‘Mr. Bob’ takes on a new name for St. Patrick’s Day
NATCHEZ — When he’s not banishing snakes or going over W2s, Robert Oliver McWilliams will tell you that anyone can be Irish for a day on St. Patrick’s Day.
But McWilliams, also known as “Mr. Bob,” is the real thing.
Of Scotch-Irish decent, McWillaims has lived in Natchez since 1954 and said he is proud to serve as St. Patrick XXI, and lead the Krewe of Killarney’s annual St. Patrick’s Day parade in downtown Natchez on Thursday.
“I’m thrilled,” McWilliams said. “It’s an honor that you can cherish for life. I’m very humbled, but at the same time proud, because St. Patrick was a leader and a helper.”
McWilliams, who established Quality Tax and Bookkeeping Service in 1982, is in the business of helping folks. He believes in helping who you can, when you can in whatever capacity possible.
His philosophy will spill over in the role of St. Patrick.
“I was drawn to the krewe by the spirit of fun and caring exhibited by the members,” McWilliams said. “I consider the work of the Krewe very important to the children of the Natchez area.”
The krewe awards scholarships to area seniors annually. Holy Family Early Childhood Learning Center and Pleasant Acre Day School also benefit from funds contributed by the Krewe of Killarney.
The funds are raised through membership dues and the annual auction.
McWilliams said he admires the St. Patricks who carried the staff and snake before him.
“It’s rewarding to know that I am following in the footsteps of famous men before me,” he said. “I consider them famous.”
McWilliams has been a member of the Krewe of Killarney since its first parade 20 years ago.
He and his wife, Ruth Brown McWilliams, attend St. Mary Basilica where he serves as an usher.
They have one son, Robert O. McWilliams Jr. of Louisville.
McWilliams is a retiree of the Mississippi National Guard 155th Infantry and a member of the fourth degree Knights of Columbus. He is a past commander of the American Legion Post No. 4, current Chamber of Commerce Ambassador, a member of the Natchez Retiree Partnership, on the Family Selection Committee of Habitat for Humanity, a member of the Santa Claus Committee and is a volunteer driver for the Natchez Stewpot.
He also served as past president of the Natchez Civitan Club with particular emphasis on the Special Olympics.
McWilliams said he would like to encourage everyone to consider joining the krewe, as fun and a sense of goodwill are included in membership.
The krewe has only one meeting per year.
“The challenge of being St. Patrick will be to live up to the expectations,” McWilliams said. “I want to be sure my life is kept in order to be respected as a humble person, asking myself, will I always be the best person I can be?”
Lineup for the parade will be 5 p.m. at Memorial Park. McWilliams said everyone is invited to walk in the non-motorized parade down Main Street and help St. Patrick banish the snakes from Natchez.