Willliam H. Donnelly: a brief appreciation of a colleague and friend.
Every Society needs a William (Bill) Donnelly for its growth and well–being, and if there were more people like Bill, society as a whole would benefit greatly.
The bare outlines of a professional colleagues career (where one trained and what one did in a formal capacity), rarely, in my experience, do justice to the whole person. The lists of appointments held and papers published etc., do not reflect the tremendous influence Bill had on the growth and development of our Pediatric Pathology Society as it transmogrified from a Club to a Society. Bill was one of the pioneers in our group to start the recording of attendance and participation at our meetings, laying the groundwork for the days when documentation for CME credits would be far more onerous. He pioneered the collection of Workload Statistics, Staffing/workload ratios and relative rates of compensation across North American centres with services in Pediatric pathology. These were of course crucial items of information that facilitated the successful approach to the American Board of Pathology for subspecialty certification. He was involved with one of the early courses of Pediatric Pathology at the AFIP in 1978, a programme chaired by another great figure in the history of our subspecialty, Dr Molly Valdes Dapena. He was always driving for excellence in teaching Pathology, especially in using the autopsy as an invaluable teaching tool, and in developing electronic systems of recording and retrieving data, so that the efforts needed to collect the data could be fully utilized. He encouraged junior members without holding back anything. He won awards from his Medical School and University for many similar activities, but we run the risk of forgetting his contributions to our Society.
I had met Bill at the San Francisco meeting in 1974, and we had been friends ever since. His involvement in the affairs of the Society dated from that first meeting I believe, and he never stopped working for the interests of our group. Several of the tasks called for the exercise of considerable tact, and in the words of one of his favourite songs:-"sure the charm in your smile, even stones would beguile"!
Bill was always up to the task!
Our families became close friends, and we regarded them as our extended family in Florida. Our children shared several similar interests, as did Michelle and Rosemary, and Bill and I both enjoyed talking about track and field and politics or almost anything else. We have numerous happy memories of days beside Florida beaches as our children grew up, our visit to Gainesville, and of visits that Bill and Michelle paid to our house at different times over these past 38 years. We visited him in Gainesville in November 2011, when we all knew that time was beginning to run out. We had a very pleasant time talking about days that were gone and those that were to come. We are grandparents after all and there is so much to look forward to. I just wish there could be more days like that in his company.
Derek de Sa
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