Dr. William A. Davis, III (“Poole”) died peacefully in Atlanta, GA on August 27th after a long illness. He was 85 years old. Poole was born and grew up in Newnan, GA; his parents were the late William A. Davis, Jr. and Bessie Cole Davis. Poole attended Newnan High School, where he excelled both academically and athletically, playing basketball for the Tigers. After graduating in 1954, Poole enrolled at Emory University in Atlanta, where he majored in history and was a member of the Kappa Alpha Order (KA). Poole received his bachelor’s degree in 1958 and began his studies at the Emory University School of Medicine the following fall. During his time at Emory, he met Leonora Simpson (“Nora Ann”), and they later married in 1960.
After receiving his medical degree in 1962, Poole began serving a two-year residency in internal medicine at Grady Memorial Hospital under renowned cardiologist Dr. John Willis Hurst. Upon concluding his residency, Poole enlisted in the United States Air Force, and was stationed at the 50th TAC Hospital at Hahn Air Base in Germany, where he served as a base internist. During his time in the Air Force, Poole developed his life-long love for travel and the outdoors; he also formed many important
friendships during that time, which would last for decades. Poole and Nora Ann returned to Atlanta in 1966, where he began a three-year residency in radiology at Grady Memorial Hospital. Although it was a medical specialty that was not widely known at the time, Poole correctly foresaw radiology as a discipline that would evolve and revolutionize the practice of medicine. He had a deep interest in the technological changes that were rapidly taking place in the field. After his residency, Poole became a radiologist at Crawford W. Long Memorial Hospital in Atlanta and later served as medical director of the radiology department there from 1978 until 1997. Poole was also a president of the Clinical Society of Atlanta, a social organization composed of young physicians. Through his work at Crawford Long, a teaching hospital, he mentored numerous medical students and residents. He also served as an assistant professor at the Emory University School of Medicine and was a member of the Admission
Committee there for many years.
But Poole was more than an impressive list of professional achievements; he was a devoted father. He and Nora Ann had three children – Bradley, Glen and Leonora – and raised them in Buckhead. Poole was a member of the Piedmont Driving Club, and he enjoyed his time playing tennis there, as well as other social events with the family. All three children attended The Lovett School in Atlanta. A liberal arts education was deeply important to Poole; he ensured that his three children received the best
possible opportunities for collegiate study and beyond, and he took great pride in their success. Poole and Nora Ann divorced in 1998. He retired from Crawford Long in 2001 but continued to work part time for CompHealth, travelling to work at hospitals in underserved communities in North Dakota and Montana. Poole had always been interested in photography, but it was during his time out west that he began to fully nurture that passion. His landscape photographs were later exhibited in several galleries. He was a life-long lover of the visual arts, and his eclectic taste in music resulted in a huge record and CD collection. Anyone around Poole knew he was also an avid Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets fan, and he could be found at numerous basketball and football games there over the years.
Poole married Marian McIntosh Smeltzer in 2012, and they resided in Buckhead, enjoying a quiet life as Poole began to wind down from work. They were members of the Cathedral of St. Philip. In recent years, Poole suffered from Alzheimer’s Disease; Marian and her daughter Courtenay Smeltzer Presten helped look after him during this difficult time, for which he was very grateful. The family would like to thank his caregiver Annie Johnson and the staff at the Mann House for their wonderful support as well.
In addition to his wife, he is survived by his son W. Bradley Davis and son-in-law James D’Elicio; son Glen P. Davis, grandchildren Georgia and Priester and their mother, Kim Sockwell Davis; daughter Leonora Davis Wilgus, son-in-law Charlie Wilgus, and grandchildren Charles, Henry and Cole. Poole was an only child, but is survived by extended family, including cousin Dr. Malcolm Henry ‘Chip’ Cole of Newnan, GA. He also touched the lives of so many friends and mentees over the years.
Poole’s motto came from Joseph Campbell - “Follow your bliss” - and he did so until the end.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations to the Alzheimer’s Association at alz.org. A celebration of life will be held in Atlanta at a later date.