William grew up in Woodville, Ohio and he was a graduate of Woodville High School, Otterbein College, Westerville, Ohio, and Ohio State University College of Medicine, Columbus, Ohio, in 1962.
A rotating internship brought him to Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas, Texas, where he continued his medical training by completing residencies in general and cardiovascular surgery at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School. After completing his medical training, he served on the faculty of the surgery department before entering private practice for 45 years.
He was the Director of the Environmental Health Center – Dallas and the President of the American Environmental Health Foundation. He formerly held the First World Professorial Chair in Environmental Medicine at the Robens Institute at the University of Surrey, in Guildford, Surrey, England, as well as other teaching appointments. He had published many articles on Cardiovascular Surgery and Environmental Medicine and he went on to write 10 books which included medical textbooks on Environmental Medicine. Currently, two books on electromagnetic frequency (EMF), which he recently completed, are in the process of being published. Dr. Rea was a member of many organizations including the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Environmental Medicine, and the Pan American Allergy Society.