Dr. Wi lliam C. Peel, Jr.
MARCH 18, 1943 - DECEMBER 16, 2009
My Dad, Dr. William “Bill” Peel, Jr., 66 of El Dorado passed away in his sleep Wednesday, December 16, 2009 at his El Dorado, Arkansas residence as the result of multiple pulmonary embolisms. While his passing was completely unexpected, it was peaceful.
He was a Clinical Psychologist and Executive Director of South Arkansas Regional Health Center in El Dorado. Dr. Peel spent his life helping others both professionally and personally.
Dad was born March 18, 1943 in Arlington, TN to William “Chaffee” Peel, Sr. and Martha Marie Britton Peel. He attended Bolton High School where he was the captain of the basketball team and married the Homecoming Queen, Brenda Jo Griffin. I was born to them in 1969.
Dad spent his young life helping sharecrop behind the old Bond Motor Company in Arlington. The first in the family to go to college, he earned multiple degrees, including his Ph.D. in psychology in 1970 from Memphis State University. He served others in Georgia, Missouri, and Kentucky before moving his family to El Dorado, Arkansas in 1974, where he served as clinical coordinator of the South Arkansas Regional Health Center until 1983. From 1983 until his passing, he served as Executive Director of the center he loved. He died as he wanted, in that he had appointments with patients still on the calendar for that day. In fact, he is the only known Executive Director of such a large center to continue to see a full load of patients.
He has served as president of the Arkansas Board Examiners in Psychology, Arkansas Behavior Therapy Association, Arkansas Council of Community Mental Health Centers, MHCA Enterprises and served on the Board of Directors of Mental Health Corporations of America. His professional achievements are overshadowed by his dedication to a life of serving others most in need of help and least able to help themselves due to mental illness or developmental issues.
Patients from all over the area attended services and said they owed the success they now enjoyed in their lives to Dr. Peel. Mental Health professional and board members from all over Arkansas came to honor him. Some said they owed their whole career to his mentoring.
He loved the outdoors and raised me to do the same. Untold hours were spent on the local lakes bass fishing, or in the deer woods hunting. At Memorial services Saturday in El Dorado, and at the funeral here Monday, I was able to muddle through stories of hunting and fishing adventures that showed Dad’s great sense of humor.
His mother, (my grandmother) Marie Peel is the most giving person I have ever known, and she passed that along to Dad. Her sister Millie, and Grandmother still live in Arlington. His wonderful brother, Bobby Peel and his wife, Barbara reside in Cordova.
My wife Trish and I are raising his three grandchildren, Joshua Britton Peel, Collin David Peel, Megan Elise Peel here in Arlington, with the help of my Mom, Jo Peel. My Dad was buried next to his father and grandfather at Arlington Cemetery in Arlington, Tennessee.
If you wish, Memorials may be made to South Arkansas Regional Health Center, 715 North College, El Dorado, AR 71730 to help continue to my Dad’s life’s work in Southern Arkansas.
Thank you Dad. You let me know you were proud of the man and father I became. I will carry that all my days until I am laid there near you myself.