WOODSTOWN, N.J. — B. Riley Williams, a veteran school bus contractor who contributed to state and national industry associations, died on June 17. He was 77.
Williams was the president and owner of Woodstown-based school bus contracting company B.R. Williams Inc. He acquired the business in 1975 from his father, Benjamin Riley Williams, who founded B.R. Williams Inc. in 1935.
Riley Williams was also involved in industry associations. On the national level, he was a member of the National School Transportation Association.
On the state level, he served two terms as president of the New Jersey School Bus Owners Association. Later, he was integral in effectively reuniting that organization with the Garden State School Bus Contractors Association. The June 2012 merger formed the New Jersey School Bus Contractors Association (NJSBCA).
In a statement on Williams’ passing, NJSBCA officials pointed to his leadership, influence and dedication to the industry throughout his career.
“B. Riley Williams was a man of dignity who acted quietly and gave generously,” NJSBCA officials said. “He did the right thing — not for rewards or recognition, but because it was the right thing to do. … Riley will be fondly remembered and infinitely respected.”
In 2000, B.R. Williams Inc. was featured in School Bus Fleet’s “Great Fleets Across America” series. At the time, Riley Williams had turned over day-to-day operations to his daughter Chloe Williams three years earlier, but he remained active in the company — even pitching in by getting behind the wheel.
“I still drive part-time, so I’m out there with [the drivers],” Williams told SBF at the time, noting that the ground-level contact was important because it helped drivers feel comfortable with him. “That makes a difference.”