In Memory of Col. Kevin Williams SD SM MMM KStJ, Chancellor of the Order of St John in South Africa

It was with great sadness that we received the news overnight of the passing of Col. Kevin Williams SD SM MMM KStJ, Chancellor of the Order of St John in South Africa. 

Kevin has recently been challenged by a period of ill health, however his passing was both sudden and unexpected. This news will come as a shock to his many friends, St John colleagues and especially his family.

Col. Williams was promoted by HM Queen Elizabeth II to the Grade of Knight of Justice in 2013 within the Order of St John, and was appointed Chancellor of the South African Priory of the Order of St John in 2018.

As a distinguished and devoted servant of the Order for many years, and in recent years, the most senior operational leader of the Priory as Chancellor, Kevin led the Priory during many very difficult challenges, including the COVID-19 pandemic. Kevin also contributed significantly to the international work of the Order as a member of Grand Council and of the Trustees’ Executive Committee. His insights, frankness, openness and unwavering dedication to maintain the Values of the Order and its highest standards, especially when it came to considering honours and awards matters, was incredibly helpful and highly commendable.

In his professional life Kevin was an Associate, Licentiate and Fellow of Trinity College, London and served in the Department of Defence for 30 years, retiring as a Colonel in 2010 as Director Ceremonial and Military Music. His responsibilities were the strategic management and direction of military ceremonial (with respect to the State and SA National Defence Force), military dress, military music across all Services, and Honours and Awards. His own awards included the Southern Cross Decoration, Southern Cross Medal and Military Merit Medal.

Kevin was also a trustee of the South African National Museum of Military History Building and Development Trust.

Kevin served as the South African President of the Royal School of Church Music for seven years up until January 2013 and was made an Associate of that organisation at a ceremony in Coventry Cathedral in 2003 in recognition of his contribution to church music in South Africa. He is also the South African representative of The Guild of Church Musicians.

Kevin was friend and support to many; devoted to his faith and his church; indefatigable worker for and supporter of the Order of St John.

He was always excellent company in social settings and someone from whom wise counsel was always available.

He will be very sadly missed and our thoughts and prayers are with his family, friends and all colleagues.

May he rest in peace and rise in glory.