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Dr. William Paige Gollihar, Sr., 91, of Abilene, Texas, passed away on Tuesday, July 27, 2021 at his home. Visitation will be Friday, July 30th at The Hamil Family Funeral Home, 6449 Buffalo Gap Road, from 5:00 to 6:30 pm. Funeral services will be held at 11:00 am on Saturday, July 31st at St. Paul United Methodist Church, 525 Beech Street, with Reverend Steve Patterson, Reverend Bill Libby and Adam Samuels officiating. Burial will follow 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. At age 5, the family moved to Arlington, Virginia, where his father was employed by the Federal Land Bank and worked for the US Department of Agriculture in Washington, DC. In 1941, they returned to Spur, Texas, to operate the family farm. He 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 US Army Medical Corp from 1955-1957 and was stationed at Fort Smith, Arkansas. He began his general medical practice in Sweetwater, Texas, at the Young Clinic from 1957-1963. He received his ophthalmology training and residency at Erlanger Hospital in Chattanooga, Tennessee, from 1963-1966. He then moved to Abilene, Texas, and opened an ophthalmology practice there from 1966-1992. During that time, he was a member of Texas Ophthalmological Association, Fellow of the American College of Surgeons, Texas Medical Association, Texas Society of Ophthalmology and Otolaryngology, and Taylor-Jones-Haskell Medical Society. 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 1980-1981. After retirement, he provided ophthalmologic services to Abilene State Supported Living Center. In addition, he was Commodore of the Abilene Sailing Association, 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.
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