Zackery Williams struggled with substance use and mental health problems. Family photo

Zackery Williams was a gifted mechanic who enjoyed racing and who dreamed of competing on the NASCAR auto racing circuit.

Though Williams had success racing cars in southern Maine, including Beech Ridge Motor Speedway in Scarborough, he also dealt with mental health problems, including substance abuse and depression. He took his own life and died on March 21 at Maine Medical Center. He was 31.

His younger sister, Alysia Williams, 24, of South Portland, spoke Wednesday about his years-long struggle with drugs and attempts to get clean and sober. Williams had several stays in rehab and multiple incarcerations – the longest being four years.

Upon his release, Williams always returned to the same crowd of people and eventually relapsed. But the last time was different, she said.

Williams was released from prison in late 2015 and worked hard to turn his life around, his sister said.

In March 2016, he was hired at Paul G White Tile Co. in Portland. Company officials said Wednesday that Williams worked as a mechanic and maintained the company’s equipment.

“He was their fix-it guy. He could fix anything,” his sister said.

Williams also worked part-time at Keniston’s Motorsports in Falmouth.

Williams was remembered in his obituary as a clever and mischievous kid who had a ton of energy.

“He attended school in Falmouth, where he once tried to buy himself an A by bringing a baby calf to school for his French teacher,” his obituary said.

As a kid, Williams developed a love for racing cars and snowmobiles. At age 10, he began competing in the youth racing scene.

Williams competed in the Snocross snowmobile tour for three years. He also raced in the Legends race car circuit.

“When he was racing, he was in the moment,” his sister said. “He had nothing else to worry about. He was fearless. It was just him and the car and coming in first place.”

Many thought Williams had the skills to race professionally.

“With his talent, he could have done it,” his sister said.

But his struggle with substance use and mental health problems ultimately took hold of his life, she said.

Williams’ sister said he was recently placed on house arrest for violating probation and was facing a seven-year prison sentence.

“He always said he wouldn’t go back to jail,” his sister said. “He said he wasn’t going to do seven years. My brother needed help. He needed to see his doctors, and get back on his anxiety medication and depression medication. He needed the doctors to take him seriously and the justice system to take him seriously. I think it’s what drove him to the edge.”

Williams is survived by his wife, Laurie (Reardon) Williams, of Falmouth and Gorham and 6-year-old daughter Alexus Williams. He is also survived by his parents, John Williams Jr. of South Portland; and Gina and stepfather Wayne Keniston of Falmouth.

Melanie Creamer can be contacted at 791-6361 or at:

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