William Lee Lovett, MD

Class Year



Posted on: May 3, 2018

Dr. William Lovett passed away on April 14, 2018, after a long journey through the maze of Alzheimer’s Disease which he handled—most of the time—with grace and good humor.

He was an only child born to Frank and Lucille Mullen Lovett on June 12, 1941, in Natchez, MS. He was educated in the Vicksburg, MS public school system and also attended Chamberlain-Hunt Academy. He was a graduate of University of Mississippi (Ole Miss) with a B.A. Degree in Chemistry. During his years at Ole Miss he met and fell in love with his wife of 53 years, Martha Gray. Bill and Martha married as Bill was beginning his second year at the University of Mississippi Medical School where he earned his M.D. Degree in 1967.

He and Martha moved to Charlottesville, VA where he completed an Internship and Surgical Residency at the University of Virginia. Then it was on to Campbell Clinic in Memphis, TN for a Fellowship in Hand Surgery. He served in the U.S. Navy Medical Corps as a Commander at the Naval Hospital in Port Hueneme, CA where he was Chief of the Department of Surgery. When it was finally time to “hang out his shingle,” he moved his family to Phoenix to join the office of Dr. Robert Wilson and senior partner Dr. John Ricker in the practice of Hand Surgery. Bill and Dr. Paul Guidera later formed a partnership which lasted until Bill’s retirement.

He was a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons and a member of the American Society for Surgery of the Hand. He served as President of the AZ Chapter of the American College of Surgeons and the Phoenix Surgical Society. He was both Chief of Staff and Director of Medical Staff Services at St. Joseph’s Hospital during his career.

He served in a variety of capacities in many professional organizations and was generous with his time and talents. He was President of Xavier College Preparatory Board of Directors and the Roosevelt Rough Riders which supports the equestrian program for the Grand Canyon Council of the Boy Scouts of America. He was a member of the Verde Vaqueros, served as a Director, and acted as the “ride doc” when the VVs enjoyed their annual rides. He was Assistant Scout Master for Boy Scout Troop 329 where he encouraged and assisted many young men (his son included) to earn the rank of Eagle Scout. He was a Scottsdale Mounted Sheriff’s Posse Member and participated in many search and rescue efforts before the days of widespread cell phone service and GPS technology.

Affectionately known by family and friends by a variety of nicknames, Bill answered to “Billy Lee,” “Dr. Bill,” “Doc,” “William Wilderness,” “Wild Bill”, and “Chief” depending on which hat he was wearing—and he wore lots of hats! He was a loving husband, a devoted father and grandfather, and a loyal friend. He considered it an honor to treat patients and always worked to do what was best for them. He valued time spent with his colleagues and was grateful to nurses and support staff for their professionalism and team spirit. He never met a stranger and was always interested in hearing about others’ life experiences. He loved God, Mother Nature, riding his horse “CD” while exploring AZ country, a good joke, and singing along to Country/Western music even though he could not carry a tune! He enjoyed hunting, fly fishing, camping, gardening, reading anything Louis L’Amour wrote, and spending time with family and friends. He was predeceased by his parents and his infant son Christopher.

He is survived by his wife Martha, two daughters, a son, grandson and many loving extended family members.

In lieu of flowers, please consider donations to Banner Alzheimer’s Institute, 901 E. Willetta, Phoenix AZ 85006, Huger Mercy Living Center, 2345 W. Orangewood, Phoenix AZ 85021, or a charity of your choice.