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Make Sure Bill's Family and Friends Is Not Alone This Holiday Season

Your contributions to Bill's Family and Friends's journal this year made sure that they never felt alone. Your tax-deductible donation in Bill's Family and Friends's honor will make sure that Caringbridge continues to bring hope and healing to those who need it most.

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Charles Best
Charles Best

I am so sad to learn of Bill's passing. Our parents were friends at University Presbyterian Church in Seattle, and we spent a lot of time in each other's company. He was special then, and if you knew his dad you have a good idea of the kind of example he was given, and from whence came his drive and determination.

I can tell you that his love of water balloon catapults came from our senior year in high school, and outings to a local high school to shell the tennis courts from the neighboring hill, after church on Wednesdays. (I don't think the folks ever knew, Bill, and if they did, it was never from me, I promise).

I think his interest in long term statistical analysis came from the hearts game that lasted through most of high school; Bill kept a scroll with the running totals of the regular players graphed over time.

Pretty sure he wound up with the low score...

I rarely saw him, after we went off to college, but when we did see each other, the connection was as deep as it ever was.

such a sad day it was, that I never want to go through again, when I found out he'd gone.

Lenore Defliese
Noie McGown Defliese
I only just learned of Bill's untimely passing from the Yale Alumni Magazine. We were friends in Trumbull, and I would like to send condolences to his family. I recall that years after graduation, he once stopped in Cooperstown to visit the Baseball Hall of Fame, and even though I was not there, he dropped in and visited with my mother. She was delighted and charmed that he would take the time to do that. He was a "character" in the best sense of the word. The world will be a poorer place without Bill and his intelligence, wit and compassion. 
Cheryl Pierson
C. Pierson MD
I loved Bill's humor and wit in the very useful and enlightening publications of the CD summary.  I thought many of times that I should write to the author and say how much I appreciate the articles.  So this is a belated "thank you so much!"  You will certainly be missed by this reader.
Nina & Jerry Lara & Clarke
Nina Lara FNP
Dear Elise and Family,

Twenty two years ago I moved to Oregon as a recent NP graduate to accept a position in a small, non-profit clinic. One of the local physicians who volunteered in our clinic brought me my first copy of CD Summary. From that day forward I was hooked on Bill's uniquely glib yet at the same time amazingly eloquent writing style.

I just want you to know that sometimes just the sight of that yellow newsletter nestled in a stack of endless patient paperwork put a smile on my face.

Thank you Bill Keene for making epidemiology fun.

To Elise and Family, you will be in my thoughts and prayers.
Larry Eninger
Larry Eninger, MD

Condolences to the family.  Having just recently lost my dad, I understand your pain.


I never had the opportunity to meet Bill but "knew him" from regularly reading CD Summary.  He had an incredible talent for writing and made even the most mundane statistics interesting.  I always read the Summary in anticipation of the twist of humor that I knew Bill would insert somewhere.  He is a tough act for someone to follow and will be missed.

Laurie Choate
Laurie Choate, RN
I am so sad to hear of Bill's passing.  I've used the CD Summary for many years while teaching nursing in rural Oregon.  I have enjoyed Bill's sense of humor in editing this otherwise dry material.  He made reading about microbes and diseases fun, while attending to business.  My students learned to enjoy this material as well. I have read every CD Summary for years.  I will miss him - he will be a hard act to follow.  My deepest condolences to his family.
Kimberly Heggen
Kimberly Heggen MD
Just heard the sad news printed in the CD Summary. Bill's lively, tongue-in-cheek writing style performed a great service to the health of Oregonians as I am sure that the CD Summary had a more faithful readership than any similar publication around the country. And what is read, is remembered and learned from. I looked forward to his funny take on epidemiology with each issue and kept a number of favorites around to re-read. My favorite story of his will always be the one about the E. coli contaminated venison that was being sliced up in the garage with a band-saw.

He will be missed, and Oregon epidemiology will never be quite the same... though I suspect the CD Summary will never revert to being a dry academic missive.
Christy Rice
Christy Rice, RN
I have worked at Lane Blood Center in Eugene, OR since 1992.  It was there that I was introduced to the joy of reading his editorials with his tongue in cheek, wry sense of humor.  He made the most droll seem delightful while never undermining the seriousness of the presentation.  I have never met him, yet he had provided me with 22 years of smiles and chortles during some long days in the office.  I thank him for his wit and eloquent style of writing.  How will his shoes be filled?  That will be a daunting task.  My heart goes out to his family.  What a loss for so many.
suzanne mosman
suzanne mosman
I am a student at PSU in the Masters of Public Health Program. Two years ago, in my very first class, our group project was on food safety. Bill Keene generously gave us an hour of his time. He warmly welcomed us and made tea for all. He showed us his "museum" of foodbourne illness artifacts. I have pictures in my phone to this day of his "museum". We asked many, many questions and learned more in that one hour about the topic from his great expertise than from hours of research. I was so very saddened to learn of his untimely death and wanted to tell his family and those dear to him that he was truly a fine man, scientist, and state epidemiologist. His great mind and abilities will be sorely missed. Suzanne Mosman


