Respected civic leader and former Minnesota Gophers football star John Williams died Sunday in Minneapolis.
Williams, 64, died while taking a walk.
Williams played 12 seasons in the NFL before returning to Minneapolis where he worked as a dentist. He was also a former member of the Minneapolis Urban League and president of the West Broadway Business Association.
Williams' wife, Barbara Butts-Williams, said he was very involved in religious and non-profit groups, especially in north Minneapolis.
"John was somebody that believed in the community," Butts-Williams told Tom Crann of All Things Considered on Monday. "His legacy is that he served an area that he believed needed help, and needed individuals like him to be a role model."
Williams was also a pilot and former member of the Metropolitan Airports Commission.
"He did the best he could with the God-given talents that he had," Butts-Williams said. "He made a difference, hopefully, in others lives by doing that."
Butts-Williams said her husband was well-rounded and authentic.
"He was not only my husband, he was my very best friend," she said. "And I think the ironic thing about that is that there are so many people who would say the same thing. He was their very best friend."