Marshall-Donnelly-Combs Funeral Home

201 25th Ave North, Nashville, TN


Dr. A. Willard EMCH

March 5, 1937June 26, 2020

Dr. A Willard Emch

It is with an overwhelming sense of loss that we we announce the passing of Dr. A Willard Emch on Friday June 26, 2020, after an ongoing battle with Alzheimer’s Disease. Willard was born on March 5, 1937 in Toledo, Ohio to Arthur and Vera Emch and spent his childhood playing carefree in the woods around Woodville. He attended Capital University in Columbus, Ohio where he played collegiate basketball and met his future wife, Sharon Morris. After medical school at The Ohio State University, he completed his neurosurgery residency under the guidance of Dr. Bill Meacham at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, TN. During his residency, he proudly served in the armed forces as a flight surgeon while stationed at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida. He always carried fond memories of his time in the service and the out and back missions he flew throughout his brief military career.

After residency, Dr. Emch returned to the Toledo area where he practiced neurosurgery at the Toledo Clinic and raised his family. He retired to Vero Beach, Florida, where he became the unofficial doctor and “mayor” of Sea Oaks. He continued to split his time between Vero Beach and Lakeside, Ohio, returning every summer to connect with childhood friends.

In addition to his esteemed career in medicine, he will forever be remembered as an incredibly devoted husband and for the great care he took of his wife of 44 years, Sharon, during her struggles with Parkinson’s. He remarried in 2006 and welcomed Ve and her son Max into the family.

Always active, he picked the banjo in various bluegrass bands in Toledo and Vero, enjoyed playing tennis with his wife, golf with his sons, making wooden toys for his grandchildren, fishing with friends, tinkering on birdhouses and orchid boxes around Sea Oaks, and sitting down with a Stroh’s and his friends. He devoted a lot of his retirement to building houses for Habitat for Humanity, remained active in Rotary, served on sundry boards, including the Toledo Zoo and the Parkinson’s Association, and was a faithful attendant and volunteer at the local Lutheran Church.

Willard is survived by his wife, Ve, two sons, A.W. and Doug, their wives, Deb and Marti, and his four grandchildren, Will, Bruce, Elliot, and Emma, as well as his step-son Max and his wife Elise. Willard will be remembered for his big personality, sense of humor, and generous way. In this life, he did good work and was deeply loved.

The Emch’s thank the generous staff at Abe’s Garden for their ongoing love, support, and guidance through these difficult times. We ask that donations be made in memory of Willard to Abe's Garden. A celebration of his life will be held at a future date.


No public services are scheduled at this time. Receive a notification when services are updated.


Dr. A. Willard EMCH

have a memory or condolence to add?

Mary Arnett-Sparks

July 3, 2020

The first year I taught violin at Lakeside (about 2004 or 2005) Willard appeared on Thursday wanting to learn to play on an old violin he had. (The class had started on Monday, but he didn’t know that!) I’m not sure how much he learned in two days, but a friendship was born, and I am so grateful for that. I cherish the memory of sitting on his porch playing banjo and fiddle duets, even though I didn’t know most of the tunes and there was no music. The house on Poplar will always be his in my mind. I will miss him at Lakeside. 🎶

Amy Hoffmann Schenk

July 3, 2020

Had the pleasure of working with Dr. Emch as a new nurse in 9N at Toledo Hospital. A great physician, wonderful man and so good to work with. My sympathies to all.

Greg, Jr. Emmert

July 3, 2020

It was such a privilege to know such a wonderful friend, gentleman, and outstanding neurosurgeon. Prayers to his family.

Greg Emmert, Jr. and Helen and Greg Emmert, Sr.

Tom Williams

July 1, 2020

Great Guy. Willard was my roommate in Medical School.

John Little

June 30, 2020

Willard and I were best friends after meeting in the first grade at Woodville Elementary School in 1943. He and Sharon were God Parents for my Daughter Shawn. We shared a passion for playing the five string banjo, and acquired my treasured Gibson RB800 some 20 years ago to give Doug a superb instrument to continue our love of blue grass music. Willard was an exemplary person and will be sorely missed by everyone who was fortunate enough to know him.


June 30, 2020

Riding to high school every day in his Model T ford

Allen Damschroder

June 30, 2020

Condolences to all , Will Emch and myself go back a long ways . We were a small but exceptional class in a very small town {Woodville) in Ohio. I played 4 years of basketball with Will and then we went our separate ways to undergraduate studies and rejoined in Med School at the Ohio State University. I have very fond memories of clearing a rebound and then riffling a pass to Will . We scored a lot of buckets that way ! RIP Willard Emch

Tom and Ellen Carnahan

June 30, 2020

We loved Willard soooooo much! So many memories of our dear
Friend in Toledo, Ohio. So many get togethers with Sharon and Willard. AND he was so much fun! Willard cut and frosted my hair for YEARS....along with many others! Very competitive on the tennis court! Did not like to loose! 🤪😞

Will miss you dear friend!
Tom and Ellen

Danny Nicholson

June 30, 2020

Dr. Emch was an amazing man and father figure to many of AW & Dougs friends, myself included. Doc was a good friend to my entire family and a personal friend, and mentor to me personally. Doc always had time for a chat, to lay down a few words of wisdom and or guidance to keep me on the right path. He was AW & Dougs hero and stood for everything good a man could achieve if he had faith and put his mind to it. A. Willard Emch will be sorely missed. The world has lost one of the truly great ones. With all my love and respect, Rest In Peace Doc! Love Danny

Halle Bruening

June 29, 2020

Doug and AW.....I am so sorry to hear about your dad! I think of him and your Mom every time I pass Poplar Street driving though Lakeside! I think your Mom and Dad were some of the first people we met arriving at the Toledo Clinic so many years ago! There are so many memories.....Ohio State games, Derby Day parties on Sulphur Springs, Indian Guides, evenings at the Marina Restaurant, weddings, wow! A lifetime of memories....thinking of you all! Halle Bruening