Dr. Neil Micheal Anslem's Story
Dr. Neil Micheal Anslem Williams, aged 60, died April 16, 2016, peacefully, in his sleep. He was a brilliant man. He was a doctor, husband, uncle, father, friend, son, brother, and grandfather. He fulfilled each one of his roles with the gusto of a man who is in love with life. He had an insatiable curiosity and love of learning. All of us were blessed to know him because he loved to share all the knowledge that he collected; many times through e-mails, long conversations, cultural outings, vacations, letters, and later on in his life with meditations. He loved sharing books and articles about art, literature, science, philosophy, religion, and politics. You never knew what you were going to learn; especially when he recounted his random interactions people he met on the bus or who knows where else.
Dr. Williams was married to his devoted wife, Marlene Williams for 35 years. His committed partner, Lucinda Melvin was with him during his last days. He is survived by his loving children, Coral C. Williams and her husband, Andy Rowe of Akumal, Mexico; Akil M. Williams and his wife, Kelly M. Judge of Somerville, Issa N. Williams, U.S.N. of Great Lakes, Chicago; and Maya I. Williams and her husband, Denlee C. Reid of Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago. He was the brother of Purnell Williams of Queens, N.Y., Stephen Williams of Franklinville, N.J., Anne Louise Williams-Isom of N.Y., NY and Shelley Williams-Jackson from Queens, N.Y. He also leaves behind one affectionate grandchild, Kingston Matteo Rowe and multiple nieces and nephews.
He was a sensitive man who was always in tune with the thoughts and feelings of the people around him. He was the joyful one who would be belly laughing at the joke in the movies until he couldn’t breathe. He was the empathetic one who would make babies laugh in the grocery store and children want to play with him because he could act so silly. He was the religious one who opened the “Church of Open Sky Open Water” in order to give his children an appreciation of the natural world. He was the mindful doctor who was always present to give advice to his siblings and friends. Everyone who met him loved him because he purposefully radiated positive energy.
As the son of Edna (Olivier) Williams and the late Atthille Williams, He was always searching and traveling, a “Peripatetic Papi” who was born in Port- of Spain Trinidad. As a dutiful son, he was the physical embodiment of the collective dreams of his family by being the exemplary first generation immigrant doctor and father who “made it” in the United States.
His professional life was dedicated to the relief of human pain and suffering. He learned and taught how healing happens in the inherent power we all possess to heal ourselves physically mentally and spiritually. After 12 years of Western medical training at Mount Sinai medical school, Boston Children's Hospital and Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, he began rediscovering that the Dharma had already taught us how to be mindful of suffering and develop loving kindness as a way to heal ourselves and others. During the height of the AIDS crisis he was the Chief Resident for the State Department of Health in Trenton, N.J. He was raised in the Roman Catholic Church but practiced Vipassina meditation for over 15 years and lead meditation sessions at the Cambridge Insight Meditation Center and in Gloucester at the UU church. Meditation allowed him to continue the work he loved as a medical epidemiologist with less stress and more integrity
Words are not powerful enough to capture the full essence of his being, but in his own words: “ I love life… to make life better for those I meet, to be true to what I believe, to show what I know, to keep others from harm, to suggest an alternative unpredicted before, to honor and cherish. Words have multiple natures, mightier than the sword and gentle as a lullaby, caustic as acid in the face. Handle with care. Speak them from love. Choose them like fine jewelry to fit the garment [of life]”
We will miss your words and your spirit, Neil Michael Anslem Williams… Your spirit lives on within us.
A memorial service in celebration of Neil's life was held on April 23, 2016 at All Souls Unitarian Church in New York, N.Y. In lieu of flowers, please send memorial contributions to Xavier University Office of Institutional Advancement, Box 66, New Orleans, LA 70125. The Dr. Neil Williams Memorial For online condolences and register book please visit .
Arrangements are under the direction of the Pike-Newhall Funeral Home, 61 Middle St., Gloucester.