July 8, 2020

Remembering and Honoring One of Our Founders

Dale L. Williams, M.D. - a long-time member of our Development Advisory Committee, colleague, and friend - passed away on February 20, 2020. 

Christel and Dale Williams, M.D.
Christel and Dale Williams, M.D.

Dr. Williams graduated from Wayne State University Medical School in 1964 and was a family physician in practice in Muskegon, Michigan. In the mid-1970s, he was asked to join a group of colleagues who presented a proposal to the U-M Board of Regents and the U-M Medical School to develop a department of family medicine. This department would encourage comprehensive, compassionate care for the entire family, as well as train future leaders in this specialty. Although the proposal met with some resistance, the group persevered, and in 1978 the Department of Family Medicine was created.

Prior to this, in 1973, Dr. Williams established the Koinonia Medical Clinic, now known as the Muskegon Family Care Center, where medical care was provided without regard to patient income.

Dr. Williams’ generosity was boundless, as he was also committed to missionary work all over the world. This included spending a year at Pingtung Children's Hospital in Taiwan, as well as conducting mission work in China, Haiti, Nicaragua, Ethiopia, the Congo and Rwanda. In his later years of mission work, he supplied hundreds of K-Lights, a reliable solar lantern which Dr. Williams designed and manufactured, to areas without access to electricity. His final passion and vision in life focused on a product that provides safe drinking water to those in need, particularly those in Africa. His vision continues through the work of his two partners who carry his legacy of hope for safe drinking water for everyone.

Dr. Williams retired from family practice in Muskegon after 30 years, and he and his wife, Christel, split their time between Grand Rapids and Florida.

In 2009, Dr. Williams established the Dale L. Williams, M.D., Family Medicine Scholarship that has been awarded annually to senior medical students who match into the family medicine program at U-M.

His legacy will live on in the indelible impact he made in the Department of Family Medicine, in the lives of future generations of family medicine students who will benefit from his generosity, and in the countless communities who benefited from his mission work.