Gayland M. Williams, 2021

N. SPRINGFIELD, Vt. – Gayland Merton Williams of North Springfield passed away at Springfield Hospital May 9, 2021, surrounded by family members. He was 84.

Mr. Williams was born in Bellows Falls, the son of the late Alberta and Wendell Williams of Springfield. Mr. Williams had been a mechanical engineer, working more than 20 years for Bryant Grinder Corp., continuing a family legacy of working for Bryant that included his grandfather, his father, and a brother.

Mr. Williams was an inventor and skilled craftsman, converting his former maple-sugaring house into a personal residence, an accomplishment he did almost entirely on his own over several years and in ill health before finally moving in two years ago.

Mr. Williams was an avid fisherman and boater, earning Merchant Marine Officer credentials in 2007. An owner of a fishing boat, he spent many days on Lake Champlain and Lake Sunapee.

Mr. Williams was a graduate of Springfield High School. At Springfield, he played fullback for varsity football teams and was a shotput, discus, and javelin thrower in track and field. He qualified for New England Championships in the shotput his senior year.

Mr. Williams attended Embrey Riddle Aeronautical Institute in Miami and flight soloed Oct. 17, 1959. He would later return to Springfield and Bryant. He was also a teacher and had various businesses, including his maple-sugaring operation for which he constructed what was then a modern sugarhouse on the family’s Maple Street property. He was among the first to use flexible tubing to replace buckets as a principal way of gathering sap, and that led to inventing clamp devices to attach tubing from trees to larger plastic piping, creating an efficient artery system of collection.

Mr. Williams’ inventiveness resulted in his development of reverse osmosis equipment to remove water from maple sap, thereby significantly cutting down “boiling time” and saving oil burner fuel. He sold some of these machines to other sugar-makers.

Among Mr. Williams’ favorite memories were his times with his family at his parents’ camp on Lake Sunapee. It was there that he and family members built a mahogany speedboat and where Mr. Williams, in his teens, worked as a mechanic at a boatyard.

Mr. Williams was married first to the late Anne Stewart. The couple divorced, and Mr. Williams, in 2004, married Priscilla Lynch, who died in 2018.

Mr. Williams is predeceased by his brother Gene Williams, formerly of Springfield, and is survived by Gene’s wife, Mary; by a brother, Glen Williams, of Springfield; a daughter, Darsanne W. Williams, of North Springfield; a son, Terrence. L. Williams and his wife, Julie, of Amherst, N.H.; and a son, Andrew G. Williams and his wife, Susan Lawrence, of Unity, N.H. Mr. Williams is also survived by a stepson, Terry Lynch, of Springfield, and his wife Kate.

Other survivors include three grandchildren, Brittany Leavitt of Houston, Texas; Heather Marchegiani and her husband, Steven, of South Windsor, Conn.; and Christopher Williams and his wife, Sarah, of Portland, Maine. He is also survived by four step-grandchildren, five great-grandchildren, two nieces, and a nephew.

The family plans a future memorial service. The Davis Memorial Chapel in Springfield is in charge of arrangements.

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