From Journal of Periodontology 2006.
“If a man be endowed with a generous mind , this is the best kind of nobility.
William “Bill” Ammons was born in Texas on June 11th 1932. Bill spent most of his youth in the oil fields of Texas, and he soon learned the importance of not only having a strong back and work ethic, but also the benefits of a good education. He excelled at all levels, graduating from Texas Christian University in 1955, serving in the U.S. Air Force during the Korean War, and receiving his DDS degree from the University of Texas in 1959. Bill practiced for several years in Odessa, Texas before returning to school at the University of Washington where he graduated with an MSD and Certificate in Periodontics in 1970.
He immediately joined the faculty and would become professor and chair of the Department of Periodontics, and director of the graduate program in periodontics. He spent 36 years combining his superb clinical skills and exceptional intellectual ability with some "good old country boy talk" in mentoring 176 postgraduate periodontal residents. He also played a significant role in helping to educate many prosthodontic, endodontic, and orthodontic residents during seminars, clinics, and advanced degree advisory committees.
Bill represented the gold standard of a dedicated teacher who became an instantaneous hit with everyone fortunate enough to rub shoulders with him. After becoming Professor Emeritus of periodontics in 1995 until the time he passed away, Bill continued going to the university 4 days a week and practicing 1 day a week. Bill's service to the AAP and the profession is legendary. He lectured extensively, contributed to the scientific and clinical literature, and wrote chapters for several leading textbooks. He was a member of numerous important committees of the AAP. He worked tirelessly as a trustee of district 6 for 6 years. Bill served on the American Board of Periodontology for 6 years and was its chair for 1 year. His term completed, he was asked to return as a Board examiner for several additional years. In recognition of his talents, Bill was awarded the AAP's prestigious Master Clinician Award in 1996. It was a well-deserved honor because Bill had long been recognized as "The Master" by those of us from Washington. He was the commissioner of periodontics for the Commission on Dental Accreditation of the American Dental Association for 5 years where his sage advice was well received. He not only made site visits to numerous institutions to evaluate their programs for accreditation, but also developed systems to train and enhance the calibration of site visitors to periodontal residency programs.
Bill also was a member of the Commission's Appeal Board. During these years, he was actively involved in maintaining the definition and standards of periodontics and its relationship to the other specialties.
The true beauty of these professional accomplishments and accolades is that they were never done to gain personal recognition. It was never about "me." Indeed, if he had a fault, it was that Bill Ammons had difficulty saying "No." He was always available to help when the need arose. Bill Ammons was a Renaissance man. He could converse with ease on almost anything – scientific material, clinical treatment, politics, wine making, rock hunting, outdoor activities, and the local sports scene – the list seemed endless. He was a history buff with a special interest in the Civil War. . Bill was fiercely loyal to his family and friends. He was a man who seemed most comfortable roaming the outdoors with family members, fishing with friends or his son and sons-in-law, chewing the fat into the evenings with a host of graduate students, or enjoying morning coffee at UW with his colleagues where his dry wit was ever present as he, good naturedly, poked fun with the best of them . Bill "died with his boots on." He spent that final weekend as he often did, "pulling things" – weeds in his garden and slides for his next day's lecture. Don't mourn his loss, but smile if you had the privilege of walking beside him. It is the way he would have wanted it.
Drs. RH Johnson, Leonard Tibbetts and William Becker