ECU alum, donor and businessman Walter Williams passes away


GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) — ECU alumnus and Trade Oil Company founder Walter Williams has died, sources confirm.

Williams, a long-time supporter of ECU Athletics and the university, was a staple of the Greenville community.

The arena inside Minges Coliseum, Williams Arena, is named for Walter Williams and his wife, Marie.

The Smith-Williams Center, ECU’s basketball practice facility, is also named in part after the Williams.

He financed multiple athletic scholarships and supported a number of fundraising initiatives at ECU.

According to ECU’s website, the “Williams family gave the first $1 million gift ever given to the Educational Foundation in support of ECU Athletics, through the Shared Visions Campaign. In addition to his financial support, Walter Williams has given his time unselfishly in support of the Pirate Club. During 1997-98, Walter served as Executive President of the Educational Foundation.”

Williams started Trade Oil company in 1984 with two Trade Mart convenience store locations. The company eventually grew to more than 100 stores and in 2005 merged with Wilco Hess.

Wilco was started by Walters brother. As of 2010, the combined companies operated almost 400 stores.

For more on Williams and his impact on the East Carolina community, click here. 

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