Chuck Lee Williams, who lived a life of service to others and to his church, died of a heart attack Friday. He was 55.
Mr. Williams, of Shadyside, was the supervisor of UPMC Shadyside Hospital Laboratory.
Originally from Rices Landing, Greene County, Mr. Williams was raised as a Methodist and converted to Catholicism in high school. He attended seminary school, but didn't take vows. However, he remained very active in the church.
Instead of helping people with their spiritual paths, he turned to a field that allowed him to help them heal physically. Starting as a laboratory clerk at Montefiore Hospital in the 1970s, he learned the skills and advanced to become head of UPMC's Shadyside Laboratory.
Ray Bezila, administrative director for Presbyterian and Shadyside Hospital Laboratories, hired Mr. Williams for that first job and worked with him throughout his four-decade tenure at UPMC. "I remember Chuck for his scientific knowledge, his technical expertise in the field and his great ability to be able to deal with any kind of management situation. He was a really good people person."
Mr. Williams was honored with membership in several religious knighthoods: The Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem; The Military and Hospital Order of St. Lazarus of Jerusalem; and the Sacred Military Constantinian Order of St. George. Members of these chivalric organizations are chosen for exemplary practice of their faith and for works of mercy.
His membership in these orders placed him among a small, elite group. "While he thoroughly enjoyed the recognition, he wasn't stuffy and he wasn't aloof," said Msgr. George Appleyard of Holy Trinity Ukrainian Catholic Church in Carnegie.
He also earned four masters' degrees: in philosophy from Duquesne University, theology from Catholic University of America, public health from the University of Pittsburgh and health services administration from California College of Health Sciences.
He is survived by his lifetime companion T. Michael English of Shadyside; his mother, Margaret Stout Noble of York, Pa.; his stepfather, Frederick Noble of York, York County; half-brother Frederick Noble of Annapolis, Md.; and friend and roommate James Greco.
Memorial contributions can be made to Pittsburgh AIDS Task Force, 5913 Penn Ave., Pittsburgh, PA 15206.
A Mass was held in Sacred Heart Church yesterday. A memorial service is being planned for a later date.
Correction/Clarification: (Published Mar. 28, 2008) Chuck Lee Williams, a Shadyside resident who died last Mar. 21, 2008 of a heart attack, grew up in Rices Landing, Greene County, not Waynesburg as reported in this obituary as originally published Mar. 27, 2008. His survivors also include a stepfather, Frederick Noble of York, York County.
Adrian McCoy can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-263-1865.