The Passing of Dr. Leonard A. Wall, MD, 92
January 13, 2014
The Worldwide Fistula Fund is sad to note the passing of Dr. Leonard Wall. Dr. Wall was the father of the WFF's founder Dr. Lewis Wall and WFF's current treasurer Dr. Terry Wall. In his memory, WFF has established the Dr. Leonard Wall Memorial Fund. Dr. Leonard Wall was a long time advocate for women around the world and a tireless supporter of the Worldwide Fistula Fund.
Dr. Leonard A. Wall, MD, 92, of Leawood, KS, passed away on December 24, 2013. Dr. Wall was born on March 20, 1921 in Domby, Oklahoma. His early education came in a one-room country schoolhouse. After graduating from high school, he enrolled at the University of Oklahoma to study biology with the hope of eventually fulfilling his life-long dream of becoming a doctor.
His education was interrupted by military service in the US Army Air Corps during World War II. He married his childhood sweetheart, Evelyn Balzer, just before he was shipped overseas to fight the Nazis. Stationed in England, he was a co-pilot flying B-17 bombers when his plane was shot down over Germany in early 1945. He was the last man to make it out of the dying aircraft before it exploded. Listed as “missing in action,” he was presumed dead. In reality, he had become a German prisoner-of-war. After his POW camp was liberated by Gen. George Patton’s Third Army, he was reunited with his young wife and resumed his education.
Dr. Wall graduated from the University of Oklahoma School of Medicine in 1951 and subsequently undertook residency training in obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Kansas. He was a pioneer in laparoscopic surgery, fetal monitoring and urogynecology. After completing his residency training, he became the only obstetrician-gynecologist in central Kansas, practicing in the university town of Manhattan. Two years later, he moved to Kansas City where he was in active practice for 35 years. He became known as “the obstetrician’s obstetrician.” He pioneered the use of fetal monitoring, obstetrical ultrasonography and the development of regional referral centers for high risk pregnancies. He served on the Missouri Maternal Mortality Committee and was the President of the St. Luke’s Hospital staff. Quiet, humble and unassuming, he was noted for his dedication to medicine, his compassionate care of patients and his service to his community. Years after his retirement, St. Luke’s Hospital recognized his contributions by naming the hospital urogynecology laboratory in his honor.
Dr. Wall was also the founding member of the board of directors of the Worldwide Fistula Fund (WFF). He made trips to Nigeria, Ghana and Ethiopia to further work among women with obstetric fistulas. He took great pride in the opening of WFF’s Danja Fistula Center in southern Niger in 2012. In recognition of his contributions, the outpatient clinic at that institution was also named in his honor.
A lifelong learner, Dr. Leonard Wall took special pride in medical education and was beloved by his residents who did their clinical training under his guidance, regarding him as the model physician. His two sons, Leonard Lewis Wall and Terry John Wall, both entered medicine.
Dr. Leonard Wall was preceded in death by his loving wife of 65 years, Evelyn. Survivors include his two sons, Dr. Terry Wall and Dr. Leonard Lewis Wall, his daughter-in-law, Helen, and his two grandsons, Jimmy Wall and Thom Wall.
Memorial contributions may be sent to the Dr. Leonard Wall Memorial Fund at Worldwide Fistula Fund, 1100 E. Woodfield Road, Suite 350, Schaumburg, IL 60173 or online at worldwidefistulafund.org. Fond memories and condolences for the family may be left in the comment section below.