Born into a farming family in north central Texas in 1940, Williford began sculpting on 10-cent bars of Ivory soap while growing up. He later studied at the University of Texas at Arlington, North Texas State University, and the Art Center College of Art & Design in Los Angeles, CA. Though Williford worked in pencil, oils, watercolors, and etchings, he was best known for his bronze sculptures.
In 1980, Williford won the National Academy of Western Art’s gold medal and its Prix de West Purchase Award. He won two more gold medals in 1986 for his sculpture and drawing of an Eskimo pursuing a caribou herd by kayak. His list of artistic achievements is long and impressive; but it is the depth of the artist and the love shown for his subjects that leaves a continuing impression.
"I'm celebrating living forms in motion," Williford said prior to his death in 2007. "The research is the fun part, about a third of what is necessary. The difficult part is translating dynamic action into a three-dimensional artwork. The final piece must reflect design, mass, kinetics, and flow. I push my pieces to the limit of thrust. A lot of my subjects feature such dynamic action, but it's even harder to achieve subtle, graceful motion."
Williford was one of the rare permanent members of the National Academy of Western Art. His thirteen foot monumental sculpture "Welcome Sundown" graces the entrance to the National Cowboy Hall of Fame in Oklahoma City, OK. In addition, his works can be found in the permanent collections of the Thomas Gilcrease Museum (Tulsa, Oklahoma), Johns Hopkins University (Baltimore, Maryland), and Duquesne University (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania).