manufacturers Association (WHMA) and was assisted by industry friend Fred Knaack (who separately founded Wiring Harness News) in establishing the WHMA board at their first meeting in Novi, MI in 1993. Mike served diligently as its first elected Chairman until 1996.
Marilyn Magowan Editor for Wiring Harness news during those years remembered Mike fondly. “Mike always had a smile on his face. He was always willing to roll up his sleeves to promote WHMA and help others in the industry and in his private life.”
One of Mikes favorite contributions to WHMA was the creation of an annual award for those who went the extra mile volunteering for the association. He called it the “Bud & Gus” award after two industry pioneers, Bud Melugin of Lamcor, and Fred’s dad Gus Knaack. Although it was not his intention, Mike’s peers on the board awarded him as the first recipient. Mike’s lovely wife Sherry of almost 60 years supported him at many WHMA events and put together some great programs for spouses who attended the Annual Conference.
Post retirement, Mike continued his tradition of volunteering. He and Sherry spent years as volunteers for NAMI Fox-Valley and NAMI WI. They facilitated a NAMI National course called Family-to-Family. In addition, they trained others to facilitate the class. NAMI WI recognized Mike and Sherry with the Iris Award for their Outstanding Contributions in 2021.
We will all miss Mike for his humor and kindness. He was whole heartily a person of passion in our industry and contributed as a senior mentor to so many new WHMA members along the way. Mike was a builder of the relationships between harness manufactures and suppliers that are a huge part of what WHMA is today.