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William Earl Davis III

William Earl Davis III


William Earl Davis III passed away Monday, Nov. 2, 2020. He was born in Moline, Ill., Aug. 5, 1940, to parents William Earl Davis Jr. and Betty Lois Brown Davis.

His family lived in Moline, Rock Island, and Akron, Ohio, until moving to Rockford, Ill., where Bill graduated from high school in 1958. He was active in Boy Scouts, ROTC, yearbook editor, and became a licensed amateur radio operator (W9BQV) as a seventh grader.

Bill planned to attend the University of Illinois in electrical engineering with a full ride scholarship, but decided to pursue the Lutheran ministry and graduated from Luther College in Decorah, Iowa and Luther Theological Seminary in St. Paul, Minn. He and Judy Ream were married June 30, 1962, at Emmanuel Lutheran Church in Rockford.

After graduating from the seminary, Bill made the decision to go on to the University of Minnesota. He was accepted to the University of Minnesota Medical School in 1967, and did a residency in family medicine at St. John’s Hospital in St. Paul from 1971 to 1974. During college, medical school, and seminary, he worked part-time servicing passenger elevators and was class president at both Luther College and the University of Minnesota.

William had a military obligation to the Navy, which he served as Lt. Commander at the Naval Regional Medical Center in Orlando, Fla., from 1974 to 1976.

Prior to his naval service, Bill had agreed to join the Winona Clinic in their new department of family medicine and Judy and Bill moved to Winona, in 1976. Winona truly became home where they raised their children, Will and Liz, and made many lasting friendships.

In 1978, William joined the faculty of the Mayo St. Francis Family Practice Residency as associate director, where he taught for 10 years before returning to Winona Health and opened a family practice office. He had implemented a sophisticated electronic medical record system (the first in Minnesota) and was later invited to join Family Medicine with Tom Retzinger, MD, and Wayne Kelly, MD.

William served as the chief medical information officer of Winona Health, while the hospital implemented electronic records starting in 2002. He was the first medical director of hospice, served as a member of the Minnesota Medical Association Foundation, and was a member of the board of certification of Hospital Training Programs. He chaired the WH ethics committee, received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Cerner Corporation in 2015 for innovation of patient electronic records, and in 2006 was recognized by the Minnesota Medical Association with a Life Leadership Quality Achievement Award. He served as medical director of home and community options from 1976 to his retirement. He was a member of the Luther College Heritage Club and the President’s Council, and was class agent for the college for several years.

Bill served Central Lutheran Church as council president and was a member of the Central Lutheran Foundation Board, where he could be seen recording Sunday morning services.

Bill retired from medical practice at age 75. He volunteered many summers as camp doctor for Camp Courage, Maple Lake, Minn., served as a judge for high school and middle school science fairs, established a partnership with the Ride the Ridges committee and the Winona Ham Radio Club, while receiving the Rotary Paul Harris Service Award several times. He enjoyed many senior classes at WSU, as well his membership in the Junto and Socrates Clubs. During retirement he enjoyed amateur radio, having weekly coffee with colleagues and friends, while enjoying rides around Lake Winona on his recumbent when he wasn’t playing folk music on the guitar or spending time with his grandchildren.

He is survived by his wife of 58 years, Judy; his children, son, Will Davis, Winona; and daughter, Elizabeth (Tim) Baird, New Berlin, Wis.; grandchildren, Evan and Olivia; his brothers, Jim (Jan) Davis, St. Cloud, Minn., Larry Davis, Flippin Park, Ark., and Bob Davis, Rockford.

William’s body has been donated for medical research.

Family services will be held beginning at 11 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 14, at Central Lutheran Church, Winona. The service will be streamed live for the public; the link will be available on Central Lutheran’s Facebook.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be directed to Central Lutheran Church, 259 Wabasha St., West, Winona; Winona Health, 855 Mankato Ave., Winona; or the Lutheran Campus Ministry, 451 Huff St., Winona, MN 55987.

Services entrusted to Fawcett Junker Funeral Home & Crematory, Winona and Fountain City, Wis. Online condolences may be left for the family at

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