David “Lumpy” Williams died of a heart attack Tuesday, October 16, in San Rafael, California, at age 61. Members of the American racing community remembered “Lumpy” on Thursday.
Residents of Sonoma Valley, where he lived, knew him as the local Santa Claus, although in addition to Williams’ work as a soccer coach and as director of the Boys and Girls Club, he had played a major role in American professional cycling in the 1980s and 1990s.
Williams got his start in race organizing in 1985, working as a local coordinator for the Coors Classic, according to Michael Aisner, the promoter of the stage race. Working then with the Boys and Girls Club, Williams joined the race as an on-the-ground race coordinator in Sonoma County.
Impressed with Williams’ work in Sonoma, Aisner’s team hired Williams to join its staff. After the final edition of the Coors Classic, in 1988, Aisner said, “most of my organization moved over to the [Tour de Trump] group, and Lumpy went (as competition director for the race).”
Williams stayed on-board as a boots-on-the-ground coordinator for Medalist Sports when the Tour de Trump evolved into the Tour DuPont in 1991, also working as the marshal and police coordinator on the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, Georgia, and with David Chauner on the USPRO road race in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
One of Williams’ greatest technical assets to races, Aisner said, was his ability to “interface with the police and with the authorities. His nature was always solution-oriented, and he always did it with the idea in mind that the person he’s talking to is a person.”
“Lumpy,” who acquired the nickname when he was nine years old, spent the last five years caring for his 95-year-old mother, according to Aisner.
“And that’s really the story of Lumpy,” said Aisner. “Loyal, and dedicated in every way.”
Commenting on a Williams obituary on the website of Sonoma Magazine, Don Hobbs, technical director for the Coors Classic from 1983 to 1987 and founding race director of the Tour de Trump, remembered Williams as “an extraordinary contributor to professional cycling… he played a role in every major cycling event that ever took place on American soil,” adding that Williams was “a loving and caring friend to our family in Colorado.”
Williams’ sister, Judith Tree Williams, told Sonomanews.com that “Lumpy,” after suffering from his third heart attack, “was an integral part of so many things… But I want everyone to know that he’s at peace now.”