In Memoriam: William Thomas Williams, Jr.
William (Bill) Thomas Williams, Jr. M.D., 73, of Davidson, North Carolina passed away on March 15, 2021. He was born in Toccoa, Georgia on March 16, 1947 to the late William T. and Beth Lane Williams, and reared in Savannah, Georgia. He graduated from H. V. Jenkins High School in 1965 and from Davidson College in 1969, and then went on to receive his medical degree from Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas. Bill met Marguerite (Margo) Oldham, of Houston, Texas, while attending medical school, and they married on March 25, 1972.
After Bill completed his residency in Pediatrics at the University of Virginia Medical Center in Charlottesville, Virginia, Bill and Margo moved to Davidson in 1977, where they reared two sons and Bill continued with a residency in Internal Medicine at Charlotte Memorial Hospital. Bill founded the Davidson Clinic in 1978 and served as a primary care physician to many of Davidson’s families, before going to work at Charlotte Area Health Education Center, Carolinas Medical Center (now Atrium) as its Chief Medical Officer, and serve on, and chair, the National Board of Medical Examiners. During this time, he had the opportunity to work with medical schools and medical professionals all over the United States and around the world, including in Panama, England, Scotland, Italy, Portugal, and the United Arab Emirates. He founded a medical consulting company, the Williams Group, prior to completing his career as a physician for Hospice & Palliative Care Charlotte Region.
Bill’s life was devoted to his family and friends, his community and coworkers, his patients, public health, and medical education. Beyond this, he loved birds, the weather, flowers, astronomy, geography, science fiction, Caswell Beach, watching Jeopardy! with Margo, his dogs, and seeing the world.
When the boys were growing up, he took the family on what he called “the baseball tours of America.” In this way, he made sure they saw the country, experienced the culture of each different city and place, had fun, and, of course, saw baseball. Bill’s father had tickets to the Masters, and he shared the tickets with Bill, who, in turn, shared them with family. He would walk along the various holes and expound on which great player he saw on which hole, sinking which putt. All who were with him would listen intently, mostly mesmerized by his prodigious memory and his love of the place.
Bill also wanted his family to discover and experience the beach and to develop their own love for the restorative powers of the sea and sand. The beach house was filled with great food, lively conversations, crossword puzzles, and games of all kinds. Quiet walks along the ocean’s edge revealed his companions’ innermost thoughts with openness and ease, and Bill knew that these natural moments would bring the family he loved even closer together.
Bill was devoted to the practice of medicine. In his own words, he said, “I approach medicine through the sciences. I believe in Koch’s postulates, which means that, in general, I am a slave to the concept of cause and effect. It is what I use in teaching students about medicine, and it is the basis for my explanations to patients about their diseases and treatments.”
A lifelong learner, Bill had a constantly curious mind, and he said this to his students about their chosen profession, “It is called the Practice of Medicine for a reason, and it involves the opportunity to learn something new during every encounter with everyone and everything that make up the health care system, especially from the nurses and your patients. And if you continue to read and watch and listen, you should be a better physician each day than you were the day before.”
Bill is survived by Marguerite Williams, his wife of almost 49 years; their children, Ben Williams and Sun K Park, Daniel Williams and Brittany Williams; his sister- and brother-in-law, Harriet and Steve Kessler; his niece and her family, Kristi, Jerry, and Robyn Walters; his nephew and his family, Michael Kessler, Rosie Molinary, Abe Kessler, and Roberto Molinary; as well as their friends, and loved ones, especially close cousins.
The family wishes to express its gratitude to Davidson College Presbyterian Church and its wonderful ministers, especially Robert Alexander, who gave the family such tender support; for the professionalism and excellent care provided by Hospice & Palliative Care Charlotte Area; for the kind attention given to the family by Raymer-Kepner Funeral Home; and for the amazing love expressed by friends, both far and near.
A memorial service will be held when COVID-19 vaccines have been fully distributed and it is safe to gather after the pandemic. He will be interred in the columbarium at Davidson College Presbyterian Church, where his mother-in-law, the late Robyn M. Oldham, is also interred. In lieu of flowers, his family asks, if you are so moved, that you please send donations to:
Hospice & Palliative Care Charlotte Region, 7845 Little Avenue, Charlotte, NC 28226
Davidson Housing Coalition, P.O. Box 854, Davidson, NC 28036
or Davidson College Presbyterian Church, P.O. Box 337, Davidson, NC 28036
Online condolences and memories may be shared at www.kepnerfh.com.