Sarah Silkie
Sarah S. Silkie, PhD
Unfortunately, I never had the opportunity to meet Bill in person, but I have been an avid reader of the CD Summary for the last year, and wondering who the editor was and how I could meet him.  It is unusual to find well-written public documents, much less humorous!  It takes great courage to include creativity in govenment publications.  I am saddened that I will not get to meet or work with Bill, but so glad that I stumbled upon the CD Summary and his work in it.
Gary Oxman
Gary Oxman
So much has been written about Bill, so I feel I have little to add.  


While Bill and I didn't always agree on specific issues and approaches to public health problems, I always respected his knowledge, wisdom, and good will. He was a trusted colleague - always willing to express his opinion, always willing to acknowledge differences in perspective and rationale, and always willing to and engage in dialogue. These characteristics made him a good teacher and consultant to me and many others in the public health community.  

I also greatly admired Bill's creativity and enthusiasm in applying the visual and literary arts in service of public health practice. On many occasions I had community physicians rave to me about their enjoyment of Bill's writing in the CD Summary (although they often didn't know it was Bill). And personally, I found myself intrigued and engaged by the images Bill created for various reports and activities. Bill understood the importance of the arts as a way to involve community in public health.

Bill contributed much to the public health community; his actions helped create a safer and healthier Oregon.  I will miss him.

Hillary Booth
Hillary Booth

I was living in Arizona when I accepted a position with the state of Oregon just about seven years ago, hired sight unseen after a phone interview. Bill Keene was the first person I met at the Health Division. He called me up to give me the scoop about office life and my new digs; 45 minutes later we hung up and I wondered what I had just gotten myself into.

Today I’m just counting myself fortunate to have landed a job in his shop. Bill has taught me so much about public health—questionnaire design, data management, the beauty of simplicity, the power of epidemiology, the importance of gumption and how to cut through bureaucratic red tape with a machete (and other times with a hammer)! He thought those managing communicable disease surveillance data should be masters of this process and dedicated his life to making tools that would cultivate this kind of culture in our office. He got under your skin and into your brain and made you question most of the things you thought you knew for certain. Bill was the real deal and a true original. I really just wish I had more time with him to keep learning.

At the end of 2012, CDC named Oregon an Integrated Food Safety Center of Excellence—one of only five in the county. Though this is a feather in the cap of all Oregonians, the credit really goes to Bill. Everyone was so excited to see what we could do with some money that was actually earmarked for the improvement of foodborne outbreak investigations (a novel funding situation for us). I was asked to coordinate this grant and work at the helm with Bill, a true honor.

Our Center of Excellence Team was on the cusp of launching the next phase of the Shotgun project—a project that Bill was so very proud of and excited about.When I learned that Bill was in the hospital I was actually in San Antonio at the annual OutbreakNet conference, where we had planned to unveil the new system to our counterparts in other state health departments. It really saddens me that he will miss witnessing the next phase of his life's work, which I hope will help improve the way this country collaborates on multi-state outbreak investigations.

Bill was my mentor—but not just mine. Over the past two decades he was also a mentor and inspiration to an entire generation of epidemiologists and public health professionals in Oregon, the United States and the rest of the planet. His love of outbreak investigations was infectious and that twinkle in his eye that appeared every time he got ramped up for one made me fall in love with foodborne epidemiology. He never shied away from the tough fights because he knew he was on the side of right, and sometimes all you could do was sit back and watch while he got to the truth of the particular matter.

If you knew Bill, you probably knew he was also hilarious. He loved music and movies and it seemed like every situation had a soundtrack or an applicable quote from a film. His quick, sardonic wit had us laughing every day and sometimes led to raucous tea parties as we worked the late shift. He was also incredibly kind and loyal. Bill never turned down someone’s request for help, even for the most mundane projects. When we last spoke, via speaker phone from his hospital bed, he was reminding me about picking up his ladder and some chickenwire for a scheme we cooked up to cat-proof my garage. He told me this in between cracking jokes about needing to work on his long-term relationship with his pancreas. That’s just the kind of dude he was.

