James S. Williams, 85, of Hatboro, a retired dentist and orthodontist known to his patients in Olney as "Dr. Jim," died Saturday, Dec. 1, of a heart ailment at Chestnut Hill Hospital.

Born at Germantown Hospital, Dr. Williams attended Olney High School, but contracted scarlet fever and transferred to Mercersburg (Pa.) Academy, from which he graduated in 1945.

He joined the Navy and trained at the Pennsylvania Maritime Academy. He earned a bachelor's degree in zoology from the University of Pennsylvania in 1951 and graduated with a degree in dentistry from the Dental School of the University of Pennsylvania in 1954.

Dr. Williams practiced in the Navy Dental Corps at Marine Corps Air Stations in El Toro, Calif., and Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii. The Navy provided medical support for the Marines.

Later, he practiced at Bainbridge Naval Training Center in Maryland.

He retired from the Navy Reserve in 1980 with the rank of captain after a 31-year association with the Navy, both active and reserve.

In the late 1950s, he took over the practice opened in 1926 by his father, R.W. Williams, at 5757 N. Fifth Street, and later specialized in orthodontics.

"Over the years, many of his patients moved to different neighborhoods, but they still continued coming back to see Dr. Jim for their dental work," his son, John R., said. Dr. Williams took patients until 2008.

He became a fellow in the Academy of General Dentistry in 1973.

Dr. Williams enjoyed concerts given by the Philadelphia Singers and the Philadelphia Orchestra. He was a longtime member of the Lehman United Methodist Church, where he sang in the choir and served as head of the music committee.

"While at the church, he brought in a pipe organ. Music was always his passion," his son said.

He cofounded the Kite and Key Cat Club, showing both Devon Rex and non-pedigreed cats. He was interested in railroading, raised vegetables, and kept honeybees.

"When we were kids, he had a number of hives in the back yard. He raised tomatoes, squash, green beans, corn, and asparagus" despite the groundhogs and rabbits, his son said. "He raised raspberries and root crops, and years ago started the tomatoes from seed in the back window."

Surviving in addition to his son, are three other sons, James S. Jr., Russ, and Allan D.; two grandchildren; a brother; a sister; and nieces and nephews. He met his wife, Ann R. Williams, at Penn. She died in 2011.

A visitation will be from 7 to 9 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 12, in the James R. Baskwill Funeral Home, 20 W. Montgomery Ave., Hatboro, and at 10 a.m. Thursday, Dec. 13, in Lehman Memorial United Methodist Church, 300 S. York Rd., Hatboro, Pa. 19040. A funeral service will follow at 11 a.m. at the church. Interment is in Whitemarsh Memorial Park, Horsham.

Donations may be made to the music program at Lehman United Methodist.

Contact Bonnie L. Cook at 215-854-2611 or bcook@phillynews.com.