American College of Physicians: Internal Medicine — Doctors for Adults ®

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Obituaries

From the May ACP-ASIM Observer, copyright © 2002 by the American College of Physicians-American Society of Internal Medicine.

William J. Darby, MACP

William J. Darby, MACP, a pioneering nutritionist and biochemist, died June 6, 2001. A long-time instructor at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, he was 87 years old.

Born in Galloway, Ark., in 1913, Dr. Darby received his medical degree from the University of Arkansas School of Medicine in 1937 and taught physiological chemistry there for the next two years. He then studied biochemistry at the University of Michigan, completing a fellowship in 1940, a master's in 1941 and a PhD in 1942.

Dr. Darby began his career at Vanderbilt in 1942 as a special fellow in nutrition. After a brief stint teaching at Duke University and the University of North Carolina, he returned to Vanderbilt in 1944 as an assistant professor of biochemistry and medicine. He went on to become chair of the biochemistry department in 1949, a position he held for 22 years.

While at Vanderbilt, he obtained the funding to establish the nation's first nutrition unit at a medical school. Throughout his career, he advanced the knowledge of the human body's requirements for protein, zinc, iron and folic acid.

From 1972 to 1982, Dr. Darby served as president of the National Academy of Science's Nutrition Foundation. He also served as professor emeritus of biochemistry at Vanderbilt from 1979 until his death. He became a Master of the College in 1974.

Dr. Darby bequeathed his large collection of rare nutrition books to the university's Eskind Biomedical Library, where he served as curator during retirement.

William Taliaferro Thompson Jr., MACP

William Taliaferro Thompson Jr., MACP, a former Governor for the Virginia Chapter, died Feb. 19, 2002. A pulmonologist and professor at the Medical College of Virginia, he was 88 years old.

After graduating at the top of his class from the Medical College of Virginia (MCV) in 1938, Dr. Thompson completed his internship in Boston. He then returned to MCV for residency and stayed on as an instructor.

During World War II, he served with the 45th General Hospital Unit in Africa and Italy. After the war, he worked at St. Luke's Hospital and McGuire Veterans Administration Hospital in Richmond.

In 1954, Dr. Thompson was named chief of medical services at McGuire VA Hospital and associate professor of medicine at MCV. He became chair of MCV's department of medicine in 1959, a position he held for 14 years.

Dr. Thompson was part of a team that established MCV's first intensive care unit, and he laid the foundation for what became the college's pulmonary and critical care division. After retiring from MCV in 1974, he served as medical director at the Westminster-Canterbury retirement community until 1987.

In 1987, the American Lung Association provided a grant to establish the W. Taliaferro Thompson Jr. Chair of Pulmonary Medicine at MCV.

Dr. Thompson served as Governor for the Virginia Chapter from 1971-75 and received a Laureate Award from the chapter in 1986. He was awarded College Mastership in 1978.

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