Dr. William J. Cromartie, 1913-2013

Early in 2013, Bill Cromartie, Alumni Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Microbiology and Immunology, passed away in his 100th year. Bill was also at various times Chief of Infectious Disease Services in the Department of Medicine, Associate Dean for Clinical Sciences, and North Carolina Memorial Hospital Chief of Staff. For over 30 years, he was one of the most creative statesmen in the development of the four year medical school campus, and his service to the state of North Carolina was recognized by the Medical Alumni Association Distinguished Faculty Award and the Alumni Distinguished Service Award.

Bill was primarily a microbiologist and maintained his research laboratory in the Department. Hired initially to assume the responsibility for the serology/bacteriology laboratories when Memorial Hospital opened, he also began an active research program in association with Dr. John Schwab.  Bill's experience as a pathologist complemented John`s more basic immunological studies, and they investigated the role of streptococcal cell wall fragments, primarily peptidoglycan, in prolonged inflammatory processes and disease.  The Department's responsibility for the clinical microbiology laboratories continued until the establishment of the Division of Hospital Laboratories.  As Professor of Medicine, Bill was active in the development of productive relationships between M&I and the clinical Departments, as well as the recruitment of distinguished faculty who held (and hold) joint appointments in M&I.  In the 1960s/1970s, many of these faculty gathered yearly with their families at the Cromarties to celebrate Thanksgiving and cement relationships.  

Early in his career, Bill was present at the liberation of the Dachau concentration camp in Germany.  His experiences undoubtedly led to strongly held convictions related to social justice that he expressed all his life, still writing letters in his last decade in regard to the provision of health care for all citizens of North Carolina.

For more information on the life of Bill Cromartie, please see http://tinyurl.com/nottzmf and http://tinyurl.com/qgnrwem

-- Harry Gooder, Professor Emeritus