A shining light burned out this past Sunday night, May 27th, when William C. Van Buskirk, M.D., passed away just short of his 95th birthday, at the ICU in St. Joseph’s Hospital.
Dad was born on August 5th, 1923, to Charles Louis and Marie Emma (Musgrove) Van Buskirk. As a fiery young redhead, he worked his way through Holy Cross Grade School, De LaSalle and Northeast High Schools and began his college education at Kansas City Junior College.
It was while working as a student at the University of Missouri Medical School that he met and married the beautiful Vivian Kathryn Morton and they began a family in Texas while he served as a Captain in the Army Air Corp during World War II. He moved the family to Boston and added a couple more kids while interning at Boston City Hospital and serving his residency at the Boston VA Hospital. Upon graduation from Harvard Medical School, he moved the family back to Kansas City to begin his general surgery practice.
He served for forty years on the staff of numerous hospitals while doubling the size of his family to eight kids. His professional credits and accomplishments include membership on both the American Board of Surgery and the American College of Surgeons. He also served on the board and a term as President of the Kansas City Surgical Society. Additionally, he served as Chief of Staff at Baptist Medical Center.
Accomplishments and accolades aside, he was truly a remarkable man. As a child of the Great Depression, he was driven to succeed, whether it was in the realm of education, on the tennis court, or mastering computer technology. His endless patience and fierce determination drove him to meet or exceed his goals.
Yet he was a very warm, humble man with a charm that melted the hearts of everyone he met. With the twinkling of his grey eyes or his incandescent smile he touched many. To this day, at any social event, we come in contact with people he encountered and are often treated to wonderful stories about him.
Dad was predeceased by our Mother, Vivian, and our brother, Thomas Frederick. His is survived by his children, Richard (Marcia), John (Cecelia), William, Kathleen (Martin) Haake, Patricia Pronold, Mark (Patricia), and Nancy (Jeffrey Vest) Van Buskirk. Additionally, he is survived by nine grandchildren and several great-grandchilden.
In lieu of flowers, we request donations to the Brain Injury Association of Kansas, Kansans for Life, or the Alzheimer’s Association. We are forever grateful to the wonderful staff of Tallgrass Creek Retirement Community for their excellent care this past year and to the terrific staff at the Intensive Care Unit at St. Joseph’s Medical Center.
Services are Friday, June 1st, at St. Ann Catholic Church, 7231 Mission Road, in Prairie Village. Visitation begins at 9:30am, the Rosary at 10:30am, and Mass at 11:00am.
Father, there is a huge void in our lives, we miss you, we love you, rest in peace.