Bill Troyer

Dr. William Gail Troyer Jr., 89, known to most as “Bill,” an Oak Park resident since 1974, died on June 20, 2023. Born on Jan. 16, 1934, to William Sr. and Jane Guynn Troyer in South Bend, Indiana. Though proud of his Hoosier roots, he was destined for life beyond Indiana. One of his high school teachers spotted potential in him and suggested he “go east” for college. He was awarded full scholarships at a number of colleges in Indiana as well, as a partial scholarship to Harvard, but it was Williams College in Massachusetts that he chose and met many lifelong friends. He majored in economics, wrote for the newspaper and was active in Psi Upsilon fraternity. 

After graduating in 1956, he enrolled in medical school at the University of Pittsburgh. During this time, he was set up on a blind date with Loretta Edwards, a nursing student from a nearby college, and they married in 1959. He is remembered as a very serious but caring and kind person.

After medical school, he pursued a career in academic medicine and administration, starting with fellowships at the University of Oklahoma and Duke University. His research on beta blockers, which control high blood pressure, contributed to medical advances that millions have enjoyed since the 1960s. He paused his career ambitions to serve in the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War and spent his service conducting medical research at Walter Reed in Washington D.C. After completing his service, the family moved to Madison, Wisconsin, for a position at the University of Wisconsin Medical School, and by 1974, they put down permanent roots in Oak Park, which offered proximity to the University of Illinois Chicago where he served as an administrator and clinical professor, ultimately becoming chief of staff of the hospital for more than a decade. He retired in the late 1990s but practiced medicine part time there for many years. He once told his daughter that seeing patients made him a better administrator because he knew more about their experience at the clinics. When asked why he was seeing patients well into his retirement, he explained that he still had some patients he had first seen in 1974 and did not want them to have to find a new doctor. He was an “old school” doctor who kept a black bag to hold his examination gear, occasionally made house calls, and even provided his home phone number.

He served on various committees for the Illinois State Medical Society, the Economic Club of Chicago, West Suburban Hospital College of Nursing, and Oak Park Township.  He also served in various fundraising roles for his alma mater and felt strongly that it was an honor to serve the community.

Research and analysis were among his core competencies, and he enjoyed conducting research on his favorite military and political hero, General Dwight D. Eisenhower. Logging many hours in the archives of the Eisenhower Presidential Library as well as places where Eisenhower and his associates had lived, studied, worked or fought, he discovered some connections even professional historians had not considered. An avid reader, he also enjoyed spy novels, historical biographies and medical journals over the years.

Bill Troyer is survived by his sons, William III, and Stephen; his daughter, Judy (Richard) Deogracias; his grandchildren, Wade, Amelia (William O’Leary), and George Troyer, and Raymond and Lourdes Deogracias; and his great-granddaughter Seraphina Loretta O’Leary. He was preceded in death by his wife, Lorrie, and his sister, Portia Kelley. 

An early fall memorial service in Chicago is planned. The Troyer family would like to thank the extraordinary care team at Journeycare Hospice as well as his physicians at Rush University Hospitals in Chicago and Oak Park and the University of Illinois, many of whom are his former students. 

In lieu of flowers, the family would appreciate donations to Thresholds at, a nonprofit provider of mental health services and programming in Chicago, which Bill and Lorrie supported over the years.

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