‘He’s a survival story of COVID’: Retired Air Force general on the road to recovery

Family credits nurse for Maj. Gen. George Williams’ turnaround

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – After weeks under heavy sedation in a hospital, retired Air Force Maj. Gen. George N. Williams, 73, is awake and out of the COVID-19 ward of the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville.

For weeks, his wife, Maryanne, stood outside, clutching rosary beads while staring up at his hospital window.

“My mom would silently pray the rosary and she would cry,” said their son, Ryan Williams.

His mother and father both tested positive for COVID-19 on Oct. 22. His mother recovered quickly. Two weeks later, his father was admitted to the hospital in Melbourne, Florida, where he eventually developed blood clots in his heart and leg. He was moved to the intensive care unit.

“They said there are only two options,” Ryan Williams said. “The first one is that he can have his leg amputated, but he will never wake up ... or -- and this was his recommendation -- they give him a few days of peace and allow him to just succumb to the leg, but to have a better quality of life for a few days, you know, to say goodbye to us.”

His mother began calling Mayo Clinic, where a family friend had been treated, and coordinated an effort to have her husband transferred to the hospital more than two hours away.

“My mother is the hero of this story, and, my dad, I don’t think will ever really know how hard she had to fight,” Ryan Williams said. “Because nobody wanted to transfer him. Nobody. And she didn’t take no for an answer and she wouldn’t take the fact that there wasn’t hope.”

Photos of the Williams family. (Provided to WJXT)

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