Martin McWilliams, who was stabbed to death in an isolated event at a Paso Robles laundromat Sunday, was active in his community and devoted to his family, friends of the man said.
The 46-year-old Paso Robles man hoped to serve as an assistant Boy Scout master, said Steven Von Dohlen, the Scout Master for Troop 60 in Paso Robles. McWilliams’ son, Jarett, had recently graduated from Cub Scouts to Boy Scouts and his father was eager to join in as a parent leader.
“Martin was a very dedicated husband and father,” Von Dohlen said. “He was very much committed to the Scouting program.”
McWilliams was stabbed to death Sunday allegedly by 28-year-old John Frederick Woody of San Jose at a Paso Robles laundromat on Spring Street. The two men didn’t know each other, police said.
Woody, who appeared in San Luis Obispo Superior Court on Thursday for an arraignment, acknowledged mental health issues to Judge Michael Duffy. He’s being evaluated by doctors for his mental competency to stand trial.
McWilliams was born in San Fernando and had lived throughout the North County, according to the Rev. Robert Curry, a family friend.
His mother died when he was young, and McWilliams was raised by his aunt, Curry said.
McWilliams had worked various jobs in the North County, including at Pizza Hut, but most recently was unemployed.
Curry hired him to do landscaping at his Paso Robles home to help him make ends meet.
Curry, who’s a retired chaplain at the El Paso de Robles Youth Correctional Facility, met McWilliams and his wife, Michelle, about a year ago when they became new members of North County Christian Fellowship church in Paso Robles.
“We spent a lot of time together and he talked a lot about his background,” Curry said. “He came from a dysfunctional family and Michelle and he had experienced hardships in their lives.”
McWilliams was part Native American from a Montana tribe and had expressed interest in trying to reconnect with his roots, Curry said.
In addition, he said, McWilliams had a 22-year-old daughter, Autumn, who lives in Shandon. McWilliams hadn’t been in contact with his siblings since their paths separated, Curry added.
In his north Paso Robles neighborhood, McWilliams’ spent his leisure time working on cars, including most recently a Toyota 4Runner.
He also collected baseball and football cards, such as a rookie card of Aaron Rodgers of the world champion Green Bay Packers.
According to Von Dohlen, McWilliams was “very curious about how things worked, very inquisitive, and helped to make things happen” in the Scouting program.
A memorial service is scheduled for March 19 at 3 p.m. at the North County Christian Fellowship church at 421 Ninth St. in Paso Robles.
To contribute to the Paso Robles Police Officers Association’s benefit fund for McWilliams’ family, make a deposit to the Michelle McWilliams Benefit Fund at any Rabobank location.
An additional fund has been set up by Scouts and Families of Cub Scout Pack 65 in Paso Robles, sponsored by the Knights of Columbus No. 9162. It is the Martin McWilliams Memorial Fund at First Bank of San Luis Obispo. Contributions can be made or mailed to any First Bank branch, including the one at 840 Spring St., Paso Robles, CA 93446.