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Charlie Williams was about 8 or 9 years old when the call came.

“I remember answering the phone and hearing, ‘Please hold for the president’s office,' " Charlie Williams said on Saturday.

He was beginning to learn about prank calls.

“I thought it was just a big joke,” he said.

The day has stayed with Charlie Williams’ brother, too.

“I will never forget when Charlie hung up on George Bush not once, but twice, telling him to quit prank calling,” David Williams said.

Then-President George H.W. Bush’s office reached the brothers’ mother, Karen J. Williams, on the phone at her office.

He’d called to tell her that she’d been nominated to serve as a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals in the Fourth Circuit.

The Williams brothers then accompanied their mother to Walker’s Point, in Kennebunkport, Maine, the summer home of the Bush family.

“We visited Maine after making the longest road trip of my life, only to enter a compound that I will never forget,” David Williams said.

“I only imagine how scared my mother was when she took us, not knowing what we’d do,” he said.

Once they entered the compound, he told his mother “This guy must be cool. He has a go-cart track around his house.”

David Williams said, “He was a great man who changed my family’s life for the better. All accounts of his grace ring true to my limited experiences,” David Williams said.

In 1992, Bush nominated their mother to a seat vacated by Robert Foster Chapman. Chapman had reached senior status on May 31, 1991.

Chapman died this past April at age 91.

Karen Williams became the first woman to serve on the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals.

In 2007, she became the first woman to serve as chief judge and served in that capacity until her resignation in 2009, after a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease. She died on Nov. 2, 2013 at age 62.

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Contact the writer: or 803-533-5545. Follow on Twitter: @MRBrownTandD


Staff Writer

Martha Rose Brown covers crime and other topics. The South Carolina native has been a journalist for the past 16 years.

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