When William B. "Bud" Whiting Jr. came to Santa Rosa to practice medicine in 1954, there was only one other surgeon in town. And in his early years here it took him extra time to get to Memorial Hospital from his new home in Bennett Valley because Farmers Lane had not yet been extended all the way to Bennett Valley Road.
Whiting, who went from working as a surgeon to becoming medical director of the State Compensation Insurance Fund, died Thursday at his Santa Rosa home. He was 90 years old.
His son recalled Whiting as a man who loved his family and who relished the life of a small-town surgeon.
"He used to make house calls," said his son, Bill Whiting, of Elk Grove.
The son of a farmer in Shepherdstown, W. Va., Whiting received his medical degree in 1947 from Georgetown University.
A few days later he married his wife Lois Whiting, who had been a nurse at the university hospital. The couple's 67th wedding anniversary is Tuesday.
After graduation, Whiting wanted to return to West Virginia. "Originally he wanted to go back to Sheperdstown and be a country doctor," his son said.
Instead, with the possibility of being drafted, Whiting joined the U.S. Air Force and became a surgeon with the rank of captain. From 1951 to 1954 he was stationed at Travis Air Force Base near Fairfield, where he cared for returning wounded from the Korean War.
Whiting entered private practice in Santa Rosa in 1954. A few years later the couple built a home near Bennett Valley Road and Tachevah Drive. At the time, the surrounding land included a dairy, prune orchards and vineyards, their son said.
In 1967, Whiting became medical director for the State Compensation Insurance Fund. He commuted to his office in San Francisco for two decades and retired in 1987.