William Whitelaw, M.D.
October 14, 1931 - April 8, 2006

November 1955

William R. Whitelaw, M.D.

William (Bill) Whitelaw, retired general practitioner in Orleans and School Physician for the Nauset Region, died at Cape Cod Hospital on April 8th at the age of 74. Born in Teaneck, New Jersey, he attended Teaneck schools and graduated from Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut. Within a month of completing Naval Officer Candidate School in Newport, Rhode Island, he had married Marilyn O'Connor of Brooklyn, New York; honeymooned on Cape Cod; moved to the Submarine Base at New London, Connecticut; and left for a three-month tour of the Mediterranean Sea aboard the U.S. Navy submarine Sea Owl. Before the end of his enlistment, he was proud to have become a qualified submarine officer, entitled to wear gold dolphins. He was a member of the third graduating class of Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University, and spent part of his third year at the Adolescent Unit at Massachusetts General Hospital. The day after completing his internship at Hackensack Hospital in New Jersey, he and Marilyn headed to Orleans to establish a medical practice.

The residents and physicians of Orleans and the lower cape were welcoming and helpful, and Dr. Whitelaw soon built an office wing onto his home and worked there in solo practice for over 30 years. As a family practitioner, Dr. Whitelaw's practice was varied, but he was particularly proud to have delivered almost 3000 babies during his career. He was a passionate believer in the importance of patient-doctor trust and was increasingly frustrated by the over-regulation and commercialization of medicine. In 1996, he reluctantly closed his office because of an inherited condition recently diagnosed as Fragile-X Syndrome, which caused tremors that made detailed work with his hands increasingly difficult. Dr. Whitelaw continued to serve as School Physician for the Nauset Regional Schools.

He became a member of the Sea Owl Association, whose members had served aboard the submarine during its active career, and enjoyed the comradeship of the Association's annual meetings and picnics at New London.

He was a long time collector and creator of toy soldiers and other miniatures, and enjoyed constructing original dioramas.

He is survived by his wife of 51 years, Marilyn; by his brother, Rodney; and by his five children, William F., Todd, Arlyn, Ian, and Regan. The family will host a gathering of friends and well wishers at the Orleans Elementary School on Wednesday, May 17, from 3:30 to 6:30. Stories and memories may be contributed and shared on a special comment forum. For those wishing to make a memorial gift in Dr. Whitelaw's memory, please consider the Gift Account at your favorite elementary school or the USS Sea Owl Association, 1453 Marty Drive, Reynoldsburg, OH 43068.

"Hero on the fantail - getting underway." U.S.N. Sea Owl, 1956

Officer Candidate School

The Great Escape

Graduation - Albert Einstein, 1962

Life of an Intern - Hackensack Hospital

Life of an Intern on the 'phone - Hackensack Hospital

A big step down from the Navy days

Life of a General Practitioner - working on Christmas day

Some things are hard to explain

Office, River Road, East Orleans

The waiting room gets pretty tedious if you don't play with the toys

Pontificating in Brewster, October 1994

Leisure - River Road, East Orleans

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