“One of the things he was most proud of in his life was to feel like he had a big part in promoting quality delivery of health care in the greater Wilmington community,” Williams’ son Bert Williams III said in the local newspaper’s obituary on Dr. Williams.
Dr. Williams had been a North Carolina Medical Society member since 1951 and had been slated to receive a Lifetime Achievement Award as part of the Greater Wilmington Business Journal’s Health Care Heroes Awards. A memorial honor was given instead the weekend after his death.
The son of a downtown Wilmington merchant, Williams earned his medical degree at Vanderbilt University before being assigned to the Second Marine Division during World War II, according to the Wilmington Star News obituary. Williams returned to Wilmington in 1951 to open his surgical practice and was active until his retirement in 1991. As the medical community grew and diversified, Williams co-founded Wilmington Surgical Associates and was chief of staff at New Hanover Regional, in addition to serving terms on the medical center board of trustees and chairing the board. He played a leading role in creating the NHRMC Foundation, which helps fund the hospital’s mission independent of tax dollars.
Bonnie Jeffreys Brown, Executive Director of the New Hanover-Pender County Medical Society, told the newspaper that in addition to being a physician, Dr. Williams was an “astute business man, farmer, loyal friend, philanthropist and true Southern gentleman. His knowledge of area history was encyclopedic – and he gave fascinating talks without notes. At 95, he continued to do it all until the very end! His was a life well-lived, the quality of which most of us can only aspire to achieve. He was a treasure.”