Dr. James A. Williams, a longtime dentist who also was devoted to the well-being of animals, died Monday in his Berkey home, one day shy of his 64th birthday. The cause of death is believed to be heart failure, his wife Cathi said.
For most of his career, Dr. Williams practiced general dentistry at 5705 Dorr St. He retired from his solo practice in March, 2009, because of failing health and the fact that his landlord was closing the building. He continued his consulting work for Paramount Health Care, where he reviewed Medicaid cases.
"He was a kind, gentle, caring man who saw thousands of patients as a dentist," Mrs. Williams said. "He loved working with patients. If somebody couldn't afford something such as a denture or a partial, he made sure they got it anyway."
Dr. Williams' abiding pastime was animals. He had seven cats in his home and fed many more feral felines outside. Over the years, he owned sheep, goats, and dogs, and bred peacocks, pheasant, ducks, swans, chickens, and miniature horses.
"He really felt that it was our place to take care of animals. He couldn't stand to see an animal in pain," Mrs. Williams said.
He would only sell a pheasant or duck to a fellow hobbyist. "He always made sure they wanted it for breeding and keeping, not for eating," she said.
He also was an avid gardener whose plantings included fruit trees, raspberry bushes, cabbages, and sunflowers in his two-acre yard, and a collector of antique tractors that were all in working order.
He and Mrs. Williams married in 2009, but had been together since 2005. They met through Paramount, where she works in the provider-relations department and recruited him. He and his first wife, Pamela Williams, were married for 32 years and lived in Sylvania Township.
Dr. Williams grew up in Perrysburg, the second of Mary and Arthur Williams' four children. He graduated from Perrysburg High School, the University of Cincinnati, and the Ohio State University College of Dentistry.
As a boy, he delivered The Blade in Perrysburg and worked at Kazmaier's 5 Star Market. He also learned to operate the equipment used by his father's Maumee cement company.
Surviving are his wife, Cathi Williams; sister, Laura Yaussy, and stepsons, Bret and Pete Clark.
Services will be at 11 a.m. Saturday at the Dowling Funeral Home, Sylvania Township, where visitation will be from 4 to 8 p.m. Friday.
The family suggests memorial tributes to the Richfield Township Fire Department, the Toledo Area Humane Society, or Nature's Nursery.