I had no idea when I moved to Oregon that I'd be working for the iconoclast of my dreams or that I could ever miss him this much. We are all privileged to have known and been mentored by such a titan of public health and spectacular human being. Bill will always be the voice of epi that I hear in the back of my head and I will never forget his brilliance or his friendship. I'm heartbroken to think of working without him—we all are. But I know that his unyielding insistence for beauty, quality and originality will continue to be reflected in our work here in Oregon. Life will never be the same…


-Hillary

Hillary.Booth@state.or.us

paul lewis
Paul Lewis
My history with Bill

I first spoke to Bill at an obscure, now closed, outdoor fabric store in Beaverton shortly after I moved to Portland in the mid 90's. I needed fleece to make headbands and mittens; he needed coated nylon to make custom snow gaiters. Perhaps we recognized each other from Portland's 'City-wide' Infectious Disease conference or had crossed paths through Tony Marfin; regardless we nodded then discussed our sewing and began to bond over do-it-yourself, custom, projects. The setting, a fabric store, is a metaphor for the universe of possibilities; it holds the raw material, the potential projects can not be numbered.

Years later, he and Elise joined Ann, my wife, and I plus our infant first-born sun for an al fresco burrito dinner on the decaying deck of the 1905 tear-down we had purchased in Westmoreland. Between bites, Bill noted that 'if you worked for us, you could take the (recently completed) Springwater bike path to work'. Two years later, I landed a job on the 7th floor of the Portland State Office Building as an expert in bioterrorism; in fact my goal was to work and learn with Bill and the rest of the communicable disease gang.

I answered the phones for a few months and was introduced to a life characterized by meetings in stuffy conference rooms. Life became more interesting when in July of 04 rumors began to circulate one day of ill teens who had swum in Blue Lake. Bill seemed overly excited by such news- I was unaware of his first New England Journal paper about a Shigella/E.coli O157 outbreak in the same stagnant suburban lake- and I came along for the ride in his wake. By that evening we had purchased four 5 gallon water jugs at Andy and Bax, driven to the lake, and collected water from the, now closed, swimming area. At sunset, Bill convinced Mike Skeels the lab director to meet us so we could store our 'specimen' in a cooler while we decided how it could be tested. By the end of the weekend we had completed a case-control study and not one, not two, but three separate cohort studies demonstrating that the only risk factor for illness was exposure to lake water in general and swimming with one's head underwater in particular. We conducted the door to door neighborhood cohort study in the company of my wife and three children under the age of 2! Much debate over the duration of swimming prohibition followed made moot by the unseasonably cool weather that kept people out of the water. Regardless, once the beach reopened for swimming we enrolled bathers in an active surveillance program and documented their lack of subsequent illness. Did this effort save any lives? probably not. Did it change practice? Well, it showed that the routine lake monitoring done at Blue Lake was of no value for this 'norwalk' outbreak, that two week was long enough for the bug to dissipate and that 20 gallons was not a large enough sample to identify noro. Did it demonstrate good government? It demonstrated passion, dedication, and curiosity that, when applied similarly to spinach, almond, sprouts, and strawberries lead to more dramatic improvement in health protection. From my view, it also inspired and taught a new 'disease detective' how to approach situations full throttle and to gather information using as many traditional and off-the-wall approaches as possible.

Bill is a colorful character who exuded so much energy into the atmosphere that I feel like he is still here. My enduring images of him include:

Leaning way back in his office chair, chewing on a few obscurely sourced dry tea leaves, and pontificating on the subject at hand

Clever use of the mute button during conference calls  to allow for editorials limited to the company in his office

Cranking up rock from the 60's and 70's after most of the staff had departed the office

Finally, amusing my kids by makng pencils disappear in his huge beard- today they argued whether he could hide 10 or 20; maybe the answer is countless
Charles Best
Charles Best

I am so sad to learn of Bill's passing. Our parents were friends at University Presbyterian Church in Seattle, and we spent a lot of time in each other's company. He was special then, and if you knew his dad you have a good idea of the kind of example he was given, and from whence came his drive and determination.

I can tell you that his love of water balloon catapults came from our senior year in high school, and outings to a local high school to shell the tennis courts from the neighboring hill, after church on Wednesdays. (I don't think the folks ever knew, Bill, and if they did, it was never from me, I promise).

I think his interest in long term statistical analysis came from the hearts game that lasted through most of high school; Bill kept a scroll with the running totals of the regular players graphed over time.

Pretty sure he wound up with the low score...

I rarely saw him, after we went off to college, but when we did see each other, the connection was as deep as it ever was.

such a sad day it was, that I never want to go through again, when I found out he'd gone.

Cheryl Pierson
C. Pierson MD
I loved Bill's humor and wit in the very useful and enlightening publications of the CD summary.  I thought many of times that I should write to the author and say how much I appreciate the articles.  So this is a belated "thank you so much!"  You will certainly be missed by this reader.
Nina & Jerry Lara & Clarke
Nina Lara FNP
Dear Elise and Family,

Twenty two years ago I moved to Oregon as a recent NP graduate to accept a position in a small, non-profit clinic. One of the local physicians who volunteered in our clinic brought me my first copy of CD Summary. From that day forward I was hooked on Bill's uniquely glib yet at the same time amazingly eloquent writing style.

