William Ewing Lucas, M.D. Captain, U.S. Navy Medical Corps, (Ret.)
William Ewing Lucas, M.D.
Captain, U.S. Navy Medical Corps, (Ret.)
William (Bill) Lucas passed away June 6, 2015, surrounded by the love of his wife of 66 years and his children. Our father was born June 22, 1926 in Trenton, N.J. to Edmund and Nancy (Ewing) Lucas, but soon after returned to the family home in Lahore, India where his father was a Presbyterian teaching missionary at Foreman Christian College. Bill and his three brothers and two sisters had an adventurous life growing up in last days of the British Raj in India, and he could tell stories to rival Rudyard Kipling.
Bill attended high school at Woodstock School in the Himalayan foothills in Landour, India. In 1943, Bill set off for college, zig-zagging across the Indian and Atlantic Oceans on a transport ship to avoid submarines during WWII. He entered Princeton University at age 17, and three years later was accepted to Columbia University, College of Physicians & Surgeons, from which he graduated in 1950. While still a medical student, our father was blessed to meet the love of his life, student nurse Mary Lou Neylan, and they began their life journey of over six decades on June 4, 1949.
Bill enlisted in the Medical Corps of the U.S. Navy and over the next 22 years Bill, Mary Lou and their five children made numerous cross country moves, and the family was stationed for three years in Subic Bay, Philippines.
For the early years of his medical career, Bill specialized in Obstetrics and Gynecology. In 1964-65, while still in the Navy, he was able to do a Research Fellowship at UCLA and, the following year, was awarded a fellowship in Oncologic Surgery at City of Hope National Medical Center. In 1974, Bill was board certified through the Division of Gynecologic Oncology, American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology, and spent the rest of his medical career as gynecologic oncologist and surgeon. Bill completed his Navy service as Chairman, Obstetrics and Gynecology, Naval Hospital, San Diego, Calif., retiring in 1972 with the rank of Captain. He then began his second medical career, practicing and teaching at UCSD Medical School, eventually retiring in 1988 from the positions of Vice-Chairman, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Head of the Divisions of Gynecology Surgery and Gynecologic Oncology. Over the years, Bill’s family has heard from countless patients, interns, and residents about the impact his care and skill in teaching had on their lives. It brings us joy to know that he gave so much of himself doing what he was truly passionate about and that it was so appreciated.
Bill and Mary Lou enjoyed immensely their years in San Diego. In the '70s, Bill became an avid sailor, captaining his sailboat, the ‘Insouciance’ on many trips, around the bay and up the coast. Dad even taught himself to navigate by the stars, as a personal challenge. After retiring in 1988, Bill and Mary Lou moved to Ashland, Ore. and they spent a wonderful 27 years together enjoying plays, traveling the world, wintering in Kauai, and enjoying yearly houseboat vacations on Lake Shasta with their kids and grandkids. Our Dad was a wicked good tennis player almost his whole life and, up until two years ago, swam at least a mile several days a week; he kept in great shape. He also took great pleasure in his weekly bridge game with ‘the guys’, especially Dick Titus and Dick Mastain. He delighted in winning the Mountain Meadows bridge tournament one year (with the help of his ‘ringer,’ Dick Mastain.) Bill was also a political activist in retirement, writing and speaking about his firm belief that the United States should adopt a single payer health care system, holding as a principle that all persons should have access to good health care, and medical services should not be run as a for-profit business.
Dad’s death came suddenly, but we are relieved that his passing was peaceful. Dad was alive to share their 66th wedding anniversary with our mother, two days before he died. He was looking forward to a family birthday party planned for his 89th birthday, on June 22nd. However, since our father was also an avid reader of World War II history, we find it somehow fitting that he passed away on June 6, the anniversary of D-Day. We think he might have thought so too.
A memorial service and celebration of life is planned for 1:00 p.m. Sunday, June 28, 2015 at Mountain Meadows, 855 Mountain Meadows Drive in the Mt. Ashland Room. Mary Lou and family would love to hear from friends; please share any memories or messages at william-ewing-lucas.forevermissed.com.