Doug Williams loved chocolate chip pancakes, good coffee and a cold beer. He also loved running, and every Sunday, he could be found taking his familiar route starting at Grove Street Pharmacy and weaving through the streets of Montclair, Glen Ridge and Bloomfield.

Phil Coffin, a fellow runner and an editor at the New York Times who knew Williams for 13 years, spoke with Williams’ sister Rosemary (who, like her brother Doug, had qualified for the Boston Marathon this year). Coffin learned Williams had been at Tierney’s, having a beer with one of his brothers on Saturday night. He stopped to pick up pizza at Nauna’s before walking home toward his condo on Claremont Ave. Williams, 49, was then struck and killed by a hit and run driver on Upper Mountain Ave., near Van Vleck Road.

“Doug was a great team mate and just a kind, gentle person,” says Coffin, who has run thousands of miles alongside Williams over the years. “Most people didn’t know how funny he was. He had this quiet, dry wit, and he could come out with some great one-line zingers.”

Williams was known for running up a particular road with a very steep incline on his Sunday runs. “It was near Bradford Ave. and it’s probably one of the worst hills you could ever run,” says Coffin. “Doug did it on a dare one time and after that it became named the Williams Ascension Extension or WAE. We’d all say to each other ‘You want to do the WAE?'”

Coffin says Williams’ Essex Running Club friends are already talking about a memorial run at some point soon, maybe covering the route he took every Sunday, and remembering him by ending with his favorite things — chocolate chip pancakes, coffee and beer.

Photos: Desmond Duncker, fellow Essex Running Club Member

8 replies on “Remembering Montclair’s Doug Williams”

  1. Thank you for the nice tribute to Doug. My husband grew up with him and the three of us took many trips together, including a camping and canoe trip in northern Maine. He was the best man at our wedding and will very much be missed.

  2. Rest in peace Doug. We offer our deepest condolences to Doug’s family and friends at his untimely death.

  3. My goodness; I am so sorry that this happened. Much love to his family and friends and I do hope someone saw something, that they catch the person who did this. You never think doing something so simple as picking up a pizza and walking home, could end your life. So sad may he RIP.

  4. Horible story to have to read. I feel so bad for his loved ones.

    Runners: South Orange has a track, totally off-street.
    Open to all. From Blmfd. Center it’s attainable in 15 minutes !!
    No Cars, only runners.

  5. As someone who knew Doug for many years I have to comment. Yes, he was training for the upcoming Boston marathon in April, HOWEVER, He was NOT running when he was hit.

    He had just eaten and was walking home. As a fellow runner, we know how dangerous it is to run on the street which is why we always run facing traffic and rarely at night.

    I have a hard time getting my mind around Doug being hit on a street he has walked a thousand times before only a block or two from his home. Makes no sense to me and I only hope the unfortunate individual who was at the wheel of the vehicle will turn him/herself in and explain what happened?

    Personally, I know I would be emotionally devastated having killed someone in a moment of careless driving.

    Running & walking on any street today has become so much more dangerous with EVERYONE checking their smart-phones & iPods while driving. Pedestrians have no right-of-way without eye contact.

    Doug & I ran many races together and he was always finished close to me. He was a very motivated runner who always wanted to be the best he could be.

    His achieving a qualifying time to run the Boston marathon was a life-time goal and something he was very proud of.

    It will feel strange not seeing him at the Grove St. Sunday morning runs anymore…

    He will be missed..


Comments are closed.