Baylor Mourns Death of Retired Biology Professor

Jan. 18, 2008
News Photo 4373Dr. Richard Widner

Dr. William Andrew Richard (Dick) Widner, professor emeritus of biology at Baylor University, died Wednesday, Jan. 16, in Houston. He was 86.

Services will be held at 2 p.m. Monday, Jan. 21, in Waco at Wilkirson-Hatch-Bailey Chapel, with Dr. Glenn Hilburn officiating. Burial will follow at Oakwood Cemetery. Visitation will be from 3 to 5 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 20, at Wilkirson-Hatch-Bailey, 6101 Bosque Blvd.

Widner was born in Three Brothers, Ark., on April 24, 1920, the eldest of seven children.

He earned his bachelor's degree in 1942 from Eastern New Mexico University and went on to receive his master's degree in 1948 and his doctoral degree in 1952, both from the University of New Mexico. He served four years active duty with the U.S. Navy during World War II, spending the remainder of his service with U.S. Naval Reserves, retiring as a captain.

Widner was an industrial hygienist at the Atomic Energy Commission from 1952-55, and later served as a science teacher at Albuquerque Indian School from 1955-56. He was a professor of biology at Howard Payne College from 1956-59. In 1959, he moved to Waco, where he was a professor of biology at Baylor for 30 years, retiring in 1989 as Professor Emeritus.

Widner was an avid sportsman with a love of hunting, fishing, gardening, dancing, traveling and all sports. He was a competitive marksman, earning many high honors. He was a member of Ridgewood Country Club, Waco Kiwanis Seniors, a 32nd Degree Mason of more than 50 years and a Past Master of Gurley Lodge #337, Scottish Rite, York Rite, and a member of the Karem Shrine of Waco.

He was preceded in death by his parents; brother, Rutherford; and his son, Bill. He is survived by his wife of 23 years, Dorothy Anne deGeurin Hepler Widner; a stepson and his wife; one grandson; one brother, four sisters and one brother-in-law; as well as many cousins, nieces, nephews and dear friends.

Memorials may be made to The Shriner Hospital for Children or the charity of your choice.

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