Dr. William Preston Wilson Bill, 90, died Wednesday, Sept. 18. He is survived by his wife of 63 years Elizabeth Taylor Wilson and five children, Bill Wilson and Kathy of Massachusetts, Ben Wilson and Liz of Leasburg, Karen Chamberlin and Jeremiah of Farmville, Tammy Wilson-Roberts and Roy, of Massachusetts and Bob Wilson and Angela of Durham. Also surviving are seventeen grandchildren and five great grandchildren.
Born in Fayetteville, Bill Wilson received both his undergraduate and medical degrees from Duke University. After interning at Gorgas Hospital in the Panama Canal Zone, he entered psychiatric residency at Duke University, training in both child and adult psychiatry and neurology. Dr. Wilson received further training in neuroscience at McGill University and the Montreal Neurological Institute before joining the faculty at Duke University in 1955.
Wilson left for three years to become head of the Division of Biological Psychiatry at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, Texas, then returned to Duke in 1961. For the next twenty years Dr. Wilson directed the EEG laboratories at Duke Medical Center. In 1964, he was appointed Professor of Psychiatry. He established the program for Christianity, medicine and psychiatry at Duke and trained 138 medical students and psychiatrists in integrative medicine. He resigned the post of division head in 1983 and retired from Duke in 1984.
Post-retirement, Dr. Wilson continued teaching as Distinguished Professor of Counseling at Carolina Graduate School of Divinity in Greensboro for 13 years and saw patients while he was Director of the Institute of Christian Growth in Graham. He retired from the practice of medicine in 2007 after 62 years.
Dr. Bill as he was known by many delighted in pouring his life into his students and witnessing and teaching of the healing power of Jesus Christ through the Holy Spirit. He loved the outdoors and enjoyed teaching the principles of scouting to young men. Right up to his final days he was leading his grandsons through scouting’s God and Country program.
The author of 168 scientific and religion articles, Dr. Wilson regularly contributed to several religious newsletters and magazines. He edited two books and co-authored a book with Kathryn Slattery, The Grace to Grow, the Power of Christian Faith in Emotional Healing. His most recent book was The Nuts and Bolts of Discipleship.
Dr. Wilson’s work with a variety of mission agencies, national churches and Christian organizations took him all over the United States as well as to 31 countries, teaching primarily in medical schools, seminaries and hospitals. He held numerous offices in state, regional and national medical organizations. He was former president of the Southern Psychiatric Association and a member of the board of directors for the American Association of Christian Counselors.
A frequent speaker at conferences that relate Christianity to psychiatry and psychology, Dr. Wilson was Finch Lecturer at Fuller Theological Seminary in 1974. He was awarded the Pioneer Award in Christian Psychiatry at the First International Congress on Christian Counseling. He also received the Ephraim McDowell Medal from the Christian Medical Foundation, the 1996 Educator of the Year from the Christian Medical and Dental Association, and in 2011 was awarded the President’s Heritage award of the Christian Medical and Dental Association.
Locally, Dr. Wilson served as president of the PTA in two local Durham schools. He was an active scout leader, serving in many capacities including Cubmaster, Scoutmaster and Explorer Advisor. He served as Commander of the Durham Power Squadron, a boating safety organization.
He was active in his local church, as well as the Methodist Lay Witness movement. He was president of the United Methodist Church Renewal Services Fellowship and director of Good News, a forum for scriptural Christianity in Methodism.
Friends may visit from 6:00 – 8:00pm Saturday, Sept 21 at Hall-Wynne Funeral Service, Durham.
A memorial service will be held 2:00pm Sunday, Sept. 22 at McMannen United Methodist Church, Durham.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be sent to the Carolina Graduate School of Divinity, PO Box 7148 Greensboro, NC 27417 or Duke Homecare & Hospice, 4321 Medical Park Drive, Suite 101, Durham, NC 27704.
The Wilson family is under the care of Hall-Wynne Funeral Service, Durham. On-line memorials: www.hallwynne.com. Select obituaries.