William Jewell Collier, 88, passed away Wednesday Oct. 16, 2013, at home surrounded by his wife, four children and dear friend Tyler Hughes. Bill was born April 25, 1925, in rural Albany, Mo., to Ora and Mabel Blondina (Adkisson) Collier. Growing up in a farm family, his surgery skills began while skinning sheep and nutria. Always driven to learn new things, he was awarded Eagle Scout’s highest honor the Silver Palm, and had earned the most merit badges in the region. His love of both the piano and medicine began in high school as he assisted the local doctor in apothecary work, and taking piano lessons in the summer (He couldn’t afford to heat the room the piano was in during winter). After graduating from Albany High School, he planned to attend school to become a concert pianist, but instead he volunteered for the United States Navy and was assigned to the V-12 pre-med program at Tulane University. There he obtained a B.S. degree and then completed his medical doctorate at Wake Forest University. It was during his medical residency at the VA Hospital in Leavenworth he met his wife, Mary Evelyn Fisher ,who was working there as a medical secretary. They married March 29, 1952, in Leavenworth, and their honeymoon was spent traveling the south and up the East Coast to his assignment at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Md.
Bill and Mary moved to McPherson in 1958 to start a surgical practice. Shortly thereafter he purchased the D.F. Kuns house at 302 S. Walnut St., which is now listed on the National Historic Register. That same year he began flying lessons. After earning his private pilot license, he would fly to small towns across the state to perform surgery Dr. Collier closed his active surgical practice in December 1995 but continued to assist with surgery until December 2007.
Bill enjoyed playing the piano, flying his Mooney airplane, boating and traveling. His memberships included: Board of Directors of the Home State Bank and Trust Co., founding member of the McPherson City-County Airport Board, McPherson Hospital MACCO Board of Trustees, First Christian Church (elder emeritus), lifetime member of the American Legion Post 24, McPherson Rotary Club, McPherson County Medical Society, Kansas State Medical Society, American Medical Association, American College of Surgeons, Southwestern Surgical Congress, Flying Physicians Association, Kansas Pilots Association, Mooney Aircraft Pilots Association, Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association and United Flying Octogenarians.
He was preceded in death by his parents and a brother, Ora Collier Jr.
Survivors include his loving and devoted wife of more than 61 years, Mary Collier of the home, son, William J. Collier II DDS Auke Bay, Ark.; daughters, Sherry (Bill) Young Juneau, Ark., Terri Collier, McPherson, and Linda (Guy) Beougher, McLean, Va., his sister, Maxine Wilson of St. Louis; grandchildren, Joshua and Zachary Young, Bend Ore., William J. III and Frederick Collier, Auke Bay, Ark., Jacob Velasquez, Houston, Grace Velasquez, Bonney, Texas, Mary and Sarah Beougher, McLean, Va., other relatives, and a host of friends.
Page 2 of 2 - Visitation will be from 4 to 7 p.m. with family present from 5 to 7 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 23, 2013, at Glidden-Ediger Funeral Home, McPherson.
Services will be on Thursday, Oct. 24, 2013, at 11a.m. at the First Christian Church with Pastor Lynn Scott officiating.
Burial will follow at the McPherson Cemetery with military honors presented by members of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 2715 and American Legion Post 24, both of McPherson.
Memorial donations may be given to either the First Christian Church, or McPherson Hospital, both of McPherson, and can be sent in care of the Glidden–Ediger Funeral Home 222 W. Euclid St.; McPherson, KS 67460.