Raymond Delano “Del” Williams, 1940-Oct. 31, 2020 (November 2020)

One of the most popular and accomplished athletes ever to walk the Texas Western campus was a mouse who roared. Diminutive Dr. Del Williams – nicknamed “Mouse” by his Miners Hall teammates – died recently at his home in Fredericksburg, Texas. 

After childhood in Goldthwaite, Texas, Williams graduated from Odessa Ector High (now defunct) and came to Texas Western (now UTEP) in 1958 as an undersized receiver. It wasn’t long before he brought true meaning of “student-athlete,” setting standards in the classroom, on the football field, on the track. 

Williams became a four-year letterman in track and football, elected captain of both teams his senior year. After college, he earned a Doctor of Medicine in 1966 from the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston. After completing his residency in Philadelphia and his surgery residency at UTMB in Galveston, Del served in the U.S. Navy reserves during the Vietnam War.

Del spent much of his 40-plus years of surgery in the Victoria area, tending to patients in Goliad, Cuero, Port Lavaca and Yoakum. In 2004, he and his wife, the former Mary Ann McGuffie, moved to Montana where he served thousands of patients, including members of the Blackfeet Indian tribe. 

“Nothing he accomplished in life surprised me. He was pure class, right from the start,” said one teammate. John Paul Young roomed with Williams, on the second floor of Miners Hall, all four years. Young, who later coached at SMU, A&M then later with the NFL Oilers, Saints, Chiefs, Broncos and Bears, marveled at how Williams “had something for everybody.” 

“First of all, Del was a great player,” Young said. “Johnny (Furman, QB) went to him every other down. Del was a leader. He was not a drill sergeant. He was more of a counselor. Guys felt comfortable unloading our troubles on him.” 

Williams put up curtains up in the dorm room. “He was up studying all hours of the night, working in pre-med,” Young said. “I needed my sleep. I studied, too, maybe 10-15 minutes for a final — and it showed, too.”

Over time, the Williams couple moved back to Texas where the doctor enjoyed raising cattle, waterfowling, fishing and searching for golf balls with grandkids.

The man his grandkids called “Papa” is survived by Mary Ann and their three children (and spouses) — Doug (Lina) Williams, David (Anna) Williams, Mitch (Kelly) McGuffie. Also, by eight grandchildren Shelby, Taylor, Hunter, Madison, Riley, Morgan, Macey and Kennedy.

A memorial service to celebrate Del’s life will be held at 1 p.m., Dec. 5, at Baptist Temple in Victoria.

{Miners forever Mary Ann Williams, Sharon Meece and Willie Quinn contributed to this report.} 

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