2013-06-13 / Front Page

Local father dedicates event to dads

FATHER’S DAY
By Anna Bitong


APPLES OF HIS EYE—Thousand Oaks father Bill Williams, with his two beloved girls, Jordin, left, and Grace, center, is the man behind the inaugural Father’s Day Festival. Williams, a widower, says he wants to put the spotlight on successful single dads.“It’s a blessing to be a dad,” he said. APPLES OF HIS EYE—Thousand Oaks father Bill Williams, with his two beloved girls, Jordin, left, and Grace, center, is the man behind the inaugural Father’s Day Festival. Williams, a widower, says he wants to put the spotlight on successful single dads.“It’s a blessing to be a dad,” he said. Bill Williams cherishes being the father of two daughters, a role he will celebrate at the city’s first Father’s Day Festival this weekend.

Williams will host the free event this Sun., June 16, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Conejo Valley YMCA, 4031 N. Moorpark Road in Thousand Oaks.

The festival will include musical entertainment, activities for kids, karate demonstrations and raffle prizes, plus food that can be purchased from California Pizza Kitchen.

Williams said Sunday’s event will celebrate the joy of being a father and challenge a stereotype.

“(I want to) bring awareness that there are single dads out there that may have been widowed like myself,” he said.

“There is a stereotype that dads don’t bring up kids by themselves, and there are a lot (who do).”

The inaugural event aims to increase access to support services for fathers, such as after-school care and mental health programs.

“People don’t know what to do with dads sometimes on Father’s Day,” said Williams, a consultant for Go Green Motion, a company that promotes the use of electric vehicles.

Williams is paying for most of the event’s costs himself.

“Father’s Day is the most important day of the year,” he said.

Williams said he found his purpose in life after his wife’s death left him to raise his first daughter alone.

He married the love of his life in 1988 and after two years the couple welcomed their daughter, Jordin. In 1992 his wife was diagnosed with inoperable cervical cancer. She died two years later, when Jordin was almost 4 years old.

“It was tough,” the Thousand Oaks resident said. “I wasn’t religious at the time. I started talking to God again because I was so upset. I reached out to friends and family. I wasn’t going to make it alone.”

Many people around him suggested he let his in-laws raise his daughter. But the single father brushed off assumptions that he couldn’t take care of a child alone.

“ That is when it finally dawned on me,” he said. “God had given me my purpose in life. I was put on this earth to be this little girl’s father.”

Williams embraced his purpose. He learned to braid Jordin’s hair, cooked for her and took her to Mommy and Me classes.

When Jordin started attending preschool, her father was anxious about their separation.

“They told me to stop calling to see if she was OK,” Williams said. “I was so scared. She only had me left. I didn’t want her to fear losing me.”

Jordin, 22, said she wasn’t comfortable at preschool and was pulled out after five days.

“I remember crying because my mom died. They told me I wasn’t allowed to cry.”

Her dad lifted her spirits. She remembers getting bagels with him in the morning before school and being picked up in a golf cart.

“(It was) some of the most fun I’ve had,” said Jordin, who will graduate from Antioch University in Santa Barbara this month and plans to be a copywriter. “I had no idea about money problems, or how upset he was. I can’t imagine how he got through all that. . . . He tries to make the best out of every situation.”

But Williams soon found support. Five years after his first wife’s death, he met Patricia.

Jordin came with him on their first date.

“It wouldn’t matter if I fell in love, she had to get along with my daughter. We came as a package. Patricia was so nice and so warm.”

The couple were married a year later. Together they had another daughter, Grace, now 7.

Among their father-daughter rituals are rounds of golf, trips to the bowling alley and karate class for Grace.

“Every time I look at her she’s so proud of me being there. That keeps me going. I want her to feel like she can always talk to me,” Williams said.

Grace, a second-grader at Ascension Lutheran School, said she appreciates her dad.

“He’s really nice and supportive all the time and always there for me when I need him. And he takes care of me really well,” she said.

Jordin said she has never been scared to discuss any subject with her dad.

“He’s always there for me no matter what. He finds a solution to any problem. I can talk to him about anything,” she said.

Williams said he tries to set a high standard for his daughters.

“(I want them) to learn how to see the good in people and make it through the hard times. I was devastated when my wife died, but I never gave up.”

Like their father, who once traveled the world as a DJ and plays guitar and sings at the United Methodist Church of Thousand Oaks, both Jordin and Grace love to perform music.

Jordin sings and Grace has a guitar, a violin and a keyboard.

“It’s a blessing to be a dad,” Williams said.

For more information about the Father’s Day Festival, contact Sommer Barwick at sembree2002@yahoo.com or at (818) 970-0326.

Thousand Oaks Father’s Day Festival

SUN., JUNE 16
10 A.M. TO 2 P.M.

Conejo Valley YMCA

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