Thomas M. Williams II


Thomas M. "Tommy" Williams II, 84, former chief of dermatology at the old D.C. General Hospital and associate professor at Howard University, died after a heart attack July 15 at Holy Cross Hospital in Silver Spring.

Dr. Williams led the dermatology department at D.C. General for 25 years, retiring in 1994. He was previously chief of dermatology at the Southwest Health Center in the District, chief of the local ringworm clinic and chief of dermatology at Freedman's Hospital in the District.

Born in Trenton, N.J., he served in the Coast Guard during World War II and was such an avid reader that he read all the books on the ship he served on. He graduated from Lincoln University in Jefferson City, Mo., and earned his medical degree in 1953 from Meharry Medical College in Nashville. He did postgraduate work in internal medicine at Temple University, in pediatrics at the College of Medicine in New Jersey and in dermatology at New York University, where he received a certificate in basic sciences. He moved to Washington in 1962.

He once told Washington Post columnist Courtland Milloy, who was writing about racial politics and the popularity of suntans: "You have whites who want a tan because they say it makes them look good and you have blacks using skin lighteners and hair curlers because they say that makes them look good. I see this as diabolically funny."

Dr. Williams was a member of the National Medical Association, the American Academy of Dermatology, the YMCA's Partners with Youth, the Urban League and a number of other organizations. He attended almost every Super Bowl, his wife said, and was a Washington Redskins season ticket holder. A lover of poetry with an excellent memory, he particularly enjoyed Paul Laurence Dunbar's "The Colored Soldiers." He also enjoyed playing cards and playing tennis on Martha's Vineyard.

Survivors include his wife of 45 years, Ruth Ann Williams, of Washington; a daughter, Merele Adkins of Brooklyn, N.Y.; two sisters; a brother; and two grandchildren.