Perhaps people are surprised to learn the age of the equipment he used to make his discoveries and investigations. No one can discount the caliber of his work based on the visual appearance of his bench. One must remember that it isn't the tools and equipment that make technology happen but the skilled operator of those tools, be they modern or vintage. Like his equipment, he was a classic, and will be missed for who he was and what he knew.
Simple-he loved old hardware, which means he bought them or had them gifted to him used, which meant the previous user had mistreated them. Sorta like scars due to battle but really due to carelessly not turning the intensity down when not being used. Digital screens can't earn such scars.
At EDN magazine we often joked that we could tell a Jim Williams scope-screen photo from all others because of the "burn marks" on the scope face or defects in the scope's plastic graticle. You can see a good example of Jim's trademark scope images at: http://www.edn.com/file/14454-Figure_5.pdf. Sadly, whenever I talked with Jim I forgot to ask him what caused those dots in his scope photos. We'll never know. I will greatly miss Jim Williams.