September 15, 2011

Vanderbilt mourns death of trauma surgeon Riordan

Vanderbilt mourns death of trauma surgeon Riordan

William P. (Bill) Riordan Jr. M.D., assistant professor of Surgery, chief of Emergency General Surgery and a member of the Division of Trauma and Surgical Critical Care, died Friday, Sept. 9. He was 42.

William P. (Bill) Riordan Jr. M.D.

William P. (Bill) Riordan Jr. M.D.

A gathering of family and friends with an open speaking forum was held Tuesday, Sept. 13, at Loews Vanderbilt Hotel. Burial will be at a later date at Doylestown Cemetery in Doylestown, Pa., where his parents are buried.

Dr. Riordan came to Vanderbilt as a resident in 1999, remained for a fellowship and joined the faculty in 2005.

He was a graduate of the University of Kentucky School of Medicine, having previously earned a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from Penn State and a master’s degree in electrical engineering from the University of Pennsylvania.

It was after he had completed his graduate studies in engineering that Dr. Riordan decided to return to an earlier goal and attend medical school.

John Tarpley, M.D., program director in Surgery, who worked to recruit Dr. Riordan to Vanderbilt, remembered him as a hard worker who earned the affection and respect of those with whom he worked.

“He would volunteer for Christmas call because he wanted colleagues with children to be able to spend time with their families,” he said. “He earned the respect of nurses, colleagues and patients and families for his compulsiveness, interest, dedication, hard work and integrity.”

Tarpley also remembered Dr. Riordan’s love of animals, including his dogs Oliver and Beags, and his love of horses and riding. He could often be seen on rounds wearing his preferred footwear, short-top riding boots.

Dr. Riordan was preceded in death by his parents, William Patrick Riordan Sr. and Theresa Kassab Riordan. He is survived by his sister, Margaret Bracken and brother-in-law, James Bracken of Langhorne, Pa.; step-brother, Lee Woulfe; step-sister, Kelly Varcoe; a niece and a nephew, as well as many other family and friends.

The family requests that memorials for Dr. Riordan be made to the American Cancer Society or to the Nashville Humane Association.