I just want you to know that sometimes just the sight of that yellow newsletter nestled in a stack of endless patient paperwork put a smile on my face.

Thank you Bill Keene for making epidemiology fun.

To Elise and Family, you will be in my thoughts and prayers.
Larry Eninger
Larry Eninger, MD

Condolences to the family.  Having just recently lost my dad, I understand your pain.


I never had the opportunity to meet Bill but "knew him" from regularly reading CD Summary.  He had an incredible talent for writing and made even the most mundane statistics interesting.  I always read the Summary in anticipation of the twist of humor that I knew Bill would insert somewhere.  He is a tough act for someone to follow and will be missed.

Kimberly Heggen
Kimberly Heggen MD
Just heard the sad news printed in the CD Summary. Bill's lively, tongue-in-cheek writing style performed a great service to the health of Oregonians as I am sure that the CD Summary had a more faithful readership than any similar publication around the country. And what is read, is remembered and learned from. I looked forward to his funny take on epidemiology with each issue and kept a number of favorites around to re-read. My favorite story of his will always be the one about the E. coli contaminated venison that was being sliced up in the garage with a band-saw.

He will be missed, and Oregon epidemiology will never be quite the same... though I suspect the CD Summary will never revert to being a dry academic missive.
suzanne mosman
suzanne mosman
I am a student at PSU in the Masters of Public Health Program. Two years ago, in my very first class, our group project was on food safety. Bill Keene generously gave us an hour of his time. He warmly welcomed us and made tea for all. He showed us his "museum" of foodbourne illness artifacts. I have pictures in my phone to this day of his "museum". We asked many, many questions and learned more in that one hour about the topic from his great expertise than from hours of research. I was so very saddened to learn of his untimely death and wanted to tell his family and those dear to him that he was truly a fine man, scientist, and state epidemiologist. His great mind and abilities will be sorely missed. Suzanne Mosman


Gary Oxman
Gary Oxman
So much has been written about Bill, so I feel I have little to add.  


While Bill and I didn't always agree on specific issues and approaches to public health problems, I always respected his knowledge, wisdom, and good will. He was a trusted colleague - always willing to express his opinion, always willing to acknowledge differences in perspective and rationale, and always willing to and engage in dialogue. These characteristics made him a good teacher and consultant to me and many others in the public health community.  

I also greatly admired Bill's creativity and enthusiasm in applying the visual and literary arts in service of public health practice. On many occasions I had community physicians rave to me about their enjoyment of Bill's writing in the CD Summary (although they often didn't know it was Bill). And personally, I found myself intrigued and engaged by the images Bill created for various reports and activities. Bill understood the importance of the arts as a way to involve community in public health.

Bill contributed much to the public health community; his actions helped create a safer and healthier Oregon.  I will miss him.

Lenore Defliese
Noie McGown Defliese
I only just learned of Bill's untimely passing from the Yale Alumni Magazine. We were friends in Trumbull, and I would like to send condolences to his family. I recall that years after graduation, he once stopped in Cooperstown to visit the Baseball Hall of Fame, and even though I was not there, he dropped in and visited with my mother. She was delighted and charmed that he would take the time to do that. He was a "character" in the best sense of the word. The world will be a poorer place without Bill and his intelligence, wit and compassion. 
Laurie Choate
Laurie Choate, RN
I am so sad to hear of Bill's passing.  I've used the CD Summary for many years while teaching nursing in rural Oregon.  I have enjoyed Bill's sense of humor in editing this otherwise dry material.  He made reading about microbes and diseases fun, while attending to business.  My students learned to enjoy this material as well. I have read every CD Summary for years.  I will miss him - he will be a hard act to follow.  My deepest condolences to his family.
Christy Rice
Christy Rice, RN
I have worked at Lane Blood Center in Eugene, OR since 1992.  It was there that I was introduced to the joy of reading his editorials with his tongue in cheek, wry sense of humor.  He made the most droll seem delightful while never undermining the seriousness of the presentation.  I have never met him, yet he had provided me with 22 years of smiles and chortles during some long days in the office.  I thank him for his wit and eloquent style of writing.  How will his shoes be filled?  That will be a daunting task.  My heart goes out to his family.  What a loss for so many.
Sarah Silkie
Sarah S. Silkie, PhD
Unfortunately, I never had the opportunity to meet Bill in person, but I have been an avid reader of the CD Summary for the last year, and wondering who the editor was and how I could meet him.  It is unusual to find well-written public documents, much less humorous!  It takes great courage to include creativity in govenment publications.  I am saddened that I will not get to meet or work with Bill, but so glad that I stumbled upon the CD Summary and his work in it.
Hillary Booth
Hillary Booth

I was living in Arizona when I accepted a position with the state of Oregon just about seven years ago, hired sight unseen after a phone interview. Bill Keene was the first person I met at the Health Division. He called me up to give me the scoop about office life and my new digs; 45 minutes later we hung up and I wondered what I had just gotten myself into.

