Last week for print, Thomasi McDonald wrote a tribute to beloved Durham legal mind, “barfather,” and man about town Marlon Williams after Williams died suddenly last month at one of his favorite local haunts, the Accordion Club on Geer Street. Readers had a lot of conflicting thoughts about the piece, but the love for Marlon is consistent.
“Literally the worst article I’ve read in remembrance of someone,” wrote reader Joe Sabo on Facebook. “I hope no one else’s life is remembered in this way this was written. Why the hell would you describe how they died and also include ‘they drank all day.’ I knew Marlon personally and this [is] the most fucking disgusting en memoriam I’ve ever read. Please redo this piece.”
And we received this email from reader Ben Fletcher: “This article is disgusting and the Indy should be ashamed of itself.”
Other readers praised the story, or parts of it, and shared their own fond memories of Marlon.
“If in the end I get a little remembrance like this it will have all been worth it,” wrote Twitter commenter @joshabanks. “Be a decent person, bring some joy into other people’s lives and do the shit you love. Rest In Power Marlon.”
“Like (I suspect) a lot of long-time Durhamites, I didn’t *really* know Marlon, but I definitely recognized him and we exchanged some passing pleasantries over the years,” wrote Twitter commenter @bullcitybrian. “Also, we were neighbors for a bit. Feels a lot less Durham knowing he’s gone. Anyway, this is a beautiful tribute …”
“R.i.p bro love you,” wrote Nishun Stone.
“RIP marlon! Those downtown bars won’t be the same without you popping in and out,” wrote Travis T Murf.
“Marlon was one of my very favorite customers of my bartending days,” wrote Grace Lempp. “I was a young bartender new to Durham, entering the Main Street scene with no idea what I was getting into—and he became an immediate friend and one of my regulars. Marlon was kind, hilarious, loyal, thoughtful, and full of stories. He had a fantastic laugh …. Thankful for his presence in the world, which has me missing Durham a lot.”
“He was one of my favorite people,” wrote Khuwailah-Cookie Beyah. “I met him because he was a customer at the JJ and he became a dear friend. My heart is broken, but at least he passed with people who cared around him.”
“So sad to see that he passed away!” wrote Facebook commenter Carol Lindsley. “He was always so kind and helpful when I started working as a paralegal in Durham in 2000. Rest in Peace sweet Marlon.”
“I’m so lucky to have watched our ‘stories’ with Marlon at the Blue Horn Lounge in Chapel Hill when I first moved here four years ago!” wrote Facebook commenter Allie Parks. “Marlon was a one hell of a kind and amazing man …”
“left out the pinhook, where he was also a longtime regular,” wrote Facebook commenter Melvin Peña. “i used to see him there all the time going back to the days of the laser fish mural and the green wall. we’d talk about the vicissitudes of notre dame football and our experiences in south bend.”
“I remember the Sunday chats at the Joyce. Great person,” wrote commenter reggie allen.
“Awesome guy. He’ll be missed,” wrote commenter Lewis A. Dancy.
McDonald’s remembrance of Marlon was shared widely on social media, with so many readers surprised and saddened to learn of his death but also taking the time to celebrate his life.
Marlon will be missed, indeed. Rest in peace.
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