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Dr. Thomas died peacefully in his sleep on Christmas Day, 2010, at the age of ninety-one.

The son of long-time Gainesville obstetrician W. C. Thomas Sr. and Margaret Smith Thomas, he leaves behind his beloved wife of 64 years, Brenda Wiltshire Thomas. Other family members are sister Betty Thomas Graham (Lee) of Tallahassee, his four children, Sharron Thomas Cochran of Bethesda MD, Clark Thomas (Mary Beth) of Nashville TN, Lynn Thomas of Gainesville, Valerie Thomas Bukharin (Oleg) of Kensington MD, and seven grandchildren, Lauren and Blake Cochran, Jay, Brian and Billy Thomas, and Irina and Alexander Bukharin.

Bill was born in Bartow GA, on April 7, 1919, grew up in Gainesville, and went to Gainesville High School. He graduated from the University of Florida and Cornell Medical School, and completed post-doctoratal fellowship training at Johns Hopkins Medical School.

He served on Guam as a Army physician in WWII, returned home to Gainesville and married Brenda in 1946. After three years of residency at Cornell in New York City he was in private practice in Gainesville with Dr. Henry H. Graham for five years. He then received his additional training in endocrinology at Johns Hopkins, and in 1957 joined the original faculty of the UF College of Medicine.

For most of his career, Dr. Thomas was a professor of internal medicine at the University of Florida, specializing in endocrinology. His research focused on calcium metabolism and kidney stones, for which he was recognized as an authority in the field. From the early 1970s he served both at Shands and at the Verterans Administration Medical Center in positions including Director of the UF Clinical Research Center, Director of the VA Geriatric Center and Chief of Staff at the VA. He retired in 1996.

Billy and his wife lived at Gainesville's Oak Hammock since it opened in 2004. The local Alzheimer's Association has established an annual award in his name.

A memorial service will be held at Holy Trinity Episcopal Church at 100 NE First Street in Gainesville, at 1:00 on Thursday, January 6th. "Stories of his life are being collected at Simple/Photographs.com/BillyThomas".

In lieu of flowers donations can be made to the Central Florida Alzheimer's Assoc. (352-372-6266), The Oak Hammock Benevolent Fund (352-548-1000), or Holy Trinity Episcopal Church (352-372-4721).

Published in Gainesville Sun from Dec. 29, 2010 to Jan. 7, 2011
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