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In Loving Memory Of

Paul Williams

It was mid August of 1973, The Temptations were in New York attending the wedding of group member Damon Harris and his bride Tina, when Richard Street called with the news.

Former group member Paul Williams, apparantly so beseiged by health and emotional problems, had found it necessary to take his own life. He was found dead, lying in the street, near Fourteenth and West Grand, not far from the Hitsville building. The official cause of death was a self inflicted gunshot wound to the head.

On August 24th, one week later, Paul's funeral was held at the Tried Stone Baptist Church. Over 2,500 people viewed his body at The Cole Funeral Home in the days before. The church was filled with friends and family, his wife Mary and their children, people from Motown, and as many fans as could get in.

Eddie, David, Dennis, Melvin, Otis, and Cornelius Grant (the groups guitarist often labeled the sixth Temptation) were pallbearers.

During the service, David sang "The Impossible Dream", but was so overcome by grief partway through that he couldn't continue and the others walked to the front of the church to help him finish. They couldn't make it through either, and returned to their pews, in tears.

After the service, they carried Paul's coffin to the hearse and took that last ride with him to the cemetary. At the gravesite, they opened the casket again, and Eddie bent down to give his long-time childhood friend, a kiss goodbye.

Paul Williams, who was once considered to be the heart and soul of the group, will be fondly remembered as a man who could hold an audience in the palm of his hand, squeezing every note of a song for all it had, until everyone would stand up and applaud, often with tears in their eyes.

It should be noted that there are those who believe that Paul's death wasn't a suicide, but rather a murder that's being covered up, and there are certain facts that would seemingly substantiate this. All we really know for certain, is that Paul Williams left us way too soon.

"The Impossible Dream"

To dream the impossible dream
To fight the unbeatable foe
To bear with unbearable sorrow
To run where the brave dare not go.

To right the unrightable wrong
To be better far than you are
To try when your arms are too weary
To reach the unreachable star

This is my quest, to follow that star,
No matter how hopeless, no matter how far
To be willing to give when there's no more to give
To be willing to die so that honor and justice may live

And I know, if I'll only be true
To this glorious quest
That my heart will lie peaceful
When I'm laid to my rest

And the world will be better for this
That one man scorned and covered with scars
Still strove with his last ounce of courage
To reach the unreachable star.

"May You Rest In Peace"

The dead they sleep a long, long sleep;
The dead they rest, and their rest is deep;
The dead have peace, but the living weep.
- - Samuel Hoffenstein

Eddie Kendricks

David Ruffin

Melvin Franklin

Otis Williams

Dennis Edwards