Today I’m just counting myself fortunate to have landed a job in his shop. Bill has taught me so much about public health—questionnaire design, data management, the beauty of simplicity, the power of epidemiology, the importance of gumption and how to cut through bureaucratic red tape with a machete (and other times with a hammer)! He thought those managing communicable disease surveillance data should be masters of this process and dedicated his life to making tools that would cultivate this kind of culture in our office. He got under your skin and into your brain and made you question most of the things you thought you knew for certain. Bill was the real deal and a true original. I really just wish I had more time with him to keep learning.

At the end of 2012, CDC named Oregon an Integrated Food Safety Center of Excellence—one of only five in the county. Though this is a feather in the cap of all Oregonians, the credit really goes to Bill. Everyone was so excited to see what we could do with some money that was actually earmarked for the improvement of foodborne outbreak investigations (a novel funding situation for us). I was asked to coordinate this grant and work at the helm with Bill, a true honor.

Our Center of Excellence Team was on the cusp of launching the next phase of the Shotgun project—a project that Bill was so very proud of and excited about.When I learned that Bill was in the hospital I was actually in San Antonio at the annual OutbreakNet conference, where we had planned to unveil the new system to our counterparts in other state health departments. It really saddens me that he will miss witnessing the next phase of his life's work, which I hope will help improve the way this country collaborates on multi-state outbreak investigations.

Bill was my mentor—but not just mine. Over the past two decades he was also a mentor and inspiration to an entire generation of epidemiologists and public health professionals in Oregon, the United States and the rest of the planet. His love of outbreak investigations was infectious and that twinkle in his eye that appeared every time he got ramped up for one made me fall in love with foodborne epidemiology. He never shied away from the tough fights because he knew he was on the side of right, and sometimes all you could do was sit back and watch while he got to the truth of the particular matter.

If you knew Bill, you probably knew he was also hilarious. He loved music and movies and it seemed like every situation had a soundtrack or an applicable quote from a film. His quick, sardonic wit had us laughing every day and sometimes led to raucous tea parties as we worked the late shift. He was also incredibly kind and loyal. Bill never turned down someone’s request for help, even for the most mundane projects. When we last spoke, via speaker phone from his hospital bed, he was reminding me about picking up his ladder and some chickenwire for a scheme we cooked up to cat-proof my garage. He told me this in between cracking jokes about needing to work on his long-term relationship with his pancreas. That’s just the kind of dude he was.

I had no idea when I moved to Oregon that I'd be working for the iconoclast of my dreams or that I could ever miss him this much. We are all privileged to have known and been mentored by such a titan of public health and spectacular human being. Bill will always be the voice of epi that I hear in the back of my head and I will never forget his brilliance or his friendship. I'm heartbroken to think of working without him—we all are. But I know that his unyielding insistence for beauty, quality and originality will continue to be reflected in our work here in Oregon. Life will never be the same…


-Hillary

Hillary.Booth@state.or.us

paul lewis
Paul Lewis
My history with Bill

I first spoke to Bill at an obscure, now closed, outdoor fabric store in Beaverton shortly after I moved to Portland in the mid 90's. I needed fleece to make headbands and mittens; he needed coated nylon to make custom snow gaiters. Perhaps we recognized each other from Portland's 'City-wide' Infectious Disease conference or had crossed paths through Tony Marfin; regardless we nodded then discussed our sewing and began to bond over do-it-yourself, custom, projects. The setting, a fabric store, is a metaphor for the universe of possibilities; it holds the raw material, the potential projects can not be numbered.

Years later, he and Elise joined Ann, my wife, and I plus our infant first-born sun for an al fresco burrito dinner on the decaying deck of the 1905 tear-down we had purchased in Westmoreland. Between bites, Bill noted that 'if you worked for us, you could take the (recently completed) Springwater bike path to work'. Two years later, I landed a job on the 7th floor of the Portland State Office Building as an expert in bioterrorism; in fact my goal was to work and learn with Bill and the rest of the communicable disease gang.

