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William P. Halford


1968 - 2017
William P. Halford Obituary
William P. Halford 1968 - 2017
Springfield, IL—William P. Halford, 48, of Springfield, Illinois passed away at his home on June 22, 2017 from a long battle with cancer. Bill was born in 1968 to Jerome P. and Elsie B. Halford in New Orleans, Louisiana. He married Melanie Riel on March 21, 1992 in Pleasant Hill, California. Bill received his B.A. from the University of California, Santa Barbara in Marine Biology in 1991, and his Ph.D. in Immunology and Microbiology from Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center in 1996. He then completed a postdoctoral Fellowship at the University of Pennsylvania, followed by faculty positions at Tulane University School of Medicine and Montana State University, before spending the past 10 years at Southern Illinois University School of Medicine, where he achieved the rank of Associate Professor in the Department of Medical Microbiology, Immunology and Cell Biology.
Bill was passionate about teaching the next generation of physicians and scientists. He served as Course Director for the Year 2 medical curriculum on Hematology, Immunology and Infection and mentored numerous graduate students in the Molecular Biology, Microbiology and Biochemistry graduate program. He was twice nominated for educator of the year at the School of Medicine and was voted recipient of the "Excellence in Teaching Award" twice by his department colleagues.
Bill was a gifted scientist who attained international recognition following his twenty-five years of research on herpes simplex viruses. His studies were always guided by the premise that the fundamental purpose of medical research is to help people. To that end, he spent the past decade developing a new vaccine for the treatment and eradication of herpes. The culmination of his dedication and research efforts led Bill to co-Found Rational Vaccines, Inc. (RVx), a company whose primary mission is to eradicate herpes viruses using live, attenuated strains he developed. True to his passion for teaching, Bill also maintained a blog to provide education, information and hope for those suffering from herpes. In addition to research and teaching, Bill enjoyed traveling, skiing, hiking, sailing and live music. He loved his family, friends, and golden retriever.
Bill was preceded in death by his father Jerome Halford and mother Elsie Halford.
His survivors include his wife, Melanie Halford of Springfield; children Justin Halford of Chicago, Illinois and Kate Halford of Bloomington, Illinois; and brother Keith (Susie Crowley) Halford of Carson City, Nevada. A memorial ceremony will be held in California at a date to be determined.
In lieu of gifts, Bill requested those wishing to make a memorial contribution please consider the SIU Foundation, online at https://www.siumed.edu/foundation/giving.html (specify Halford Vaccine Research) or by mail to c/o Risa Kirkpatrick, SIU School of Medicine, P.O. Box 19626, Springfield, IL 62794.
Published in Print in The State Journal-Register from June 24 to June 25, 2017
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