Fred Smerlas appeals for help from BillsMafia for Ben Williams’ Family

Photo from

June 9th, 2020

Dear Buffalo Bills faithful:

By now you may have heard the news of former Bills great Ben Williams’ death after several years of failing health and misfortune. The loss of their home and all their belongings, including their family dog, due to a fire last fall, was followed by flooding at their rental home. It would be hard for a healthy person to endure, never mind a compromised person as Ben had become over the past several years.

Ben was a believer in Christ, as well as a loving husband, father and grandfather. Affectionately known as ‘Gentle Ben’, he was the first African-American to receive a football scholarship at University of Mississippi (Ole Miss).  Among his many accolades, he was the first African-American Ole Miss Football player to earn All-America honors, and the First African-American student to be elected by the student body for what is now known as Mr. Ole Miss.

In addition, he was a member of the Ole Miss Football Team of the Century, and inducted into the Ole Miss Sports Hall of Fame. Ben spent his entire 10 year NFL career with the Buffalo Bills during which he played in 147 games, was selected to the Pro Bowl in 1983, and the Bill’s Silver Anniversary Team. He was a recipient of the Ralph L. Wilson Leadership Award.

Photo of DL Ben Williams from

Ben’s wife Linda sacrificed her career and any semblance of what we hope for in retirement due to the need for full time care of Ben. The need for support for Linda lives on as she is the primary caregiver of their grandson Prestin.

An account has been established at the local bank where Ben worked during off seasons while playing football for the Bills. A longtime friend of Ben’s is an officer of the bank. 

If you are fortunate enough to be able to make a donation to Linda in memory of Ben, please kindly write the check to:  

                                                Linda Williams

                                                C/O Mr. Sam Lane, Senior VP

                                                First Commercial Bank

                                                1300 Meadowbrook Road

                                                Jackson, MS 39211


You can also donate via our GoFundMe campaign by clicking on the link below:

Thank you for your consideration in memory of our friend Ben; a great man.


Fred and Kristy Smerlas

Editor’s Note: Let’s do what we can to help one of our own, BillsMafia. We are blessed to have enjoyed Ben Williams’ wonderful career as a Buffalo Bill and now his family is faced with a desperate situation. Bless anyone who can help this family during this difficult time. Much love to Fred and Kristy Smerlas for bringing this to our attention.

About Robyn Mundy

Robyn Mundy is Editor-in-Chief of the BillsMafia blog at She's a retired oncology nurse & psychotherapist who loves to write about her life-long passion for the Buffalo Bills, and occasionally something of clinical or social relevance. Robyn lives with her husband Gary and their dogs in the foothills of the Big Horn Mountains in Wyoming. Robyn is also a proud founding sponsor. Follow her on Twitter at @RobynMundyWYO.