Richard Carl Williams, MD, passed away peacefully at age 90 on June 19, 2019, at his longtime home in San Luis Obispo, California. He was surrounded in life and at the time of his passing by a loving, grateful family.
His was a full and well lived life, of which we are all very proud. He was born to two wonderful parents, Carl and Irene Williams, in southeast Arizona and grew up in Safford, Arizona. He learned to work hard as a young boy and regarded this as one of life's most important lessons, passing that work ethic on to his children. In high school, he was class president, student body president, and a straight-A student. He was an outstanding, multi-sport athlete and was recruited by several major collegiate programs. He was accepted to both West Point and Annapolis, but elected to serve his country as a pilot and joined the Air Force.
About this time he literally bumped into the love of his life, Gloria Mae Holt, while attending church one day, and this began a 71 year love story for the ages. He married our beautiful mother and together began a family of eight children. He was a pilot in the Strategic Air command, flying a B-29 Flying Fortress during the Korean War. He loved to fly, but the tragedy of losing a son, Richard Craig, to illness drove his decision to become a physician and help others to heal.
After an honorable discharge, he began many impossibly difficult years of working night after night, going to school full time, and being a great Dad to seven children. Our memories of this time are of a happy, loving young man who never complained or showed the strain of working ceaselessly to build our family's future.
He completed a Bachelor's degree at UCLA, and found a home for medical school at the University of Southern California. Typically, he was elected president of the student body and, when he saw a need, actually secured funding for construction of medical student housing on campus.
After medical school, he was trained in Neurosurgery at Huntington Memorial Hospital in Pasadena, by two giants of the field, Hunter Sheldon and Robert Pudenz. It was there that he learned both the science and art of medicine, to the great benefit of so many in the years to come. Upon completion of his residency, he brought those skills to the central coast.
Moving to San Luis Obispo in 1967 began a lifetime of loyal service and affection for Santa Maria, San Luis Obispo, and the surrounding community. The small cottage hospital of Sierra Vista grew to a major regional medical center due in no small part to the high volume and high quality Neurosurgery he practiced. He was the neurosurgeon that would be there in the morning as well as the middle of the night for you or your family. He was confident, fearless, caring, and technically brilliant. As a family, we accepted and appreciated the enormous time this required because we knew that it was the work he loved, and was born to do.
As it does with even the strongest of lions, the years of hard work and burdens he bore so unflinchingly eventually took their toll. This giant of a man is now getting to know our brother, Richard Craig Williams. Living to continue to honor his memory are his loving and devoted wife, Gloria Mae Williams, and his children, Rick Williams, Crystal Hicken (Mike), Cindy Holbrook (Rick), Richard Williams (Jane), Glori Williams, Holly Seeds (Ron), and Wendy Moss (Rob), along with 18 grandchildren and 8 great grandchildren. He was predeceased by his sister, Barbara Jean Richey.
In lieu of flowers, Dad would appreciate any donations be made to St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, TN. We would like to express our gratitude for the care of Wilshire Home Health and Brightstar Care. There was a memorial service at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints at 651 Foothill Blvd, San Luis, Obispo, CA, 93405, on Saturday, June 29, 2019, at 11:00 AM. He will be interred in the Los Osos Memorial Park in Los Osos, California, where the sun, gentle inland sea breezes, and rolling hills will provide him with the blessed rest he so richly deserves. Thank you, Dad, from all of us.