In Memoriam — William Snyder, professor of surgery

Dr. William H. Snyder III, professor of surgery, who trained generations of surgeons, died April 29 at the age of 73.

He joined the UT Southwestern faculty in 1971 and quickly became known as a highly skilled clinician, gifted technical surgeon, and outstanding teacher.

Dr. Snyder specialized in general and endocrine surgery with an emphasis on thyroid, parathyroid and adrenal diseases. He was instrumental in creating the reputation of
UT Southwestern Medical School and Parkland Memorial Hospital as having one of the premier academic surgical departments in the U.S. Most notably, he established an endocrine surgery program that is nationally renowned.

“Dr. Snyder was a true icon of UT Southwestern, revered by colleagues, students and patients in his 39 years as a member of our faculty,” said Dr. Daniel K. Podolsky, president of
UT Southwestern. “In addition to the contributions he made through his wide-ranging service on numerous hospital and institutional committees, Dr. Snyder played a very special role in the education and lives of medical students.”

In 2007, Dr. Snyder was selected to be the Master of the Dr. Edward H. Cary College, a learning community that brings together selected faculty with small groups of medical students to help them absorb the professional clinical skills, behaviors and attitudes of a physician.

Among the most popular attending surgeons with the residents, he had many teaching awards named in his honor, including the Laycock Snyder Teaching Award for scholar-surgeons.

Bill was beloved by all who knew him,” said Dr. Edward Livingston, chief of gastrointestinal and endocrine surgery. “He gave a great deal of himself in taking care of his patients and, most especially, in training surgeons.”

Dr. Snyder was born Nov. 28, 1936, in Hollywood, Calif. His father was chief of pediatric surgery at Los Angeles Children’s Hospital and one of the first pediatric surgeons in the U.S. His mother was one of the nation’s first female anesthesiologists.

Dr. Snyder received his undergraduate degree from Pomona College in Claremont, Calif., where he was the football team captain and became lifelong friends with teammate and musician/actor Kris Kristofferson.

In 1962, he graduated from Baylor College of Medicine in Houston before serving an internship at Philadelphia General Hospital. He served as a physician in the U.S. Public Health Service on the Navajo Indian Reservation in Crown Point, N.M. He then completed residency in general and thoracic surgery at The University of Cincinnati Affiliated Hospitals, where he served as chief resident.

To honor his memory, the William Henry Snyder III Fund for Medical Scholars has been established in care of UT Southwestern Medical Center, P.O. Box 910888, Dallas, TX 75391-0888.

— Connie Piloto / August 2010