2007-10-11 / Front Page

Dr. Charles Wills dies at 83; his deeds stand for themselves

Dr. Charles Wills could never be accused of coddling a patient or spouting worn platitudes to a family member.

He was a matter-of-fact kind of man. Cancer was cancer. Although his delivery was honest and direct, and his feelings were nowhere near his sleeve, his patients knew the heart of the man.

Medicine was not only his Dr. Wills' vocation; it was his ministry. The low key, seemingly detached physician had a rare willingness simply to listen, a driving thirst for knowledge, and an abiding concern for the wellbeing of his patients.

When the call came, Dr. Wills was there whether it was 3 a.m. or tee time at the country club. He visited countless homes where all hope had faded. He was there when many drew their last breath.

Throughout the years, it was Dr. Wills who stitched up our cuts, set our broken arms, took out our gall bladders, delivered our babies, and until the very day he retired, visited us at home. He came along before the day when there was a specialist for every body part; he could do anything.

Dr. Wills passed away Thursday, October 4, at the age of 83. He had retired just a few days earlier.

A life-long resident of Wilkes County, Dr. Wills earned his medical degree at the Medical College of Georgia. After completing a one-year residency at a hospital in New York, he and his wife, Tut, moved back home where he received further instruction in the art of medicine from his father, Dr. C. Edward Wills; Dr. Addison Simpson; Dr. Addison Simpson, Jr.; and Dr. Robert Stephens.

His practice was interrupted when he was drafted to serve in the United States Army during the Korean War. He was stationed at the hospital at Fort Benning in Columbus.

Dr. Wills then returned to Washington to stay. He and his wife had seven children, one girl and six boys, and 19 grandchildren.

The Wills' son, Joe, is a surgeon in Thomson, and grandson Henry Garrard is a pediatrician in Athens.

It is difficultto say good-bye to Dr. Wills. We will not see the likes of him again.

In addition to being a devoted physician, he was a deeply spiritual person, with an extraordinary sense of humor.

However, being the modest, private man that he was, he would recoil at every word written here. He would simply want his reputation and deeds to stand for themselves, and so they do.

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