Dr. William T. Price, Jr., departed this life on Wednesday, October 5, 2022, at his home in Amarillo. He was born in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, on September 6, 1923, to William T. Price and Mary E. Baker. Dr. Price grew up in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, and he took his first job as an assistant at a sawmill at the age of twelve. He excelled in school and his Aunt Sally decided that she would send him to college at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa.
Aunt Sally’s generosity would change the course of his life. Dr. Price had intended to become a lawyer; however, an elective course in neuroanatomy sparked his lifelong interest in neurology. He decided to go to medical school after he received his B.A. from the University of Alabama in 1943. Dr. Price’s first two years of medical school were at Alabama. He transferred to Vanderbilt University for his third and fourth years of study. He was drafted to serve in World War II. Given the choice to join the Army or the Navy, Dr. Price chose the Army. He was a Private, but he did not see combat in WWII since the war ended before he graduated from Vanderbilt’s medical school in 1947.
In the following year, Dr. Price undertook his internship at Grady Memorial in Atlanta, Georgia and he completed residencies in general surgery followed by neurosurgery at the Medical College of Virginia in Richmond. He completed a fellowship in neurosurgery at the Lahey Clinic in Boston and his final residency was at the University of Illinois in Chicago where he mentored under Dr. Percival Bailey.
Dr. Price was in the army reserve at the completion of his training in Chicago. He was called up to serve as a neurosurgeon for the Army Medical Corps in the Korean War in 1953. He spent seven weeks in Tokyo, Japan before being deployed to the front. Once there, Dr. Price spent one year in a M.A.S.H. unit as a neurosurgeon before he returned to Tokyo, where he spent another year performing neurosurgeries on servicemen who had been evacuated from Korea and sent to the Tokyo Army Hospital. While in Tokyo, he was introduced to Japanese woodblock prints by a fellow surgeon and he became an avid collector. It was at this time that his interest in collecting art grew.
Dr. Price was honorably discharged from the Army in 1955 and returned to Chicago. As he looked for opportunities to set up his practice, his mentor suggested he investigate opportunities in California. Dr. Price set out on Route 66. He made a fateful choice to spend one night in Amarillo, to which Dr. Bailey suggested he meet with Dr. Clay Dine. Upon his arrival, Dr. Price learned that the current neurosurgeon had passed away and several local doctors made the case to him that he should stay. Dr. Price never made it to California. Amarillo became his new home.
Dr. Price would spend the next forty-five years as a neurosurgeon in Amarillo. During this time, he would meet Jimmie Dell Atkinson. They were married for 58 years and they would raise four children. He and Jimmie Dell were devoted to one another – each a source of happiness to the other. They were actively involved in Amarillo’s art community. Dr. Price’s interest in Japanese prints expanded to Indian and Southeast Asian sculpture and oriental rugs by the 1980s. He and Jimmie Dell endeavored to share that love with the community. Dr. Price was also a devoted University of Alabama football fan from the time of Bear Bryant to Nick Saban. He never missed a game and he enjoyed sharing the news of every national championship Alabama won with his friends. “Roll Tide!” was among his favorite phrases.
Dr. Price was preceded in death by his parents, and his sister, Mrs. Betty McGiffert. He is survived by his wife, Jimmie Dell Price; daughter, Sidney Rebecca Turner (Eddy) of Amarillo; son, James Andrew Price (T) of Amarillo; daughter, Shearer D’Lee Pinkston (Chris) of Roswell, Georgia; daughter, Lizabeth Price Seliger of Amarillo; son, James Richard Price, of Macon, Georgia; and his nephews, David, Price, and Allen McGiffert, of Tuscaloosa. Dr. Price is also survived by eleven grandchildren: Jacob Turner, Ginnie Turner Rutledge, Ian Price, Barry Price, Sarah Yung, Andrea Price, Will Pinkston, Jadie Pinkston Burton, Mary Beck Pinkston, Sidney Seliger and Price Seliger and six great-grandchildren. The family would like to thank Shaun, Maria, Daniel, Sonia, and many others for all their help in recent years.
Services for Dr. Price will be at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, Monday, October 10, 2022, at 1:00 P.M. Arrangements are by Boxwell Brothers Funeral Directors, 2800 Paramount Blvd.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations be made in his memory to the Amarillo Museum of Art, the Panhandle Plains Historical Museum, St. Andrew’s Episcopal School or charity of your choice.