Remembering William Eugene Mayberry, M.D., Former Mayo Clinic CEO and Chair of the Department of Laboratory Medicine

dr-mayberry-in-library-16x9-1024x576William Eugene Mayberry, M.D., a distinguished Mayo Clinic physician, research scientist, and administrator, passed away on Sept. 18 in Rochester, Minnesota. He was 87.

Dr. Mayberry served as president, CEO, and chairman of the Board of Governors of Mayo Clinic from 1976 to 1987. He also served as chairman of the Department of Laboratory Medicine from 1970-1975and was Professor of Laboratory Medicine and Professor of Medicine at Mayo Medical School. Dr. Mayberry was significant in the founding and success of the Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology and Mayo Medical Laboratories. 

He led Mayo Clinic through a period marked by significant change, and, to quote Dr. Mayberry, “Through change, we move forward. It’s how we grow. Discomfort with change is only to be expected. With time, we realize that, on the whole, change has been marvelously good for Mayo.”

Those words reflect the momentous developments that took place during his leadership:

  • Leading the establishment of Mayo Clinic sites in Arizona and Florida
  • Integrating Mayo Clinic with Saint Marys and Rochester Methodist hospitals
  • Championing early efforts in diversity
  • Expanding development activities to support Mayo Clinic’s mission in clinical practice, education and research

“Dr. Mayberry was an outstanding physician scientist who cared deeply for his patients and the staff and employees of Mayo Clinic,” says John Noseworthy, M.D., president & CEO, Mayo Clinic. “His pioneering leadership brought forth great change and was vital in shaping Mayo Clinic as a destination for patients from across the nation and around the world. He will long be remembered as one of the great leaders in Mayo Clinic history.”

Dr. Mayberry was a Tennessee native who graduated from Tennessee Technological University in 1947 and the University of Tennessee School of Medicine in 1953. He served in the U.S. Navy’s Underwater Demolition Team for two years before beginning postgraduate work in endocrinology. His research interest was in thyroid function, and he continued his studies at Mayo Graduate School of Medicine, the University of Minnesota, New England Center Hospital, and the National Institute of Arthritis and Metabolic Diseases.

In addition to his work at Mayo, he was a member of several medical and administrative professional associations, and served on many civic boards. He retired on June 30, 1992.

Dr. Mayberry is survived by his daughter, Ann Mayberry, of Chicago; his son, Paul Mayberry, of Atlanta; and six grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his wife, Jane, and his brother, Thomas.

Kelley Luedke (@kschrib)

Kelley Luedke

Kelley Luedke is a Marketing Channel Manager at Mayo Clinic Laboratories. She is the principle editor and writer of Insights and leads social media and direct marketing strategy. Kelley has worked at Mayo Clinic since 2013. Outside of work, you can find Kelley running, traveling, playing with her kitty, and exploring new foods.