SICOT e-Newsletter - April 2015: In Memoriam

Dr William J. Kane, age 82, SICOT member since 1972, of Edina, died peacefully on 27 March 2015, surrounded by family and friends. Preceded in death by his parents William and Margaret, brother Eugene and sister-in-law Iris.

Born in Brooklyn, New York, Bill attended Xavier High School in Manhattan and the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts. Following graduation from college in 1954, he attended medical school at Columbia University in New York. From there he struck out for wider horizons and came to Minnesota, where he met, wooed and married Elizabeth (“Betty”) Knoll in 1960. He served as a resident in orthopaedic surgery at the University of Minnesota under the mentorship of Dr John Moe, and went on to earn his Ph.D. in orthopaedic surgery. Bill was proud to be one of the surgeons who helped ensure that orthopaedics was established as a full department at the University.

In 1970, Dr Kane was recruited to serve as Chairman of the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery at Northwestern University in Chicago, where he practiced and taught at Northwestern and Children’s Memorial Hospital. He returned to the Twin Cities in 1988, eventually retiring from medicine in 2009 as a partner in Hennepin Faculty Associates at Hennepin County Medical Center.

Throughout his career, Dr Kane took on leadership roles in many professional associations, including the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, the Scoliosis Research Society, the International Society for the Study of the Lumbar Spine and the Continental Orthopaedic Society. He was privileged to travel to five continents presenting research and lecturing on spinal orthopaedic treatments and procedures. He frequently volunteered his professional talents to serve the less fortunate. He was honored to make and keep friendships around the world. But some of his most prized relationships were with his patients and their families.

Bill’s love of language and learning made him an insatiable reader and an inveterate letter writer. He published and edited a number of medical textbook chapters and wrote dozens of academic articles. To honor a beloved Holy Cross classmate, fellow polio survivor, and dear friend, he wrote a biography of Will Jenks titled Let Yourself Be Loved. When he wasn’t on the slopes, at the helm of a sailboat, or behind the wheel on a cross-country road trip, Bill loved to hold court around the kitchen table telling stories and perfecting his Irish gift of gab.

Bill is survived by his wife of nearly 55 years, Elizabeth (Knoll), and his children Kathleen, William Jr. (Zena), Stephen (Joan), Patricia, and Anne; and his nephew Kevin, to whom he donated a kidney in 1997. He also leaves six Kane grandchildren: Jennifer, Emily, Charlie, Brendan, Ben and William; as well as numerous relatives in Minnesota and throughout the U.S. The Kane family wishes to express their heartfelt thanks for the generous and gracious care their dad received from the entire staff at the Beehive Home in Excelsior.

A memorial Mass and celebration of Bill’s life will be held at The Basilica of St. Mary in Minneapolis at 1:00 pm on Friday, 15 May. Memorials are preferred to The Alzheimer’s Association, The Basilica of St. Mary, Beehive Home of Excelsior or Gianna Homes of Minnetonka.