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Colonel William Marcellus Runkle M.D.

Obituary Condolences

Colonel William Marcellus Runkle, M.D. Colonel William Marcellus Runkle, M.D., 76 years, Austin Texas, passed through Heaven's gates on 12 January 2013 after a long struggle with Alzheimer's Disease. William was born in Harrisonburg, Virginia, 8 August, 1936. His family was subject to many moves in the course of his childhood due to his father's employment as a Virginia Highway Engineer. William attended Appomattox High School, Virginia, and won the fourth District Oratorical contest using his honed communication skills. His diverse academia molded him into a compelling thespian, where his remarkable abilities influenced many plays, such as "Lilliom" and "The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit", held during his years at Lynchburg College. It was also in the midst of those years that William found his true love, June G. Heier, whom he courted and married in 1957. William had a long and distinguished career. He graduated BS Cum Laude at Lynchburg College in 1958 and matriculated into the University of Virginia Medical Doctor program. He entered active duty service at Langley AFB, VA on 28 Aug 1961. After receiving his Doctor of Medicine Degree in 1962, he went on to accomplish a Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio internship program in 1963. His follow on assignment was Williams AFB, AZ where he served as Flight Surgeon from 1963 to 1966, and was awarded the Air Medal for the daring rescue of an Active Duty Service Member. He then filled the Aeromedical Services Chief billet, Hahn AB, Germany from 1966 to 1969. In 1970, he garnered a Masters of Public Health degree from Johns Hopkins School of Hygiene and Public Health, Baltimore, MD. Between 1970 and 1972, he worked on his Aerospace Medicine Residency, Phase II/III at the USAF School of Aerospace Medicine, Brooks AFB, TX, and became board certified by the American Board of Preventative Medicine in 1972. From 1972 to 1973, he was assigned as USAF Hospital Commander, Ubon RTAFB, Thailand, during the Vietnam War. He also served as Clinic Commander, Blythville AFB, AR (1973-1974); Clinic Commander, Holloman AFB, NM (1974-1977); Chief, Aeromedical Services and Deputy Commander, Bergstrom AFB, TX (1977-1981); Chief of Professional Services and Deputy Surgeon, HQ PACAF, HI (1981-1983); Clinic Commander, Hickam AFB, HI (1983-1984); Chief, Life Services Division, Safety Directorate, Air Force Safety and Inspection Center, Norton AFB, CA (1984-1986); and Clinic Commander, Randolph AFB, TX (1986-1989). In 1983, William was appointed consultant to the Air Force Surgeon General for Aerospace Medicine. His extensive background in military aircraft accident investigation was required in over twenty Safety Investigation boards. He was a fellow of American College of Preventative Medicine, Aerospace Medical Association, Association of Military Surgeons of the United States, Society of USAF Flight Surgeons, Society of USAF Physicians, and National President of the SAFE Association (1987). Decorations include a bronze star, three Air Medals, National Defense Services Medal, three Meritorious Service Medals, Air Force Commendation Medal, Vietnam Service Medal with one service star, Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal, Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross with Palm, and assorted awards. William "Doc" Runkle was a God-fearing humanitarian, visionary and leader. He cared deeply for his country, colleagues and family. He will be leaving a loving wife, June "Bug" Runkle, three daughters, Catheron, Marcella, and Rebeccah, and son, William Jr., six grandchildren and two great grandchildren. Memorial Services will be conducted at half-past ten in the morning on Wednesday, the 23rd of January, at the Church of Glad Tidings, 2700 Northland Drive, Austin. Condolences may be sent to


Published in Austin American-Statesman on Jan. 20, 2013
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