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Obituary: Donald B. Williams, M.D. – Boxing, Football – March 4, 2006



                Funeral services will be held at 9:00 AM Wednesday, March 8, 2006 in the Delhomme Chapel of the Flowers for Donald B. Williams, M.D., 93, who passed away Saturday, March 4, 2006 at Courtyard Manor.
                Interment will take place at Graceland Cemetery in Abbeville.
                Rev. Weldon Bares will conduct the services.
                Donald Burt Williams was born August 6, 1912, on his grandfather’s farm “The Place” in Prairie Gregg, Louisiana to James Hugh Williams and Estella Morgan.  In 1913, he moved with his family to Abbeville where his father became the Superintendent of the Vermilion Parish School System. In 1929, after completing his elementary and high school education in Vermilion Parish, Donald entered SLI to study engineering. He lettered in boxing as SLI and held membership in the S Club and the USL Ragin Cajun Club.
                In 1937, Donald was a graduate from the LSU School of Medicine. He interned at the New Orleans Charity Hospital and accepted a residency in Surgery at the same institution. During his residency, he served as Senior Resident Surgeon and Visiting Surgeon (on Army Leave 1942-46). He held a teaching appointment as a Clinical
Associate Professor of Surgery at the LSU School of Medicine from 1961-1972. In 1943, he completed post-graduate studies in General and Thoracic Surgery at Stanford and the Doctor Williams served in the United States Army during World War II. He was attached to the 64th General Hospital in North Africa and later with the renowned 2nd Auxiliary Surgical Group in Italy, France, Germany, and Austria. He received special commendations for operating on battle casualties under enemy fire on Anzio Beachhead.  He later served with the assault troops of the famed 3rd Division on the invasion of Southern France. His unit was one of the first to reach the Rhine, Dauchau, and Munich.  He served as Chief of a Thoracic Surgical team of the 2nd Auxiliary Surgical Group in Northern France and Germany during 1944-45. He also served as Chief of Surgery of the l82nd Station Hospital at the close of hostilities with the Germans. For his dedication to operating on battle casualties under enemy fire on Anzio Beachhead as well as for his service during the war, Donald was awarded the Meritorious Service Plaque, 4 Battle campaign stars, and the Bronze Star.


                Upon discharge from the Army in 1946, Dr. Williams opened a surgery practice in Lafayette. At that time, he was the first Surgeon practicing in the area who was certified by the American Board of Surgery. Having gained considerable experience in traumatic and thoracic surgery during the war, Donald was a pioneer in major surgery of the chest, abdomen, and extremities. He not only found himself on call in Lafayette but also in the hospitals within the surrounding communities. He was a practicing physician for almost 50 years.


                Doctor Williams remained associated with Lafayette Charity Hospital throughout his entire surgical career and after his retirement from active practice. He served as Chief of General and Thoracic Surgery Staff from 1948-1970. In addition, he was instrumental in the establishment of, and locally in charge, of the first affiliated surgical residency program with the LSU School of Medicine of Lafayette Charity Hospital, now the University Medical Center.


                In 1956, when the Lafayette Tuberculosis Hospital was built, Dr. Williams became Chief of Thoracic and Tuberculosis Surgery. He virtually consulted, operated on, or assisted at surgery on every patient requiring surgery during the existence of the Tuberculosis facility.  Donald served as the first Chief of Surgery at Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital and as a member of the Board of Trustees, Chief of Staff, Chief of Surgery at Lafayette General Hospital during his career. One of his many professional accomplishments was the establishment of the James D. Rives, M.D. Surgical Society which was organized for educational and scientific purposes in the field of Surgery. Named for his mentor, Dr. Rives, this Society has led to the organization of the first permanently endowed Visiting Professorship of the LSU School of Medicine in the field of Surgery. This professorship has contributed markedly to the teaching program in the LSU Department of Surgery.


                Known for his dedication to education, Dr. Williams established Endowed Awards in Nursing Known for his dedication to education in 1962 through the USL Foundation. In addition, he has endowed the Donald Burt Williams Professorship in Nursing. He served for many years on the USL Foundation Board of Directors and was recognized as a Distinguished Donor to the University in 1983.


                Throughout his career, Dr. Williams was closely associated with the American Cancer Society. He served on the Louisiana Board of Directors of that organization for over thirty years and held many offices in the local level. Donald was directlyresponsible for the contribution from the Louisiana Division of the American Cancer Society and plans which led the establishment of a Tumor Registery at Lafayette Charity Hospital, one of the first in the area. He was recognized by the National American Cancer Society for his service in 1962. He also served on the original Board of Directors
for Hospice of Acadiana and was actively involved in the early years of the organization. During his long and distinguished career as a surgeon, Dr. Williams belonged to many professional organizations whose membership he served. He has published articles in journals and medical texts outlining his surgical techniques.


                Dr. Williams is survived by his wife, Ruth of Lafayette. He is also survived by his grandson, Donald B. Williams, M.D. on Nashville, TN and his wife Susan, and their three children, Comer Gates, Carlton Morgan, and Anne Williams Griffin, as well as his granddaughter, Stella Morgan and her husband Ralph Goodyear.


                Dr. Williams was preceded in death by his daughter, Judy Landry; parents; and brothers, Preston Williams and H. Bartels Williams.


                Visiting hours will be observed on Tuesday from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm.


                Honorary pallbearers will be Al Beacham, M.D., Maurice Sullivan, M.D., William Bernard, M.D., Harold Chastant, M.D., Martin Ducote, M.D., Doyce D. Morton, Mike Mounir, M.D., David Rees, M.D., Barry Bohn, M.D., James Landry, and Gregory Townley, Jr.


                Donations can be made to the American Cancer Society, 1604 W. Pinhook, Lafayette, LA 70508, or to Hospice of Acadiana, 2600 Johnston Street, Lafayette, LA 70503.


                The family would like to extend special thanks to Joan, Diane, Lois, Dorothy, Pemiy, and all the caregivers who took such loving care and kindness of Doc.


                Delhomme Funeral Home, 1011 Bertrand Drive, is in charge of all funeral arrangements.