John H. Williamson

Dr. John Hybert Williamson, 84, of Davidson, NC passed away on February 22, 2023. John (Hybert to hometown friends and family) was born in Clarkton, NC, on April 28, 1938 to Mary Elizabeth Ballentine and Robert Bennett Williamson. He attended Clarkton Elementary and High Schools, graduating in 1956. He married Marcia Ann Van Dusen from Lockport, NY on May 11, 1963, who preceded him in death after 46 years of marriage in 2009. After Marcia’s death, John moved to The Pines at Davidson, where he lived surrounded by a large circle of friends.

John pursued a rich and honored career in genetics. He attended the North Carolina State College (now NC State University) in the Talent for Service scholarship program. He graduated with honors in 1960 and subsequently earned degrees from Cornell University (M.S. 1963) and the University of Georgia (Ph.D. 1966). After a post-doctoral fellowship at University of California at Riverside, he became a professor in the Biology Department at the University of Calgary in Alberta, Canada from 1969-1981, where he taught biology, conducted research in genetics, and served as Head of the Department. The opportunity to return home to North Carolina arose and John became the Chair of the Biology Department at Davidson College in 1981 and was the Herman Brown Professor until his retirement in 2000. His hard work and dedication resulted in over 100 publications. He made the world a better place by challenging thousands of students to think critically, see the world of biology with passion, and gain a sound education through hard work and perseverance.

John enjoyed gardening, genealogy, playing bridge (becoming a Life Master), travelling, reading, canning jams and preserves, music and above all, family. He was admired and inspired by all who knew him. In addition to his wife, he was preceded in death by his siblings Shirley Williamson Wooten, Charles Bennett Williamson and Phillip Henderson Williamson. John is survived by his sisters-in-law Jan Williamson Leppanen and Binky Aikman, children Dhelia (Glen Satten), Robert (Kelly) and Dean Williamson and grandchildren Jessica (Mitch Colston), Gentry, Sadie, Victoria and Iva, as well as many nieces, nephews, great nieces and nephews.

A celebration of his life will be held March 25, 2023 at Erwin Lodge, 1345 Grey Road Davidson, NC from 1-5 pm.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be sent to the John and Marcia Williamson Endowment at Central Carolina Community Foundation at 1105 Kelly Drive, Sanford, NC 27330 ( in memory of John Williamson).

James Funeral Home, of Huntersville, is serving the family and obituary lovingly written by the family.