I answered the phones for a few months and was introduced to a life characterized by meetings in stuffy conference rooms. Life became more interesting when in July of 04 rumors began to circulate one day of ill teens who had swum in Blue Lake. Bill seemed overly excited by such news- I was unaware of his first New England Journal paper about a Shigella/E.coli O157 outbreak in the same stagnant suburban lake- and I came along for the ride in his wake. By that evening we had purchased four 5 gallon water jugs at Andy and Bax, driven to the lake, and collected water from the, now closed, swimming area. At sunset, Bill convinced Mike Skeels the lab director to meet us so we could store our 'specimen' in a cooler while we decided how it could be tested. By the end of the weekend we had completed a case-control study and not one, not two, but three separate cohort studies demonstrating that the only risk factor for illness was exposure to lake water in general and swimming with one's head underwater in particular. We conducted the door to door neighborhood cohort study in the company of my wife and three children under the age of 2! Much debate over the duration of swimming prohibition followed made moot by the unseasonably cool weather that kept people out of the water. Regardless, once the beach reopened for swimming we enrolled bathers in an active surveillance program and documented their lack of subsequent illness. Did this effort save any lives? probably not. Did it change practice? Well, it showed that the routine lake monitoring done at Blue Lake was of no value for this 'norwalk' outbreak, that two week was long enough for the bug to dissipate and that 20 gallons was not a large enough sample to identify noro. Did it demonstrate good government? It demonstrated passion, dedication, and curiosity that, when applied similarly to spinach, almond, sprouts, and strawberries lead to more dramatic improvement in health protection. From my view, it also inspired and taught a new 'disease detective' how to approach situations full throttle and to gather information using as many traditional and off-the-wall approaches as possible.

Bill is a colorful character who exuded so much energy into the atmosphere that I feel like he is still here. My enduring images of him include:

Leaning way back in his office chair, chewing on a few obscurely sourced dry tea leaves, and pontificating on the subject at hand

Clever use of the mute button during conference calls  to allow for editorials limited to the company in his office

Cranking up rock from the 60's and 70's after most of the staff had departed the office

Finally, amusing my kids by makng pencils disappear in his huge beard- today they argued whether he could hide 10 or 20; maybe the answer is countless
Charles Best
Charles Best

I am so sad to learn of Bill's passing. Our parents were friends at University Presbyterian Church in Seattle, and we spent a lot of time in each other's company. He was special then, and if you knew his dad you have a good idea of the kind of example he was given, and from whence came his drive and determination.

I can tell you that his love of water balloon catapults came from our senior year in high school, and outings to a local high school to shell the tennis courts from the neighboring hill, after church on Wednesdays. (I don't think the folks ever knew, Bill, and if they did, it was never from me, I promise).

I think his interest in long term statistical analysis came from the hearts game that lasted through most of high school; Bill kept a scroll with the running totals of the regular players graphed over time.

Pretty sure he wound up with the low score...

I rarely saw him, after we went off to college, but when we did see each other, the connection was as deep as it ever was.

such a sad day it was, that I never want to go through again, when I found out he'd gone.

Larry Eninger
Larry Eninger, MD

Condolences to the family.  Having just recently lost my dad, I understand your pain.


I never had the opportunity to meet Bill but "knew him" from regularly reading CD Summary.  He had an incredible talent for writing and made even the most mundane statistics interesting.  I always read the Summary in anticipation of the twist of humor that I knew Bill would insert somewhere.  He is a tough act for someone to follow and will be missed.

Christy Rice
Christy Rice, RN
I have worked at Lane Blood Center in Eugene, OR since 1992.  It was there that I was introduced to the joy of reading his editorials with his tongue in cheek, wry sense of humor.  He made the most droll seem delightful while never undermining the seriousness of the presentation.  I have never met him, yet he had provided me with 22 years of smiles and chortles during some long days in the office.  I thank him for his wit and eloquent style of writing.  How will his shoes be filled?  That will be a daunting task.  My heart goes out to his family.  What a loss for so many.
Gary Oxman
Gary Oxman
So much has been written about Bill, so I feel I have little to add.  


While Bill and I didn't always agree on specific issues and approaches to public health problems, I always respected his knowledge, wisdom, and good will. He was a trusted colleague - always willing to express his opinion, always willing to acknowledge differences in perspective and rationale, and always willing to and engage in dialogue. These characteristics made him a good teacher and consultant to me and many others in the public health community.  

I also greatly admired Bill's creativity and enthusiasm in applying the visual and literary arts in service of public health practice. On many occasions I had community physicians rave to me about their enjoyment of Bill's writing in the CD Summary (although they often didn't know it was Bill). And personally, I found myself intrigued and engaged by the images Bill created for various reports and activities. Bill understood the importance of the arts as a way to involve community in public health.

Bill contributed much to the public health community; his actions helped create a safer and healthier Oregon.  I will miss him.

Hillary Booth
Hillary Booth

I was living in Arizona when I accepted a position with the state of Oregon just about seven years ago, hired sight unseen after a phone interview. Bill Keene was the first person I met at the Health Division. He called me up to give me the scoop about office life and my new digs; 45 minutes later we hung up and I wondered what I had just gotten myself into.

