William Crosby Jr., 90, Retired Army Doctor

The Washington Times (Washington, DC), February 9, 2005 | Go to article overview

William Crosby Jr., 90, Retired Army Doctor


Byline: THE WASHINGTON TIMES

William H. Crosby Jr., a retired Army colonel and physician who served at Walter Reed Army Institute of Research and George Washington University, died Jan. 15 in Joplin, Mo. He was 90.

Born Dec. 1, 1914, in Wheeling, W.Va., Dr. Crosby was raised in Oil City, Pa. He earned his medical degree at the University of Pennsylvania and served his internship at Walter Reed General Hospital, now Walter Reed Army Medical Center, in the District.

Dr. Crosby was assigned as a regimental surgeon for the 338th Infantry, one of the combat teams of the 85th Division during World War II. His service in Algeria and Italy earned him a Bronze Star with two oak leaf clusters.

After receiving specialized training with Dr. William Damashek in Boston in the late 1940s, Dr. Crosby served a year at the Queen Alexandria Military Hospital in London. Upon his return to Walter Reed, he first established hematology as an Army medical specialty, then oncology five years later.

Dr. Crosby served as chief of hematology at Walter Reed Army Institute of Research from 1951 to 1965.

In the winter of 1952, he was sent to Korea to become director of the surgical research team in the combat zone. After serving in Korea, he began to study the disease hemochromatosis.

In 1965, after more than 25 years of service, Dr. Crosby retired from the Army to succeed Dr. Damashek at Tufts-New England Medical Center in Boston. Years later, he moved on to Scripps Clinic and Research Foundation in San Diego, where he established a training program in hematology/oncology.

In 1979, he was recalled to active duty. He served an additional four years at Walter Reed and retired again.

In 1983, Dr. Crosby was invited by the Veterans Administration to become one of 11 professors in its nationwide Distinguished Physicians Program. He resigned two years later to take up private practice in Joplin, where he spent his remaining years.

During his career, Dr. Crosby served as professor of medicine at George Washington University, Tufts University, the University of California at San Diego and the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda.

He wrote more than 500 research papers and served on the editorial boards of 12 medical journals. He was a member or fellow of several international societies of hematology, and served on the Medical Advisory Committee of the Red Cross and the NASA Life Sciences Advisory Committee.

Dr. Crosby is a laureate of the American College of Physicians and is listed in past editions of Who's Who in America and Who's Who in the World.

Additional distinctions and awards include the Legion of Merit, the American Defense Service Medal, the World War II Victory Medal, the Combat Medical Badge and the Stitt Award for medical research from the Association of Military Surgeons.

He is survived by his wife, Ann; four sons, John Crosby of Chesapeake, Va., Seth Crosby of St. Louis, David Crosby of Milan, Italy, and Jonathan Crosby of San Francisco; two daughters, Mary Ann Blankenship of Damascus, and Susanna Perrin of Tigard, Ore.; a brother, Forrester Crosby of San Diego; a sister, Marian Wolke, of Waynesboro, Va.; and 14 grandchildren. He was preceded in death by a sister, Margaret Ann Wood, of Pasadena, Calif. …

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