William Robert Roy, MD, 1926-2014
William Robert Roy, 88, Topeka, KS, passed away Monday, May 26, 2014, at Stormont Vail Hospital in the presence of family members.
Bill was born February 23, 1926, in Bloomington, IL, to Elmer Javan Roy and Edna Blanche Foley, who preceded him in death. Bill married Jane Twining Osterhoudt of Bloomington, IL, on September 7, 1947. They met as students at Illinois Wesleyan University, where they both earned undergraduate degrees.
Bill’s wife Jane preceded him in death. He is survived by all of their six children – daughters Robin Sweeney (spouse Craig Sweeney) of Scranton, PA, Randy Roy (William Kasper, deceased) of Topeka, Richelle Roy, Topeka, son William R. Roy, Jr. (Juanita DeMotte Roy) of Lenexa, and daughters Renee Roy (Bruce Copley) of Shoreview, MN and Rise Roy (David Gerrish) of Fairbanks, AK; as well as by their ten grandchildren and six great grandchildren. Also surviving is Keiko Saeki Maruo of Kobe, Japan, who came to live with the family as an international exchange student in 1966-67, and became very much a member of the family with many international visits, as well as his sister Marian Elson of Bloomington, IL.
Bill earned his Doctor of Medicine from Northwestern University Medical School, Chicago, in 1949. He came to Topeka in 1953, assigned as a military physician to Forbes Air Force Base. Upon being honorably discharged from the United State Air Force in 1955 with the rank of Captain, he entered the private practice of obstetrics and gynecology with Daniel Tappan, MD. “I chose the practice of obstetrics, because it was the happy side of medicine,” he said. He retired in 1989 having delivered over 8500 babies.
He and his wife together earned Juris Doctor degrees from Washburn University School of Law in 1970.
Bill’s career in medicine was interrupted when he ran for political office in 1970. To the surprise of nearly everyone, he was elected to Congress, upsetting the three term incumbent. He was overwhelmingly re-elected to the 2nd District seat of northeast Kansas in 1972. In 1974 and 1978, he ran close but unsuccessful races as the Democratic nominee for US Senate.
Upon retiring from medicine, he began writing a weekly newspaper column, which was printed in the Topeka Capital Journal and circulated in many papers statewide for 25 years until only a few weeks ago.
Bill was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Public Service by Washburn University in 2008. For the past decade, he met with 35-40 students each semester to engage them in dialogue as part of a political science curriculum at Washburn.
Bill was a member of Sigma Chi fraternity and Topeka First United Methodist Church. He served on the Board of Directors of Sentry Insurance Company; Washburn University Board of Regents; Kansas Board of Regents; the Board of Regents of the Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences, the military's medical school; and as an elected Member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies of Science.
A memorial service will be held at 11:00 a.m. Friday, June 6, at First United Methodist Church, 600 Topeka Boulevard. Memorial contributions may be made to the Washburn University Foundation to benefit the William R. and Jane T. Roy Fund . Penwell-Gabel Mid-Town is in charge of arrangements.
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