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Victor Byron Williams

July 01, 1928 - February 26, 2023


Obituary For Victor Byron Williams

Of Whitehall passed away peacefully on Sunday, February 26, 2023 at the age of 94, after a two-year battle with Alzheimer’s disease.

He was preceded in death by his wife Barbara Jeanne (Edwards), parents Charlotte Loretta (McHale) and Victor Raymond Williams, and his sister Gwendolyn Williams Black. ‘By’ as he was called throughout his life, was truly a pioneer in the television business in Pittsburgh. He was hired by Channel 11 (then WIIC, now WPXI) as one of its original employees before the station went on the air in 1957. He was a senior director from 1957-60, before embarking on a nine-year run as on-air talent for Channel 11. While on the air, By hosted local favorite shows that included the Mickey Mouse Club, Luncheon at the Ones, Battle of the Wits, and the Big Show. He also spent several years on the news as a news anchor and as Channel 11’s weatherman. Mr. Williams moved back into management in 1969, and became Channel 11’s news director. He was news director from 1969-74, and program manager from 1974-78. By left Channel 11 from 1978-82, before returning to become WPXI’s station manager in 1982. He returned to his favorite role as news director in 1984. He spent his last full-time working years as cable operations director, managing how WPXI would interact with the emerging cable channel industry. He continued this role as a consultant in the 1990’s. During his time as news director, Channel 11 news won many prestigious awards including the Joe Snyder Award, the National Headliners Award, and Golden Quill Awards. By was awarded the Media Association of Pittsburgh’s Outstanding Achievement in Television Award in 1992. By Williams graduated from Carrick High School in 1946, where he starred in swimming and track. He served two stints in the Marines, the first an enlistment after high school graduation, and the second as an officer via Officer Candidate School at Quantico Marine Corps Base. He was promoted to Captain during the Korean War. He attended West Virginia University utilizing the GI Bill, and graduated from WVU with a BA in journalism in 1954. By’s journalism career started as a college student at WAJR radio in Morgantown where he delivered both the morning and evening news. After graduation, By went to work at WTRF-TV in Wheeling, where he was promoted to program director prior to coming to Pittsburgh to work for WIIC/WPXI. By’s community and professional contributions in the Pittsburgh area have been extensive. He is past President of the Board of Directors of the Allegheny County Easterseals, of the Pittsburgh Professional Chapter of Sigma Delta Chi, and of the WVU Western Pennsylvania Alumni Association. He has also served on numerous media boards and committee positions to include as Chairman of the Pittsburgh Press Club and as President of the Pittsburgh Chapter of AFTRA. In his retirement, By spent much of his time with his family and grandchildren, including being a frequent driver to youth sports venues throughout western Pennsylvania. This was a major contribution to his children achieving both their family and professional goals. Victor Byron Williams is survived by his three children Todd (Trudy), Wendy, and Lance (Kimberly), and his five grandchildren Shelby, Jeanne, Victor, Carolyn, and Roger. He is also survived by two nephews, Kevin and Barry Black. There will be no visitation. A memorial service in honor of By’s life will be held at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church, 4048 Brownsville Road, Pittsburgh, PA 15227 at 10:00 am on Saturday April 1, 2023. A fellowship lunch reception will follow the service at South Hills Country Club, 4305 Brownsville Road, Pittsburgh, PA 15236. Arrangements handled by the John F. Slater Funeral Home, Inc., 412-881-4100, 4201 Brownsville Road, Brentwood 15227. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorial contributions may be made to Easterseals Western and Central Pennsylvania (www.easterseals.com/wcpenna), Six Parkway Center, Suite 150, 875 Greentree Road, Pittsburgh, PA 15220; or to Sheldon Calvary Camp (www.calvarycamp.org), 4411 Lake Road, Conneaut, OH 44030.

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  • 03/08/2023

    My Mother called me, By Williams passed away. Uncle By to my brothers & sisters. He was a lifelong friend to my father, Jerry McCormick. Overbrook neighbors, high school classmates at Carrick, summer lifeguards for the City of Pittsburgh. After high school, they hitchhiked to California to pick up a car By's father had for him. Hitchhiked, a different time and place in America! They both went to the recruiting station together after graduation. My father joined the Army, By the Marines. Both took advantage of the GI Bill. What a gift from Uncle Sam! My father passed years ago, but my siblings recall him visiting him at the end. Bedside, after everyone else had left. How many of us can say we've had lifelong friends? I read the other tributes, loyalty, trust, friendship. All attributes we should all try to attain. Someone already referenced the voice. It wasn't just the voice, it was the tone and cadence that created "the VOICE". A long life, well lived! To his family, you were blessed! Thanks for letting me share my thoughts. R. McCormick

  • 03/07/2023

    In the late 1960's, WIIC at the time, By Williams was instrumental in having my dad Anthony appear with him on a few 12:00 noon shows. By was not only amazed, but very supportive of my father's ability to analyze handwriting. Thank you By for these lasting memories. Sincere condolences to By's family. RIP By.

  • 03/06/2023

    Mr. Williams was a part of my childhood memories. I remember how he'd track Santa on the weather map (was it sponsored by Boron?). What a great element of Pittsburgh royalty.

  • 03/03/2023

    By was a major force in my wife Pam's career at WPXI. He noticed her talents and moved her into an awesome career path that eventually led to her becoming the business manager for the newsroom. Pam loved and respected By and never forgot his support and friendship. Our family is forever grateful for everything he did for my wife, and children. He will be missed.

  • 03/02/2023

    By was an incredible mentor to me in the early days of my career. I first met him on an interview at WIIC (soon to be WPXI) when I was first out of graduate school, but was eventually hired by him a few years later when he was General Manager at TPC (Television Production Center) in the late 1970's. Despite the fact that television production was, at that time, notoriously male-centric, By hired me and another woman to manage production and studio facilities at TPC. I have no doubt that many of the male directors at TPC were absolutely shell-shocked at this decision. But clearly, By was singlehandedly doing his bit to "break the glass ceiling" for 2 women who subsequently had life-long careers in television production. Later, he recommended me for creative management positions at both WPXI and KDKA-TV. Over the years he was always there anytime I called, to offer advice, tell a funny story or two about his time in Pittsburgh broadcasting and be a friend as well as a mentor. He was tough negotiator, a total straight shooter and a true gentleman. And, that voice! He truly had done it all in TV and was there at the beginning when stations expected you to be a "jack of all trades." I teased him relentlessly about wearing those Mouseketeer ears "back in the day" but he just smiled and said: "We did what the station needed." There are a few people who have a profound impact on your career (and life) and I am sure that, like me, many people in this market (and other broadcast markets) have By Williams to thank for helping them achieve their career goals along the way. It's a wonderful legacy to have and he will be missed by many. Barbara Ley

  • 03/02/2023

    I was working in Cincinnati, Ohio. My phone rang after the 11 pm news one night. It was By Williams, News Director of WPXI, Pittsburgh. We had mutual connections and he already knew a lot about me. By needed a news producer. "Tom, why don't you come home next week, so we can talk. Then you can let me know if you want to work here." Come home? If you want to work here? He knew exactly what to say. Soon, I was working in Pittsburgh and spent 10 great years at WPXI. By was a tough boss. No nonsense. Demanding. He was exactly what I needed at that time of my career. His phone call also gave me the opportunity to reset my life. I met Joanne Peacock Loebig. We have two great kids. The years have been very good for us. Thanks, By Williams. Rest easy.