William Hollister ’51

‘I cannot rest from travel: I will drink life to the lees.’ That immortal line of poetry by Tennyson was one of our father’s favorites and it served as his life’s motto.

A life-long seeker of adventure and travel, William Hollister, 92, embarked on his final and most epic voyage on Father’s Day, June 20, 2021. Born to medical missionaries in Mokpo, Korea, Bill was nick-named, “Billy Go Hollister” by his mother, who noted at an early age his passion for discovering and exploring new horizons both near and far.

A graduate of The McCallie School in Chattanooga, Tennessee, Bill graduated from Davidson College in 1951, promptly married his hometown sweetheart, Jacqueline Bryan Wade, then attended the University of Maryland Medical School in Baltimore, Md. He completed a year of internship at the Medical College of Virginia before crossing the Mediterranean Sea with the Navy aboard the USS Rockbridge, serving as the ship’s doctor.

After serving in the Navy for two years, Bill completed four years of surgical residency at the Medical College of Virginia. Bill moved to Fredericksburg in 1962 to join the surgical practice of his friend and partner, Dr. Richmond Low. He would be a general surgeon at Mary Washington Hospital for the next 33 years, making house calls and providing devoted care to his patients despite their means, all the while traveling extensively with his wife, his family members, and friends.

He traveled with People to People to China to perform surgery with a team of doctors and nurses and went on safari in Africa as the expedition’s physician. He was a long-time member of the Presbyterian church in Fredericksburg serving as a Sunday school teacher, a Deacon and an Elder for many years.

He will be remembered for his love and devotion to his family and friends, his clever wit, his great sense of humor, his love of poetry and literature, and his boundless curiosity. We cherish memories of his writing clues for his family members to find their hidden birthday gifts, the family skiing trips, the Maryland Terps football games, the entertaining car rides to New Bern and Atlantic Beach, and the ability to make us all laugh at any given moment- even during his final days. He was also a sentimental man, who had a soft spot for stray animals.

Bill leaves behind his wife, Jackie, and his four children: Jackie, Chi (John), Bill and Sarah, along with grandchildren Buck Decatur, Wade (Ashley) Gustafson, Greta (Ronnie) Hobbs, Stephen (Annie) Potts, Emily and Will Potts, and two great-grandchildren Connor and Madelyn Hobbs. He also leaves behind a brother, Robert M. Hollister and a sister, Emily Hollister Vecella. He was preceded in death by his parents William and Emily Hollister and his brother, Gordon Hollister.

A family graveside service will be held in the Hollister family plot in Cedar Grove Cemetery, in Bill’s hometown of New Bern, North Carolina. The family would like to extend a special thank you to his many caregivers, especially Denise Ott and Stella Adeniji and to his supportive Hospice team.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to The Fredericksburg Presbyterian Church, Mary Washington Hospice or the Fredericksburg SPCA.

Copyright: © Copyright 2021, The Free Lance-Star, Fredericksburg, VA