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Published: Saturday, 9/4/2010

Dr. William S. Middleton, 1927-2010: Monroe physician kept solo practice

BLADE STAFF

MONROE - Dr. William S. Middleton, a well-known physician who maintained an office on West Front Street for almost five decades, died of an apparent heart attack in his home in Monore Wednesday. He was 82.

Dr. Middleton was a solo family practitioner for most of his professional life, with an office at 219 West Front, where he treated generations of Monroe County residents. His wife, Stephanie, who died in December, was his nurse.

In 1999, he sold his practice, his daughter Christine Krause said, but only lasted a few years in retirement.

"He decided it wasn't for him," Ms. Krause said.

So he returned to medicine and took a job at the Corporate Connection, an industrial clinic operated by Mercy Memorial Hospital. He was at work the day before he died.

As a family doctor, he was solidly of the old school, his daughter said. "He just loved being around his patients. He always said his patients were his family.

"His telephone number was always listed. He would go down to his office in the middle of the night and check the chart if he was worried about a patient. If we were going on a family vacation, he would plan it nine months in advance. He wanted to be able to tell his patients so he wouldn't disappoint them," she said.

He delivered thousands of babies in the early part of his career, she said.

"He loved to deliver babies. He also did minor surgery," she added. "But his practice was grueling. With no partner, he was always on call."

Ms. Krause said her father's death was unexpected.

"He was in great shape. He played singles tennis three times a week. He also kickboxed and ran. But I think my mother's death took a toll on him. They were always together," she explained.

Dr. Middleton was an avid reader of historical fiction and poetry. He and Mrs. Middleton were art lovers who planned trips to locales with museums. He also enjoyed classical music and opera.

He volunteered at the food closet of St. Anne Parish, even though he was not a member. He was a supporter of Planned Parenthood.

Dr. Middleton was born in Highland Park, Mich., the only child of Georgina and William Middleton.

He received his bachelor's degree from the University of Michigan and his medical degree from Wayne State University.

He and Mrs. Middleton were married for 57 years.

Surviving are his daughters, Christine Krause and Kathryn Lariviere, and three grandchildren.

Services will be at 2 p.m. Sunday in the Rupp Funeral Home in Monroe Township, where the body will be from 2 to 6 p.m. today. The family suggests tributes to the Monroe Family YMCA or the food closet at St. Anne Parish.



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