by Susan Spry
 of the Mackay Island and Currituck National Wildlife Refuges

First printed on November 5, 2014
in the Summer 2014 edition of the Fish and Wildlife News,
published by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.


  Timothy “Tim” Williams, equipment engineer at Mackay Island National Wildlife Refuge in North Carolina and Virginia, retired June 30 after 40 years, all with the Service at Mackay Island. Tim began his career as a temporary worker in August 1974, when Mackay Island NWR was 14 years old. In those early days, he "worked as a guide for the water; this was before we had GPS and they needed somebody to run the boats and take them around. When we started getting equipment is when I started running it” until his job evolved to become what it is today. His favorite part of the job is "seeing if what you did all year was successful. If there's lots of good food in the impoundments and the geese are thick-that's the best." He says he isn't going to miss the wasps or deer flies.

He believes he's had 28 supervisors over the years and says he's learned something from each of them. His current supervisor, Mike Hoff, says, "As a boy, before there was a refuge, Tim played, hunted, fished and enjoyed the bountiful marshes where he would spend his career building and nurturing a wonderful refuge. Seems odd but in this case the refuge grew up around Tim.”

One of Tim's greatest talents, which he honed during his many days on the refuge, is his story telling. What do a bottle of prune juice, a raccoon crossing the road and an oily sock have in common? They are all key parts to stories that Tim has kept us entertained with for years! His ability to tell a story and keep you laughing is one of the greatest things about working alongside Tim. He always has a great story ready...no matter the situation. The refuge will be just a bit quieter without the cheery laugh it's had for the past 40 years, but it's good to know that even in retirement, he's just around the corner with a story waiting.

When asked if he's going to go anywhere after he retires, Tim's response is: "Where would I go?" He is from Knotts Island. His great, great granddaddy came from Ireland and established his family there. He is the fourth generation of his family to serve as a duck hunting guide, something he's been doing since he was 15. His son, Timothy, who works with him, makes generation five. He and his wife, Nancy, run Williams Lodge, a 100-year-old farmhouse overlooking the Currituck Sound at the southern tip of Knotts Island, just like his grandfather and grandmother did for 50 or so years. There have been news articles written about him, and more recently, a spot on the local news that referred to him as the Duck Dynasty of Hampton Roads.

Happy Hunting, Tim!

May the geese always be thick.