Coxe, professor emeritus of neurological surgery, 86

William S. Coxe, MD, a neurological surgeon known for his dedication to patients and superb surgical skills, died Thursday, Aug. 2, 2012. He was 86.​

“Dr. Coxe was a wonderful surgeon, teacher and colleague for many, many years,” says Ralph Dacey, MD, the Henry G. and Edith R. Schwartz Professor and head of Neurological Surgery. “He was one of the physicians who established the character of this department, and he will be dearly missed.”

Coxe, who came to Washington University in 1957, becam​e professor emeritus of neurosurgery when he retired in 1997.

Robert Grubb Jr., MD, professor emeritus of neurological surgery, trained under Coxe and remembers Coxe as an excellent and meticulous surgeon and a doctor deeply concerned for his patients’ welfare.

“He was an outstanding teacher who was extremely well-liked by the neurosurgical trainees,” Grubb says.

In his book about the history of the department, Neurosurgery at Washington University, Grubb recalled an incident where a patient reported dreams of seeing Coxe at the end of his bed in the intensive care unit in the middle of the night.

Grubb soon learned from a nurse in the unit that Coxe had in fact been checking on patients in the middle of the night.

“The patient was reassured that he was not losing his mind, and that Coxe often appeared … at any hour of the day or night and inquired about patients,” Grubb wrote.

Coxe received the School of Medicine’s Distinguished Service Award in 2002.

He is survived by his wife, Mary “Polly” Coxe. A memorial service will be announced at a later date. He requested that his body be donated to the School of Medicine.