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William R Dorrance M.D.



June 25, 1921 - January 9, 2023

Dr. Dorrance passed away in his home after a stroke at the age of 101. He was born in Albany, N.Y. to Ida and Joseph Dorrance, who had immigrated from Poland. From a very young age, he grew up with the support and mentorship of his much older siblings, Sam and Rose. They were instrumental in encouraging him to pursue a career in medicine and paid his tuition for college and medical school.

He was graduated from Albany Medical College at the top of his class and then trained at Mt. Sinai Hospital in N.Y. before serving in Japan as a U.S. Army captain and physician starting in 1945. Upon his return from service, he completed his residency in internal medicine at Mt. Sinai and was the first fellow in Mt. Sinai’s new endocrinology department.

After Dr. Dorrance and his family moved from N.Y. to California in 1951, he assumed a position at Kaiser Permanente Oakland in endocrinology, running the diabetic unit. Later he established an internal medicine private practice in Redwood City, where he worked for over 45 years. In the course of his career, he conducted medical research and served on the faculty in clinical medicine at Stanford University School of Medicine.

Dr. Dorrance was treasured by his friends and family for his intelligence, sensitivity, kindness and generosity. He loved to discuss ideas and had a depth of knowledge in many subjects, including medicine, history, science, politics, art, and classical music. He shared his love of live theater, art and music with his wife of 55 years, Elsa Dorrance, and after she passed, with his partner of 23 years, Marian Davis. Dr. Dorrance loved to learn and was a true polymath.

He traveled the world, always doing in-depth research on the countries he visited and was physically active all his life, playing tennis and swimming. He kept remarkably fit, only using a walker in the last two years of his life. A month before his passing, he attended the San Francisco Symphony.

Dr. Dorrance was predeceased by his wife Elsa Smith Dorrance; his siblings Rose Kalter (Henry), Samuel Dorrance and Dave Doran; and nephew Robert Kalter (Nancy Glass). In addition to his partner, Marian Davis, he is lovingly remembered by his sons, David Dorrance (Linda Schneider), Richard Dorrance, Mark Dorrance, and by his daughter, Jeanie Dorrance (Staeppan Snyder); his grandchildren, Joya Tillem, Sam Dorrance (Gracie), Nate Snyder and Alana Snyder; his six great-grandchildren; his niece, Joanmarie Kalter; and grandnephews and grandnieces Gram and Faith Hill and Jeff and Julie Kalter (Dave Turner).

Private funeral services with family were held at Alta Mesa Memorial Park Cemetery in Palo Alto. A Celebration of Life is planned for the spring. Memorial contributions may be made to the American Heart Association.

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