SPOKANE, Wash. - Lloyd William Rudy Jr., 77, a former Great Falls physician, died of natural causes Sunday, Apr. 22, at a Spokane medical center.
A memorial service is 3 p.m. Friday at St. Mark's Lutheran Church in Spokane. Heritage Funeral Home of Spokane is handling the ar-rangements.
Lloyd was born in Spokane on June 21, 1934, to Lloyd and Mildred Rudy. He grew up in Wenatchee, Wash., and attended Wenatchee High School, Washington State University and the University of Washington Medical School. He was inspired greatly by his uncle, Leslie Hildebrand, a physician and war veteran. Lloyd completed his medical internship and residency at the University of San Francisco Medical Center. He was then called to serve as a physician in Vietnam, earning the rank of captain in the Army. He saved the lives of countless soldiers under his care in his M.A.S.H. unit.
Upon returning from the war, Lloyd became a board-certified cardiovascular and thoracic surgeon and taught and researched at the Uni-versity of San Francisco Medical School and, later, as dean of the heart program at the University of Georgia School of Medicine. Lloyd was the youngest member of the first heart transplant team at Stanford University. He entered private practice in Spokane as a heart and lung surgeon. He was a pioneer in quantifying surgical procedures that led to drastically increasing the survival rate of heart patients. The na-tional and world-wide attention resulting from the procedures led to an appearance on the "60 Minutes" television show and speaking engagements around the world.
After practicing medicine for decades at Sacred Heart and Deaconess Hospitals in Spokane - and showing a special bedside manner, compassion and humor for his patients - he was called to Great Falls to start a heart surgery program here so patients in Montana would not have to travel to Spokane for surgery. A grateful group of patients established the Dr. Lloyd Rudy Jr. Fan Club, and a day in August has been dedicated as Dr. Lloyd Rudy Day by Montana's governor.
In retirement, Lloyd continued giving his time as medical liaison for the Heart Attack and Stroke Prevention Clinic, traveling and speak-ing about the connection between dental and heart health. Lloyd also continued his intellectual passion and shared his unique life stories and experiences with friends and family. He most enjoyed his times at his Priest Lake cabin, a place he truly loved. Walking his dogs, ski-ing, reading and being with his family is how he filled his days. Lloyd had an immense energy and love for life that is truly rare. We have all been touched in a positive way by him, and we will miss him dearly.
He is survived by his adoring family which includes his wife, Kathi; his twin brother, Leslie; children Kelly, Scott, Kurt, Brett, Kristin and Alex; and grandchildren Tucker and Grace.
In lieu of flowers, please make memorial contributions to the American Heart Association
at 140 S. Arthur St., Suite 610, Spokane, WA 99202
Condolences may be posted online at www.gftribune.com/obituaries