Thursday, 23 August 2012
Ronald E. Walsh, a pulmonologist who served on the Scott & White board of trustees for 10 years, died in Temple on July 7. He was 76.
Dr. Walsh, known as Ron, retired from Scott & White after 30 years of service in 2001. He joined the Department of Medicine, Division of Pulmonary/Critical Care in 1971, served as its director from 1983 to 1994, and was the hospital's medical director of Respiratory Care for 28 years. He is credited by many of his peers for introducing state-of-the-art equipment and systems into Scott & White's intensive care practices beginning in the 1970s.
As a trustee, Dr. Walsh is remembered by colleagues as a potent force behind the scenes at Scott & White, serving as board treasurer and chairman of the hospital space committee from 1983 to 1998. He worked closely with fellow trustee John Cox, overseeing Scott & White's finances as it embarked on an aggressive building program throughout the 1980s and 1990s.
Dr. Walsh was born in Cleveland, Ohio, in 1935. He attended Bowling Green State University in Bowling Green, Ohio, and earned his medical degree at Ohio State University in 1962. He was a physician in the Air Force, where he achieved the rank of major, where he co-authored what was considered the first article in American medical literature on what is now known as obstructive sleep apnea and became among the early developers of the field now known as sleep medicine. At Scott & White he maintained a full practice in pulmonary medicine, and was known for his caring bedside manner with patients and their families. A quiet, modest man, he was admired by his peers for his ability to maintain intense focus on patient care while managing his administrative responsibilities with the hospital board.
Dr. Walsh was an active lay leader at St. Francis Episcopal Church, volunteered at the Temple Community Free Clinic and participated in medical missions to Central America. He was also an organic gardener long before it was popular, an avid runner known to enter almost any running event he happened to be near and an enthusiastic member of the canoeing Piddle Paddle Club. He will be remembered for many things; as a dear friend and colleague put it, "Some remember Ron as the man who rode his bicycle while walking his beloved dogs, others by the great yard he kept, others by the great job as a member of the board; I prefer to remember him for the rectitude in all aspects of life."
Dr. Walsh is survived by his wife, Barbara of Temple; three daughters, Margaret Walsh of Austin, Pamela Richardson of Melbourne, Australia, and Susan Walsh of Austin; four brothers and seven grandchildren.
Memorial services were held in Temple at 11 a.m. on Monday, July 30, at St. Francis Episcopal Church. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to the St. Francis Endowment Fund, the Alzheimer's Research Association, or the Scott & White Foundation.