Philip Lon Williams, M.D., 81, departed this earthly life for his Heavenly home on June 17, 2014. The celebration honoring Philip's life will be held at Gadsden First United Methodist Church on Saturday, June 21, 2014, at 2 p.m., with the committal service at Forrest Cemetery, Gadsden, Ala. The family will receive friends from noon until time of service in the church parlor. Crestwood Funeral Home directing.
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Dr. Williams was born May 6, 1933, the only child of Marvin Candler Williams and Maude Rabon Williams. Reared in the Methodist Church, he was a lifelong member of Gadsden First United Methodist. He served as Chairman of the Trustees and sang in the Chancel Choir until he could physically no longer make it into the choir loft.
Dr. Williams was educated in the public schools of Gadsden and graduated Gadsden High School as Salutatorian, Class of 1950. He attended Vanderbilt University as a Founders Scholar and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa in his junior year and graduated magna cum laude. He received his M.D. degree from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, and served as an intern in surgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital. Further post-graduate training in surgery and orthopaedic surgery was completed at Vanderbilt University Hospital.
Following the completion of his residency training, he was admitted to Fellowship in the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgery.
Dr. Williams served as a Commissioned Officer in the U. S. Public Health Service for two years and was discharged as a Senior Assistant Surgeon in 1965. He entered the private practice of Orthopaedic Surgery in Gadsden, and enjoyed 35 years of service to the community until his retirement in 2000. He served as President of the Medical Staff at Baptist Memorial Hospital and President of the Alabama Orthopaedic Society. He was a founding member of Gadsden Orthopaedic Associates, his practice group.
Philip was an accomplished woodworker and created many beautiful pieces of furniture for his and Marsha's home. He loved nothing more than the sound of a sharp plane raising a nearly transparent shaving of hardwood. He maintained that every orthopaedist had to have some vestige of woodworker and mechanic in his soul.
Dr. Williams was an enthusiastic and capable sailor and spent much of his adult life "simply messing around in boats." He alleged he had endured every disaster known to man (and a few, conceived by the Devil) in connection with trailering, launching and operating boats, both power and sail. He often said Marsha was the only woman he had ever known who could launch and recover a trailered boat without adverse event.
Philip enjoyed a lifelong love affair with music of all kinds, but he particularly enjoyed classical music and jazz. He played trumpet with Kings of Swing for several years and amassed a large collection of recordings of his favorite genres. He credited the late Dr. Mort Glosser with enhancing his love of education and music.
Philip is survived by his devoted, loving wife, Marsha Moon Williams; his children, Cameron Williams McElveen, Jeffrey Williams, Valerie Williams Pennington, Jonathan Williams, Dan Williams, chosen daughter, Kristi James; seven grandchildren; three chosen grandchildren; and one great-grandchild. He is also survived by his loving and devoted canine companion, Czar.
Pallbearers are Charlie Huguley, Bobby Killingsworth, Jim Palmer, Lee Cox, Norman Dasinger, James Pruett, LeRoy Falcon and Gerald Moon.
Honorary pallbearers are Gadsden Orthopaedics, Gadsden Regional Medical Center Staff, Dr. Elquis Castillo, Dr. William Haller III, Dr. Lucian Newman Jr., Dr. Chester Hicks, Dr. Seth Spotnitz, Dr. Lowndes Harrison, Dr. Henry Ruiz, Dr. Jerry Chandler, Dr. Gary Monheit, Dr. Keith LeBlanc, Dr. Jason Ayres, Advanced Imaging, Mr. Lon Williams, The Welch Group, The Kings of Swing and the Thursday Night Study Group.
A heartfelt thank you to Gentiva Home Health, Lawley Hospice, Super Bee Pharmacy and the many close friends for calls of comfort, prayers, preparing and delivering food to the home during these last few months.
In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts may be made to the Gadsden First United Methodist Church Music Fund or
Dr. Williams left a wish for those whom he leaves behind, "that they enjoy fair winds and a following sea," and a blessing: "May the gentle love of God forever hold you in the palm of His hand."
Crestwood Memorial Funeral Home - Gadsden
2209 East Broad Street Gadsden, AL 35903
Published in The Gadsden Times on June 20, 2014