J.L. “Sonny” Williams, a longtime local business leader, Minyard Food Stores president and minority owner of the Dallas Mavericks, died Saturday from esophageal cancer. He was 78.
Williams, wife Gretchen Minyard Williams, her sister Liz Minyard and cousin Bob Minyard together built Minyard Food Stores into a billion-dollar business. It was one of the largest family-owned supermarket chains in Texas when it was sold in 2004 to an investment group. At its peak, the company had 83 stores and 7,200 employees.
While Williams had a long career in the grocery business, his local interests ranged from preserving the Highland Park Soda Fountain to sports business. He was also a former owner of the professional indoor soccer team the Dallas Sidekicks.
Williams was an active volunteer. He served as an elected member of the Dallas College board since 2006 and supported last year’s consolidation of 7 campuses under one accreditation. More information about the impact J.L. Williams made on the Dallas community can be found in this article of The Dallas Morning News.
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