After six decades of taking care of generations of patients in Galveston, thousands of students at Texas A&M, family, friends, friends of family, kids, grandkids, and anyone else who needed help, William Henry (Bill) Peterek was called home to his Lord and Savior on March 28, 2023. To everyone in Galveston, he was known simply as “Doc.”
Bill was born on April 26, 1943, in St. Mary’s Hospital in Galveston, Texas, the eldest child of Willie and Stella Novak Peterek. As fate would have it, he would grow up to become a doctor and take care of generations of his Galveston patients in the very same hospital where he was born.
Bill spent his childhood in Shiner and Gonzales, Texas. He worked in his father’s grocery store starting at the age of 9 and had fond memories of playing sandlot baseball with his brothers and neighborhood friends, going to area dance halls, and all the simple pleasures of growing up in a small Texas town. He graduated from Gonzales High School in 1961.
After high school, Bill first attended St. Edwards University in Austin and then moved to the University of Texas, where he graduated with honors in 1966. Bill went to medical school at the University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) in Galveston, graduating in 1970.
While in medical school, Bill met his future wife, Terry Sue Crawford, in the library at UTMB, where she was in nursing school. They went to the Silver Spot on Stewart Road for their first date, and eventually married on August 24, 1968, in Galveston at St. Mary’s Cathedral.
They were blessed with three wonderful children, Jill, Gabe, and Ben, and shared a life filled with beach trips, baseball, football, dancing, and enjoying family. Bill and Terry lived down the street from Benny and Peggy Holland (Terry’s sister), on Youpon Street, and all the cousins grew up together playing in the neighborhood. Their grandparents also lived around the corner, and living a life so close to family was an amazing blessing.
Bill opened a private medical practice 1972 in Galveston where he was a beloved and caring family doctor. He touched many lives with his compassion, integrity, and kindness. In 2004, after a brief retirement from his private practice, Bill joined the staff at the Texas A&M University Student Health Clinic in College Station (affectionately known as the “Quack Shack.”) He loved meeting the Aggie students and hearing about where they were from, and showed them the same attentive, caring attitude that he showed his many Galveston patients.
Bill’s activities extended beyond his role as a doctor. He was a Little League coach, President of the Parker Elementary PTO, and attended West Isle Presbyterian Church, where he taught Sunday school and sang in the choir. He had several poker groups and loved playing cards with his buddies. He also enjoyed playing golf and fishing in Galveston. For many years he played Santa Claus at Christmas Eve celebrations for ALL the grandkids, and would also surprise friends and patients in his Santa suit. He was loved and respected by his large family (Petereks, Smiths, and Hollands), his friends, and his many patients for living a life that exemplified humility, nobility, and dignity.
He was preceded in his passing by his parents, Stella and Willie; in-laws Joe Crawford, Mary Crawford Dayton, and Ed Dayton; brothers Allen Peterek and Greg Peterek, brother-in-law Gary Smith; and granddaughter Daisy Ruth Peterek. He is survived by his lifetime dancing partner and wife of 54 years, Terry; and his children and their spouses, Jill and Justin Presnal (College Station), Gabe and Christy Peterek (College Station), and Ben and Heather Peterek (Galveston). He is also survived by his sisters, Janet Smith and Debbie Drastata, and his brother David Peterek and his wife Jill.
Paw Paw will be greatly missed by his grandchildren Mac Presnal and his wife Grace; Sam Presnal; Zoe Peterek; Abby Peterek; Townes Peterek and Will Peterek, and all of the nieces and nephews, and their children too.
Not long before his passing, Bill spoke to his longtime barber and close friend, Oscar Ochoa. Oscar read him a beautiful passage from the Bible reminding him of what was in store for him in Heaven:
For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time has come for my departure. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day – and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearance. (2 Timothy 4:6-8)
In lieu of flowers, Bill’s family requests that you instead consider a donation in honor of his granddaughter Daisy Ruth Peterek to “Daisy’s Friends” at the Galveston Grand Opera House, or to the “Daisy’s Room” at the Galveston Ronald McDonald House.
A memorial service celebrating Bill’s life will be held at Moody Methodist Church, 2803 53rd Street in Galveston, Texas on Saturday, April 22, 2023 at 1:00 p.m., with Reverend Alicia Besser officiating.
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