Today I’m just counting myself fortunate to have landed a job in his shop. Bill has taught me so much about public health—questionnaire design, data management, the beauty of simplicity, the power of epidemiology, the importance of gumption and how to cut through bureaucratic red tape with a machete (and other times with a hammer)! He thought those managing communicable disease surveillance data should be masters of this process and dedicated his life to making tools that would cultivate this kind of culture in our office. He got under your skin and into your brain and made you question most of the things you thought you knew for certain. Bill was the real deal and a true original. I really just wish I had more time with him to keep learning.

At the end of 2012, CDC named Oregon an Integrated Food Safety Center of Excellence—one of only five in the county. Though this is a feather in the cap of all Oregonians, the credit really goes to Bill. Everyone was so excited to see what we could do with some money that was actually earmarked for the improvement of foodborne outbreak investigations (a novel funding situation for us). I was asked to coordinate this grant and work at the helm with Bill, a true honor.

Our Center of Excellence Team was on the cusp of launching the next phase of the Shotgun project—a project that Bill was so very proud of and excited about.When I learned that Bill was in the hospital I was actually in San Antonio at the annual OutbreakNet conference, where we had planned to unveil the new system to our counterparts in other state health departments. It really saddens me that he will miss witnessing the next phase of his life's work, which I hope will help improve the way this country collaborates on multi-state outbreak investigations.

Bill was my mentor—but not just mine. Over the past two decades he was also a mentor and inspiration to an entire generation of epidemiologists and public health professionals in Oregon, the United States and the rest of the planet. His love of outbreak investigations was infectious and that twinkle in his eye that appeared every time he got ramped up for one made me fall in love with foodborne epidemiology. He never shied away from the tough fights because he knew he was on the side of right, and sometimes all you could do was sit back and watch while he got to the truth of the particular matter.

If you knew Bill, you probably knew he was also hilarious. He loved music and movies and it seemed like every situation had a soundtrack or an applicable quote from a film. His quick, sardonic wit had us laughing every day and sometimes led to raucous tea parties as we worked the late shift. He was also incredibly kind and loyal. Bill never turned down someone’s request for help, even for the most mundane projects. When we last spoke, via speaker phone from his hospital bed, he was reminding me about picking up his ladder and some chickenwire for a scheme we cooked up to cat-proof my garage. He told me this in between cracking jokes about needing to work on his long-term relationship with his pancreas. That’s just the kind of dude he was.

I had no idea when I moved to Oregon that I'd be working for the iconoclast of my dreams or that I could ever miss him this much. We are all privileged to have known and been mentored by such a titan of public health and spectacular human being. Bill will always be the voice of epi that I hear in the back of my head and I will never forget his brilliance or his friendship. I'm heartbroken to think of working without him—we all are. But I know that his unyielding insistence for beauty, quality and originality will continue to be reflected in our work here in Oregon. Life will never be the same…


-Hillary

Hillary.Booth@state.or.us

Lenore Defliese
Noie McGown Defliese
I only just learned of Bill's untimely passing from the Yale Alumni Magazine. We were friends in Trumbull, and I would like to send condolences to his family. I recall that years after graduation, he once stopped in Cooperstown to visit the Baseball Hall of Fame, and even though I was not there, he dropped in and visited with my mother. She was delighted and charmed that he would take the time to do that. He was a "character" in the best sense of the word. The world will be a poorer place without Bill and his intelligence, wit and compassion. 
Nina & Jerry Lara & Clarke
Nina Lara FNP
Dear Elise and Family,

Twenty two years ago I moved to Oregon as a recent NP graduate to accept a position in a small, non-profit clinic. One of the local physicians who volunteered in our clinic brought me my first copy of CD Summary. From that day forward I was hooked on Bill's uniquely glib yet at the same time amazingly eloquent writing style.

I just want you to know that sometimes just the sight of that yellow newsletter nestled in a stack of endless patient paperwork put a smile on my face.

Thank you Bill Keene for making epidemiology fun.

To Elise and Family, you will be in my thoughts and prayers.
Laurie Choate
Laurie Choate, RN
I am so sad to hear of Bill's passing.  I've used the CD Summary for many years while teaching nursing in rural Oregon.  I have enjoyed Bill's sense of humor in editing this otherwise dry material.  He made reading about microbes and diseases fun, while attending to business.  My students learned to enjoy this material as well. I have read every CD Summary for years.  I will miss him - he will be a hard act to follow.  My deepest condolences to his family.
suzanne mosman
suzanne mosman
I am a student at PSU in the Masters of Public Health Program. Two years ago, in my very first class, our group project was on food safety. Bill Keene generously gave us an hour of his time. He warmly welcomed us and made tea for all. He showed us his "museum" of foodbourne illness artifacts. I have pictures in my phone to this day of his "museum". We asked many, many questions and learned more in that one hour about the topic from his great expertise than from hours of research. I was so very saddened to learn of his untimely death and wanted to tell his family and those dear to him that he was truly a fine man, scientist, and state epidemiologist. His great mind and abilities will be sorely missed. Suzanne Mosman


