Pettway, William D. III

Brought International Awareness To Rare Neuromuscular Condition Dystonia

Thursday, April 20, 2017
William Pettway III
William Pettway III

William D. Pettway III, 54, of Lookout Mountain, Georgia, died on April 19, 2017 at his Thrive residence. 

William went to Fairlyland Elementary School and graduated in 1982 from East Ridge High School. William was adored by his family, loved by all who met him and was a bright star of hope to many sufferers of Dystonia, a condition he had been diagnosed with in 2005. Upon his diagnosis, William was one of the early recipients of a deep brain stimulation implant at Emory University.  He did much to bring international awareness to this rare neuromuscular condition by writing letters and sending articles to professional athletes, senators, congressmen, actors, prime ministers and religious leaders. Those who reached out to William in response to his efforts included Muhammad Ali, The Archbishop of Canterbury, President George Bush, Her Majesty the Queen of England, Michael J. Fox, Billy Graham, Peyton Manning, His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI, and Tom Brokaw, as well as, Senator Bob Corker and Congressman Zach Wamp.  William received the 2006 Courage Award, created to give recognition and  appreciation to those who “live beyond the limitations of dystonia and inspire others with their vitality”. 

William was a volunteer at St. Barnabas Nursing Home entertaining the residents with his piano playing, as well as a volunteer at the Tennessee Aquarium. He enjoyed singing in the choir at The Lookout Mountain Church of the Good Shepherd, Episcopal, of which was a lifelong member.  William loved watching a horse race (made all the sweeter when pulling for his cousins horse) or a good UT football game, being with his family and friends and always telling a good joke, appropriate or not.  His courage, kindness, quick wit and infectious laugh will be missed dearly by many.  William lived his life as he signed the many letters he wrote over the years,” Remember to Never Give Up and Always Keep a Cheerful Heart!”

He was preceded in death by his father, William D. Pettway, Jr., and is survived by his mother, Susan Pettway Colmore and step father, Jo Colmore; brother, Daniel Pettway and his wife, Lynn Pettway, niece, Avery and her husband, Schuyler Witt, nephews, Ben and Sims; brother, Thompson Pettway and  wife, Dawn Pettway and  nephews, Perrish, Clayton and Will; step sister, Sarah McKenzie and her husband, Thorpe McKenzie and children, Conn and Wills; step sister, Louisa Hurst and her husband, Jamey Hurst and children, Eliza, Colmore, and Adelaide, as well as many loved cousins, aunts, uncles and friends.

The family would like to thank William’s many caregivers over the years; especially the entire staff at the Thrive community on Lookout Mountain.  Your care and kindness made the last year of his life one of his happiest.

Funeral services will be held on Saturday, April 22, at The Church of the Good Shepherd on Lookout Mountain with visitation being held from 12-1:30 p.m. and service beginning at 1:30 p.m.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks contributions be made in William’s honor to any of the following: the Hosannah Community, 6410 Grub Road, Hixson TN, 37343 (www.hosannacommunity.org); The Dystonia Medical Research Foundation, 1 East Wacker Drive, Suite 2810, Chicago, IL 60601 (www.dystonia-foundation.org); The Church of the Good Shepherd, 211 Franklin Road, Lookout Mountain, TN 37350 (www.gslookout.com)

Arrangements are by Wann Funeral Home & Cremation Center.  

Please share your memories, stories and photos at www.wannfuneralhome.com.  


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