Retired physician R. Bertram Williams, Jr. of Wilmington will be honored Nov. 21 with a Lifetime Achievement award at the Health Care Heroes awards event sponsored by the Greater Wilmington Business Journal. Dr. Williams joined the North Carolina Medical Society (NCMS) in 1951 and is an active life member today. He has touched many lives over his 39-year career and is revered by colleagues, patients and friends.
Dr. Williams is a general and thoracic surgeon and co-founder of Wilmington Surgical Associates. He served as chief of staff, a trustee and board chairman at New Hanover Regional Medical Center.
The son of a merchant, Dr. Williams earned his medical degree at Vanderbilt University before joining the Second Marine Division during World War II, tending to injured soldiers in the Pacific. After serving in Korea, Williams returned to Wilmington in 1951 to open his downtown surgical practice.
With his partners, Horace Moore Jr. and Ellis Tinsley Sr., the practice ate the costs of uninsured patients, which lead to home-grown vegetables and fresh seafood sometimes piling up on their doorsteps.
“He did not turn anyone away that needed his help,” his grandson, Tram Williams told the Greater Wilmington Business Journal. “It seems that his medical career was so much more than a job.”
NCMS Board member Philip Brown, MD, a vascular surgeon and current chief of the medical staff at New Hanover Regional Medical Center said Dr. Williams is “a model for what doctors should be.”
Former NCMS President Michael Moulton, MD, an Emergency Department Physician and President of Medac in Wilmington wrote of Dr. Williams in his nomination for the Lifetime Achievement Award: “I have known Dr. Williams for more than twenty years and consider him a dear friend. He has dedicated his life to his patients, this community and truly is a health care hero. At 95 years old, in addition to his active involvement with our local Medical Society, he continues to lead the Retired Physicians’ Section of the New Hanover County[-Pender] Medical Society with great vigor and success. He continues to mentor physicians and serves as an inspiration to all physicians who know him.”