William O. Edward, MD: 1930–2012

Albuquerque retina specialist founded the Aspen Retinal Detachment Society

William O. Edward, MD, died January 1, 2012 at age 81. Bill was a long-time member of ASRS, but many of us know him as the cofounder and spirit of the Aspen Retinal Detachment Society, founded in 1972. The ARDS meeting format embodies the notion of real exchange of ideas, open and often critical discussion in a friendly, casual, incredibly enjoyable environment. No good idea went unpunished; no formality or political correctness was allowed.

I had the good fortune of being Bill’s friend for 36 years. I spent many evenings enjoying the conversation and warm hospitality of his homes in Albuquerque, New Mexico and Snowmass, Colorado. Bill had an insatiable appetite for friendship; he was in constant contact with his many friends from medicine and many other disciplines. Bill referred to me as Stevie Wonder or his little Swedish brother and went to great effort to try, albeit unsuccessfully, to get me to relax in the mountains and enjoy nature. I had the good fortune of practicing with him while in Albuquerque for my robotics research. Bill was fascinated with interesting cases, the medical literature, and the people and ideas driving progress. He truly cared about his patients.

Bill graduated from Yale College in 1951 and Yale Medical School in 1955; there he met the love of his life, best friend, and wife, Mary Lou. He then went on to postgraduate training at the University of Utah, followed by ophthalmology residency at the University of California, San Francisco. He served in the Air Force as a flight surgeon at Kirtland Air Force Base in Albuquerque from 1957 to 1958.

After his military service, Bille was a retinal surgeon in a private ophthalmology practice in Albuquerque for 44 years. He was a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons and a member of the American Academy of Ophthalmology, Frederick Cordes Eye Society, the AMA and the American Society of Retina Specialists. Bill served Yale for many years as a representative to the Association of Yale Alumni, the board of governors of the AYA and as president of the Yale Club of NM.

He is survived by his wife Mary Lou of 58 years; daughters Robin M. Edward, MD, and Carol Myers, son John B. Edward and wife Gayle; and grandchildren Tiffany Lupcho, Kayla Myers, Kacey Myers, and Jack and Bryce Edward. Bill was always a strong supporter of Mary Lou’s endeavors in advocating for children’s causes and family planning. Bill loved his family in a manner we should all strive to achieve.

Bill was an enthusiastic athlete who enjoyed skiing and tennis. Spending time at Snowmass with family and close friends was the highlight of his life. This included taking runs on The Big Burn, hiking favorite trails, picnicking by a gurgling stream or attending the Aspen Music Festival concerts and Aspen Institute programs.

Bill will be greatly missed by his wonderful family, his many friends, colleagues, and patients; all of us can learn from his example of caring, intellectual curiosity, ethics, work ethic, humor, and especially devoted friendship.

—Steve Charles, MD, FACS, FICS

Updated: January 8, 2012

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