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Dr. William Paige Gollihar, Sr., 1930–2021

Wednesday, August 4, 2021
Dr. William Paige Gollihar, Sr., 1930–2021

ABILENE—Dr. William Paige Gollihar, Sr., 91, of Abilene, Texas, passed away on Tuesday, July 27, 2021 at his home. Visitation was on Friday, July 30 at the Hamil Family Funeral Home, 6449 Buffalo Gap Road, from 5:00 to 6:30 p.m. Funeral services were held at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, July 31 at St. Paul United Methodist Church, 525 Beech Street, with Rev. Steve Patterson, Rev. Bill Libby and Adam Samuels officiating. Burial followed at Elmwood Memorial Park.

Bill was born on the family farm near McAdoo, Texas, on April 16, 1930. He was the only child of Paige Evans Gollihar and Willie Marguerite Barton Gollihar. When Bill was 5, the family moved to Arlington, Virginia, where his father was employed by the Federal Land Bank and worked for the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Washington, D.C. In 1941, they returned to Spur, Texas, to operate the family farm.

Bill graduated from Spur High School in 1947 and attended North Texas Agricultural College (NTAC), now UT Arlington, and the University of Texas at Austin. He graduated with a Doctor of Medicine from UT Southwestern Medical Center in 1954. While in medical school he married Martha Jane Barnes. After his medical residency, he served in the U.S. Army Medical Corps from 1955 to 1957 and was stationed at Fort Smith, Arkansas.

Bill began his general medical practice in Sweetwater, Texas, at the Young Clinic from 1957 to 1963. He received his ophthalmology training and residency at Erlanger Hospital in Chattanooga, Tennessee, from 1963 to 1966. He then moved to Abilene, Texas, and opened an ophthalmology practice there from 1966 to 1992. During that time, he was a member of Texas Ophthalmological Association, the Texas Medical Association, the Texas Society of Ophthalmology and Otolaryngology, and the Taylor-Jones-Haskell Medical Society and was a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons. He spent several weeks in Anguilla in 1971 providing free ophthalmologic services with the Laos Mission Initiative associated with the Methodist Church. He also served as chief of staff at Hendrick Medical Center from 1980 to 1981.

After retirement, Bill provided ophthalmologic services to the Abilene State Supported Living Center. In addition, he was commodore of the Abilene Sailing Association and a docent for Frontier Texas, and served on several boards of St. Paul United Methodist Church. After the death of his first wife in 2004, he married Virginia Ruth Shugart, a childhood friend.

Bill is preceded in death by his parents, his first wife, and great-grandchildren, Hailey and Mason.

He is survived by his wife, Virginia Ruth (Shugart) Gollihar, his children, Janet Gollihar Copeland and husband, Mike; Paige Gollihar and wife, Mandy; Tricia Gollihar Hays and husband, Phillip; and stepchildren, Marcus Cox and wife, Carlene; Robert Cox; Laura Smyer and husband, Scott. He was a loving Grandfather to Josh and Tanya Copeland; Kristen Copeland; Zach and Lorie Copeland; Caitlin and David Phillips; Sarah and Heath Allen; Trip and Joy Gollihar; Trotter Gollihar; Joshua and Garolyn Jergins; Jonathan and Meredith Jergins; Jennifer and David Harper; Lesley and Dustin Barinka, Olivia Smyer; 24 great-grandchildren; 2 great-great-grandchildren and another due in February 2022.

Pallbearers will be grandsons, Josh, Zach, Trip and Trotter; grandsons-in-law, David, Heath, David and Dustin. Honorary Pallbearers will be members of the Beacon Sunday School Class.

Memorials may be made to St. Paul United Methodist Church, Hendrick Medical Center Foundation or the donor’s charity of choice.

The family wishes to extend their sincere thanks to his caregivers from Visiting Angels.