Dr. George Wood Beeler Jr.
Celebration of Life
Date: Thursday May 18, 2017
Time: 3:00 pm
Location: Rochester Country Club [ view map ]
Wednesday, October 5, 1938
Date of Death:
Sunday, May 7, 2017
78 years old
Dr. George Wood Beeler Jr.
Dr. George W. Beeler Jr., 78, of Rochester the former Division Chair of Mayo Clinic’s Information Systems Architecture and Technology and a leader in the field of health care standards died Sunday, May 7 at Methodist Hospital after a long battle with lymphoma.
Woody, as he was known to friends and colleagues alike, was born in West Point, NY, and graduated high school from St. Louis Country Day School in 1956. He received his B.S.E. in Electrical Engineering and Physics from Princeton University in 1960 and his M.S. in Electrical Engineering in 1961 and Ph.D in Biological Systems Research in 1965 from the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena.
Woody met his wife, Selby Butt, through friends of his sister and after a cross-country relationship from California to New York City they were married in 1965. After serving as a Captain in the U.S. Army Medical Service Corps in Ft. Rucker, Ala., the couple moved to Selby’s hometown of Rochester in 1967 when Woody joined the Mayo Clinic as an associate consultant in physiology to pursue research interests in the application of computers to biomedical research.
During his 33-year career at Mayo Clinic, as computer technology developed and grew, Woody served as head of the sections of Information Systems Technology and Information Processing and Systems before becoming chair of the Division of Information Architecture and Technology. His interest in health data sharing and creating data architectures to support clinical health care led to his deep involvement with international health care standards organizations including Health Level Seven (HL7).
A skilled negotiator and informed lecturer, Woody provided HL7 tutorials around the world and was named HL7 Volunteer of the Year in 2000. His HL7 work, which continued even after his retirement from Mayo Clinic in 2000, provided Woody and Selby many opportunities to travel, explore new cultures and form lasting friendships with his HL7 colleagues.
Woody was a bicyclist, eager traveler (especially to the Big Island of Hawaii), early tech adopter (from Apple II to Apple Watch), sailor, canoer, fisherman, poker player, neighborhood computer guru, golfer, avid reader, Donkey Kong master and the beloved summer bartender at his family cottage in northern Michigan.
In addition to his wife, Woody is survived by a daughter, Amanda (Andy Groover) of Wynnewood, Pa. ; a son, Charles (Jenny) of Menlo Park, Calif.; five grandchildren, Lucy, Jane, Sam, Mary and Charlie; his 103-year-old mother, Jane Greenfield of Bellaire, Mich.; a sister, Janet Nesin of Madison, Ala.; and numerous nieces, nephews and cousins. Woody was preceded in death by his fathers, George W. Beeler Sr. and Milton Greenfield Jr.
A celebration of life will be held at 3 pm on Thursday, May 18th at Rochester Golf & Country Club followed by a reception after the service. A second celebration of life will be held this summer on Elk Lake, Michigan.
Memorial gifts can be made to an HL7 scholarship currently being created to support involvement in HL7 by individuals who exhibit Woody’s characteristics including a passion for standards and interoperability and a willingness to get their hands dirty doing what’s necessary to make things work. Details can be received by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Memorials can also be designated to lymphoma research at Mayo Clinic. Mayo Clinic is one of the leading institutions focused on researching the most aggressive forms of lymphoma and the family hopes to see this research benefit other families fighting this challenging disease.
The family of Dr. George Wood Beeler Jr. has received the following condolences.
To the family of Woody,
I am very sorry for your loss. I got to know Woody through my work as a volunteer at HL7. I was so impressed by his long term humble dedication to the HL7 standards effort. He was an amazing hacker, loved what he did, had a great sense of humor, was always so helpful to me and caring and treated me with utmost respect when answering my steady stream of basic questions. I learned so much from him and am very honored to have known him.
Dearest Selby, Amanda and Charles,
We were deeply saddened by the news of Woody's death after a long, brave battle with cancer. Lovingly you all did everything possible to support him during the valiant and difficult battle. He was an inspiration to all of us, especially to those who have an interest in HL7 research. They are inspired to carry out the work necessary to make things work eventually.
We have such fond memories of our good times together and send our heartfelt condolences to all of you.
Very sincerely yours,
Ingrid and Bryan Neel
May the family find comfort in loving memories, and in knowing that God is "close to those that are broken at heart; and he saves those who are crushed in spirit." (Psalm 34:18) Our loving Creator, Jehovah God, has promised to soon "swallow up death forever...and wipe the tears from all faces" (Isaiah 25:8). With deepest sympathy.
CEN/TC 251 ‘Health informatics ‘ and the Dutch mirror committee, sends condolences to the family of Mr. Beeler's family - Shirin Golyardi
I was surprised and greatly saddened as I learned of the absence of "Woody" on our earth plane. He was so intelligent, kind and regarded highly. I extend my prayers for you each as you adjust to your life without him. God bless!
Condolences from International Organization of Standardization Technical Committee 215 Health informatics (ISO/TC 215) family:
Woody was always very friendly and welcoming as I came into the ISO/TC 215 community back in 2013. I have many memories of him from our meetings. He was a respected leader in our community and very knowledgeable. My deepest sympathies. – Diana Warner, ISO/TC 215 Secretariat
On behalf of myself and also our Canadian ISO delegation I want to pass along our condolences to Woody's family, friends and colleagues. He was a widely respected founder and esteemed leader in our international standards community. I have many fond memories of him speaking and contributing at our ISO meetings, in addition to his great work with HL7. -Don Newsham
I'm very saddened to hear about Woody. I know that he was greatly esteemed amongst the health informatics community for his kindness, deep knowledge and leadership. So he will undoubtedly be a greatly missed by those colleagues who knew him well. Please relay my deepest condolences to the family. - Mary Lou Pelaprat, ISO
We have known Woody and Selby Beeler for 20 years. We always was very glad to see them and their grandchildren. Please, send our condolences to Selby and to the other members of his family. -Ivan Emelin, Olga Galinovskaya, GOST R
I have had the opportunity to work with Woody in ISO-TC215 WG2 from 2007 to 2012. We also had a great time during the ISO + HL7 meetings in Rio. Woody was bright, knowledgeable, witty and a great person to work with. He was a true representative of a generation of pioneers in Health Information Interoperability. I am very sorry that he has left us. We will miss him dearly. – Lincoln Moura Jr., on behalf of the IMIA Family