1924-2014

William L. Weirich

Dr. William L. Weirich died on Sept. 18, 2014, in Napa. Bill was born in Napa on May 5, 1924, the son of Leonard Weirich and Ruth Murphy Weirich. He was raised by his beloved maternal grandparents, John Murphy and Lillian Greenwell Murphy.

Bill Weirich was educated in the Vallejo School system and was active in sports. He was a member of the championship varsity football and basketball teams at Vallejo High School. There Bill was student body president in the fall of 1941 and graduated in 1942. He was an officer in the U.S. Naval Reserve and served aboard the USS Harman, DE678, in the Pacific Theater during World War II. Bill attended the University of California at Berkeley and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in American history in June 1947. He received his medical doctorate from the University of California at San Francisco School of Medicine in 1951, where he was elected to the Alpha Omega Alpha National Medical Honorary Society. Bill received his subsequent surgical training at UCSF, and was chief resident in surgery 1957-1958.

During his residency training, he met Jean Louise Allred, a medical illustrator, and they were married in June 1955. In 1956, with their first born son, Murphy, they moved to Minneapolis, Minnesota, where Bill was a National Heart Fellow in cardiac surgery. While at this institution, Bill played a key role in the development of the modern pacemaker. In recognition, he was selected by the John and Mary R. Markle Foundation as the Markle Scholar in Medical Science in 1958. Bill subsequently joined the faculty of the UCSF School of Medicine as an assistant professor working at the Cardiovascular Research Institute, where he taught and performed research. During his surgical career, Bill was board certified in both thoracic and general surgery as well as a fellow in the American College of Surgeons where he was on the board of governors.

Bill left academic medicine in 1961 for private practice in Northern California, establishing offices in Red Bluff and Redding. He was a Rotarian in both locales. In 1966, he was awarded “Man of the Year” by the Red Bluff Chamber of Commerce. In Redding, Bill became chief of surgery at Mercy Medical Center.

In 1977, he accepted the position of Chairman, Department of Surgery, at the King Faisal Specialist Hospital in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Here, he organized a teaching program in surgery and was eventually appointed Deputy Director of Medical Affairs in 1979. Bill and Jean returned to the U.S. in 1982, when he left the practice of medicine to work for the Hospital Corporation of America as an adviser.

He retired in 1989 and they moved to British Columbia until returning to Napa in 1995. Jean, his devoted wife of 54 years, passed away of complications from Alzheimer’s dementia in October of 2009. An avid outdoorsman throughout his life, he pursued his loves of hunting and fly fishing until his declining health interfered. Bill lived a full life, and will be missed by all those who were touched by him.

Bill Weirich is survived by his four sons: William Murphy Weirich and daughter-in-law Jane, Dr. Samuel Draper Weirich and daughter-in-law Dr. Jone Sampson, Michael Allred Weirich and Justin Rhea Weirich; as well as five granddaughters, Megan Allred Weirich, Nichole Rosa Weirich, Elizabeth Rhea Weirich, Margarethe Jean Weirich and Emma Claire Weirich.

He wished to have no memorial service. In lieu of flowers, donations to the American Cancer Society are appreciated (Cancer.org).

Memories may be shared at TreadwayWigger.com.

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