G. William Moore, MD, PhD Memorial Fund

Testimony from Jules J. Berman, MD, PhD, April 6, 2011

“With great sadness, I am writing to report the death of G. William Moore, MD, PhD, a longtime API member, and a former recipient of API's Honorary Fellow award.  He passed away Monday evening following a long period of poor health. Bill was 65 years old.

His many friends at API may not be aware of the full breadth of his scientific achievements, and I would like to bring to light some details of his personal and professional life to remind us what a great loss his passing brings.

Bill grew up in Detroit and graduated at the top of his class from Highland Park High School, in 1963.  Besides being a superb student, Bill was also a very talented singer.  While in grade-school, Bill sang in the chorus at The Cathedral Church of Saint Paul. He participated as a chorus boy soprano in a performance by the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, of George Bizet's Carmen, under the baton of Paul Paray.   He continued his chorus activities with few interruptions, for the remainder of his active life.  His peak achievement, as a singer, may have been his performance for the Michigan Choral Union, under the baton of Igor Stravinsky.  I've had the pleasure of hearing Bill sing solo.  He had a remarkable voice that produced a deep, rich, and expressive sound.

Bill earned his undergraduate degree from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, where he majored in Cellular Biology.  While still an undergraduate at U of Mich, Bill published his first paper (the first of hundreds of contributions to the literature).

For graduate school, Bill attended North Carolina State University at Raleigh,  where he received a Ph.D. in Biomathematics, in 1971. Also in 1971, he married the love of his life, Barbara, and the two newlyweds traveled to Germany, where Bill completed a year of postdoctoral work, under the supervision of the late Dr. Walter Sandritter, at the University of Freiburg (Bill was fluent in German). After his postdoc stint, Bill returned to Detroit, where he earned his medical degree from Wayne State University School of Medicine, in 1976.

Bill did his residency in Anatomic Pathology at Johns Hopkins.  Bill stayed on at Hopkins as an assistant professor in pathology. He and Barbara had two sons, and the family built their lives in Baltimore. In 1989, Bill moved from Johns Hopkins to the Baltimore VA and the University of Maryland School of Medicine, where he accepted an appointment as an associate professor. Bill never retired; he passed away still working as a full-time staff pathologist at the VA.

His contributions to the fields of pathology and informatics are too numerous to mention.  His earliest papers were pioneering efforts in the nascent field of computational cladistics.  These early works, by Bill and his colleagues, paved the way to present-day genomics-based classification efforts.  Bill had a keen interest in statistical methods.  His token-swap method, which is used to this day, was a predecessor for some of the resampling methods that have been developed in recent years.

Bill worked in the field of pathology informatics before the field even had a name.   At Johns Hopkins, he learned to program in MUMPS (now called M), and he developed a wide range of computational techniques for parsing, indexing, and analyzing the data contained in surgical pathology and autopsy reports.  Dr. Robert Miller, a fellow API member, worked with Bill on many of these early informatics efforts.   For several decades, Bill worked closely with his friend and mentor, Dr. Grover Hutchins, the chief of the autopsy service at Hopkins.  Dr. Hutchins passed away one year ago (April 27, 2010).

When Bill came to the VA, he developed a close working relationship with myself, and with Dr. Lawrence Brown.  Dr. Brown co-authored some of the abstracts that Bill presented at various API meetings.  I owe my interest in pathology informatics to Bill.  Over the years, we published numerous research papers together.  We were both very proud of our book, published in 2009 - Precancer: The Beginning and the End of Cancer.

Bill knew how to collaborate; a potent skill for an active scientist. He could draw talented people of diverse professional backgrounds into his own intellectual world.  Among his hundreds of co-authors was his father-in-law, Raimond Struble, a professor of mathematics.  Over the past decade, he worked productively with his father in law, on several different projects.  The two published an abstract together at a prior API meeting.

Among his professional honors, he was named a Woodrow Wilson Fellow (1967), and he received the Ludwig Aschoff Medal, from the Medical Society of Freiburg (1980). In 2007, he was named Honorary Fellow by the Association for Pathology Informatics.  His API award was very dear to Bill, and he greatly valued the friendships he made at the API meetings.

Dr. G. William Moore is survived by his wife (Barbara Lynne), and his son, Gregory Vincent Wayne Moore.  He is also survived by his brother and sister.  His older son, Geoffrey Walter Moore, passed away just three months ago.”

Tax deductible donations to the G. William Moore, M.D., Ph.D. Memorial Fund can be used to support API educational programs.


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