Cheryl Pierson
C. Pierson MD
I loved Bill's humor and wit in the very useful and enlightening publications of the CD summary.  I thought many of times that I should write to the author and say how much I appreciate the articles.  So this is a belated "thank you so much!"  You will certainly be missed by this reader.
Kimberly Heggen
Kimberly Heggen MD
Just heard the sad news printed in the CD Summary. Bill's lively, tongue-in-cheek writing style performed a great service to the health of Oregonians as I am sure that the CD Summary had a more faithful readership than any similar publication around the country. And what is read, is remembered and learned from. I looked forward to his funny take on epidemiology with each issue and kept a number of favorites around to re-read. My favorite story of his will always be the one about the E. coli contaminated venison that was being sliced up in the garage with a band-saw.

He will be missed, and Oregon epidemiology will never be quite the same... though I suspect the CD Summary will never revert to being a dry academic missive.
Sarah Silkie
Sarah S. Silkie, PhD
Unfortunately, I never had the opportunity to meet Bill in person, but I have been an avid reader of the CD Summary for the last year, and wondering who the editor was and how I could meet him.  It is unusual to find well-written public documents, much less humorous!  It takes great courage to include creativity in govenment publications.  I am saddened that I will not get to meet or work with Bill, but so glad that I stumbled upon the CD Summary and his work in it.
paul lewis
Paul Lewis
My history with Bill

I first spoke to Bill at an obscure, now closed, outdoor fabric store in Beaverton shortly after I moved to Portland in the mid 90's. I needed fleece to make headbands and mittens; he needed coated nylon to make custom snow gaiters. Perhaps we recognized each other from Portland's 'City-wide' Infectious Disease conference or had crossed paths through Tony Marfin; regardless we nodded then discussed our sewing and began to bond over do-it-yourself, custom, projects. The setting, a fabric store, is a metaphor for the universe of possibilities; it holds the raw material, the potential projects can not be numbered.

Years later, he and Elise joined Ann, my wife, and I plus our infant first-born sun for an al fresco burrito dinner on the decaying deck of the 1905 tear-down we had purchased in Westmoreland. Between bites, Bill noted that 'if you worked for us, you could take the (recently completed) Springwater bike path to work'. Two years later, I landed a job on the 7th floor of the Portland State Office Building as an expert in bioterrorism; in fact my goal was to work and learn with Bill and the rest of the communicable disease gang.

I answered the phones for a few months and was introduced to a life characterized by meetings in stuffy conference rooms. Life became more interesting when in July of 04 rumors began to circulate one day of ill teens who had swum in Blue Lake. Bill seemed overly excited by such news- I was unaware of his first New England Journal paper about a Shigella/E.coli O157 outbreak in the same stagnant suburban lake- and I came along for the ride in his wake. By that evening we had purchased four 5 gallon water jugs at Andy and Bax, driven to the lake, and collected water from the, now closed, swimming area. At sunset, Bill convinced Mike Skeels the lab director to meet us so we could store our 'specimen' in a cooler while we decided how it could be tested. By the end of the weekend we had completed a case-control study and not one, not two, but three separate cohort studies demonstrating that the only risk factor for illness was exposure to lake water in general and swimming with one's head underwater in particular. We conducted the door to door neighborhood cohort study in the company of my wife and three children under the age of 2! Much debate over the duration of swimming prohibition followed made moot by the unseasonably cool weather that kept people out of the water. Regardless, once the beach reopened for swimming we enrolled bathers in an active surveillance program and documented their lack of subsequent illness. Did this effort save any lives? probably not. Did it change practice? Well, it showed that the routine lake monitoring done at Blue Lake was of no value for this 'norwalk' outbreak, that two week was long enough for the bug to dissipate and that 20 gallons was not a large enough sample to identify noro. Did it demonstrate good government? It demonstrated passion, dedication, and curiosity that, when applied similarly to spinach, almond, sprouts, and strawberries lead to more dramatic improvement in health protection. From my view, it also inspired and taught a new 'disease detective' how to approach situations full throttle and to gather information using as many traditional and off-the-wall approaches as possible.

Bill is a colorful character who exuded so much energy into the atmosphere that I feel like he is still here. My enduring images of him include:

Leaning way back in his office chair, chewing on a few obscurely sourced dry tea leaves, and pontificating on the subject at hand

Clever use of the mute button during conference calls  to allow for editorials limited to the company in his office

Cranking up rock from the 60's and 70's after most of the staff had departed the office

Finally, amusing my kids by makng pencils disappear in his huge beard- today they argued whether he could hide 10 or 20; maybe the answer is countless