Dr. William Houston Brandon, Jr. --- Our Family sadly announces the death of our dear Bill on November 24, 2019. He was a loving and deeply caring husband, father, grandfather, brother, brother-in-law, uncle and physician. Bill loved life and enriched the lives of countless others.
Medicine was one of Bill’s greatest passions. He was proud to be a Mayo Clinic Doctor of Internal Medicine. While respecting the institution’s core values of integrated health care, he enjoyed the friendship of many inspirational Mayo colleagues.
Bill was a prodigious reader with an encyclopedic memory. He enjoyed art, music, literature and traveling with his family. He loved teaching and telling stories to the benefit of his grandchildren, nieces and nephews. All were amazed, touched and entertained by his many ad hoc lectures and stories of biology, anthropology, geology, history and politics, supplemented with tales of early escapades, harrowing Florida scuba adventures and fictional stories.
As a dedicated environmentalist, he served as the first Sarasota Florida Earth Day Chair in 1970, while teaching general and marine biology in the Florida high school system. As an amateur scuba diver, he spent some time building artificial reefs off the Florida west coast. He supported the Cross Florida Wildlife Corridor Program. After he retired, he successfully improved the family farm near Cartersville, GA, promoting the return of bees, butterflies, and wildlife. The Georgia property was his respite from the cares of life, and he enjoyed his time with the local neighbors.
Bill was born to William Houston Brandon and Lois Daniel Brandon in Cartersville, Georgia in 1943. His boyhood years there remained some of his best memories, including friends, family and enjoying the surrounding area. At times, he could be seen around town with his pet raccoon, Missy, in his bicycle basket. There, also, began a long line of dogs, with whom he formed great relationships. Exploration of the area’s Etowah Indian Mounds Historic site and local arrow head discoveries lead to a lifelong interest in native American anthropology. Bill helped to initiate a college scholarship fund at the Etowah Foundation in memory of his parents and beloved teachers Maggie and Nancy Irick.
After the family moved from Georgia to St. Petersburg Florida, Bill found new friends and excelled in high school. He attended Emory University from 1961-1963 and graduated from the University of Tennessee in 1965, majoring in Political Science and History. Although he envisioned a career in political science, he was soon drafted into the military during the Vietnam Era and trained as a Combat Medic at Fort Polk, LA and Fort Sam Houston, TX. This experience redirected him towards a medical career. After receiving a B.S. Degree in Biology/Chemistry from Memphis University in 1968, he returned to Tampa Bay, FL, where he taught high school biology and advanced world history at Plant High School (1968-1969). He was honorably discharged from the US Army in 1970. Thereafter, he enrolled in the Creighton University School of Medicine in Omaha, Nebraska. He completed his MD degree with advanced standing. In Omaha, he met and married Donna Marie Meyer, beginning their forty-six-year marriage and enduring relationships with Donna’s large, warm and welcoming Nebraska family.
Following graduation from Creighton, Bill and Donna had busy years as their family grew with the arrivals of Daniel and Michael. At the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN, he completed an Internship in Obstetrics and Gynecology and a General Medicine Residency with the honor of Chief Associate in Cardiology. After medical residency, Bill and Donna returned to Florida. The family grew further with Kristy’s birth. Donna, a medical technologist, helped him to establish a private Consulting and Primary Internal Medicine and Rheumatology Clinic based at Morton Plant Hospital where he served on the hospital’s Board of Directors and as Director of the institution’s Arthritis Center of Excellence. He practiced in Clearwater from 1978 until 1993. In 1993, he accepted an invitation to rejoin the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, FL., accepting an Internal Medicine teaching faculty and clinical practice position. He retired from practice in 2009 after the development of Lymphoma. Though retired, Bill maintained an active Florida medical license and current Internal Medicine and Rheumatology Board Certifications until shortly before his death from Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma on November 24, 2019.
Bill was recognized as one of Jacksonville’s Top Internists. He received several Internal Medical Resident Teaching Awards and the 2009 Dr. Eugene Page Mayo Chief of Staff Award for Excellence in Internal Medicine. He presented lectures in the US and Europe and was the recipient of the Charles K. Donegan Award for Distinguished Community Service from the Florida Chapter of the American College of physicians. He was peer named to the Best Doctors in America List, 2007-2009. His notable 45+ year diverse volunteer service included work with his wife, Donna, to help establish the first Indian-Chicano Free Health Clinic in Omaha with ongoing involvement in Native American Education and Health Care.
Bill was devoted to Donna, his children and grandchildren. He shared in the whole spectrum of life with his closest loved ones, delighting in being with his children, their loved ones and his grandchildren and marveling at their fantastic growth and unique abilities. Bill’s love will follow us throughout our lives and support us always, just as he did here.
Bill is survived by: His wife Donna; children, Dan Brandon, and grandchildren William, Brooke, and James; Michael Brandon (Lisa) and grandchildren Irick, Emry, Kyler and Rylen; and Dr. Kristy Brandon (Peter Keefner); and his sisters Betty (Dr. William Sims) and Catherine (Raymond F. Stainback, Jr). They and their extended families will miss him very much.
Although confirmed in the Catholic Church with his family, in recent years Bill wanted to “complete the circle” by returning to his Methodist roots. The visitation will be held from 1pm-2pm at the Sam Jones Memorial United Methodist Church (Cartersville, GA), on Saturday, December 7th. Followed by a joint Catholic and Methodist service at 2pm and the burial at Oak Hill Cemetery.
Owen Funeral Home is honored to serve the family in this most difficult time.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Creighton University School of Medicine class of 1974 Endowed Scholarship (800-334-8794 ext. 2412); or Brandon/Irick Memorial – Etowah Scholarship Foundation (ESF, P.O. Box 1239, Cartersville, GA, 30120, 770-382-1757).