Ex-UF med school dean William Deal dies

Published: Wednesday, March 20, 2013 at 7:13 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, March 20, 2013 at 7:13 p.m.

Dr. William Deal, a former dean of the University of Florida College of Medicine, died unexpectedly last Friday at age 76 in Birmingham, Ala., where he lived.

Deal's relationship to UF goes back to his residency, which he started here in 1964 and returned to finish in 1969 after a stint in the Navy.

Deal was dean of the College of Medicine from 1977 to 1988 and also served as vice president for health affairs for most of that time.

"It was like working with your best buddy," said Dr. J. Lee Dockery, who served as associate dean of the college during Deal's tenure.

Deal "had a wonderful sense of humor and delegated well, and was attentive to people's needs," Dockery said. "He didn't seem to have a lot of crises, which was unique in these situations."

Dockery added, "I think he advanced the status of Shands Teaching Hospital and enabled it to become a nonprofit organization."

After leaving UF, Deal became president of the Maine Medical Center in Portland, Maine, and then senior vice president of medicine and dean of the School of Medicine at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

Deal also served as interim director and CEO of the UAB Health System.

Deal also held important roles in the American Medical Association and the Association of American Medical Schools and "was well-liked nationally," Dockery said.

Dockery's continued friendship and professional rapport with Deal allowed for a collaboration in establishing the Evelyn F. McKnight Brain Institute at the University of Alabama, a spin-off of UF's own McKnight Brain Institute.

"He was just a great guy and leaves a great legacy and leaves the earth too early," Dockery said.

Deal is survived by his wife, April, and two daughters, Kimberly and Kathleen.

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