Gene Williamson
(Courtesy Kelly Apodaca)

Gene W. Williamson


Gene Wilford Williamson
23 YOA
1311 21st Street
Des Moines, IA
Polk County
Case # 1979-5278
February 9, 1979

On Friday, February 9, 1979 — two days after his 23rd birthday — Gene W. Williamson was shot shortly after pulling into the parking lot of a Des Moines apartment building.

Des Moines police found Williamson dead behind the wheel at the 1311 21st street apartment complex — his foot still resting on the brakes and the car in neutral.

Williamson had been shot execution style behind the right ear. An unfired .25-caliber automatic pistol was found in his coat pocket.

Gene W. Willaimson crime sceneCourtesy photo Jim Magdanz, Des Moines Register
Detective E.J. Rand and Medical Examiner R.C. Wooters study the Williamson crime scene.

He was last known to reside at 2020 E. 18th Street in Des Moines.

Police had previously questioned Williamson in the May 12, 1978 homicide of Harry Hoffman, a well-known attorney from Peoria, Illinois. Williamson was released and not charged in Hoffman’s death.

The 72-year-old Hoffman had been shot in the parking lot of a Des Moines Howard Johnson Motel located at 921 Sixth Avenue. Officials could find no motive in Hoffman’s slaying.

About Gene Williamson (from obituary)

Mr. Gene Wilford Williamson was born February 7, 1956 in Des Moines Iowa. He was the son of Josie Lee and G. W. Williamson. From that union eight daughters and four sons were born.

Gene Williamson

Gene Williamson’s memorial service pamphlet (Courtesy Kelly Apodaca)

At an early age Gene was baptized by Rev. Joe Gaines at St. John’s Baptist Church. He sang in the church choir.

Gene was educated in the Des Moines School System. He graduated from Des Moines East High School, where he played football. He also received a Master Machinist degree.

Later Gene joined Union Baptist Church under the Pastorage of Rev. Henry I. Thomas.

He was self employed at W & W Motors.

Gene departed this life on February 9, 1979 in Des Moines, Iowa at the age of twenty-three years.

He leaves to mourn his loss: a daughter, Gena Bianca Avant of Des Moines, Iowa; his loving parents, Josie Lee and G. W. Williamson of Des Moines, Iowa; eight sisters, Joyce S. Williamson and Gail L. Williamson both of Peoria, Illinois, Betty D. Williamson, Belinda K. Williamson, Gena L. A. Williamson, Jolynn L. Williamson, Kelly M. Williamson and Kristy C. Williamson all of Des Moines, Iowa; three brothers, Anthony Williamson, Randy L. Williamson and Eugene O. Williamson all of Des Moines, Iowa; a maternal grandmother, Eula Mae McCoy of Ashfold, Alabama; paternal grandmother, Lela Williamson of McGee, Mississippi; a host of aunts, uncles, great aunts, great uncles, cousins, other relatives, friends, and acquaintances.

From Gene Williamson’s memorial service (Courtesy Kelly Apodaca)

Visitation was held Tuesday, February 13, 1979, from 7 to 8 p.m. at Estes & Son Funeral Home, with services held Wednesday, February 14, 1979.

The Family gratefully and most sincerely acknowledges the many deeds of kindness and expressions of sympathy during their bereavement.

Information needed

If you have any information about Gene Williamson’s unsolved murder please contact the Des Moines Police Department at 515-283-4864.

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8 Responses to Gene Williamson

  1. LakeLife says:

    Praying to justice!

  2. Kerry Hill says:

    Was anybody in the attorney Harry Hoffman family ever questioned about a hit on mr. Williamson ?

  3. Penny McDonnell, thank you so much for your ongoing efforts to reach out and provide comfort to other victims’ families even as you struggle with your own loss. Your words do make a difference in other people’s lives, and Charles would be so proud of you. I know I am! Thank you, again! Jody at ICC

  4. I pray someone comes forward. This is very sad. It’s a long time. But their is always hope and faith. Prayers to the families and friends. God bless.

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