Dr. William Morris Berton will be remembered at a Saturday memorial service as a professor who focused on giving his students the best possible experience.
He died Sept. 1 at the Nebraska Medical Center of complications from post-polio syndrome, said his wife, Patricia Chappell Husbands Berton of Omaha. He was 89.
His memorial service will begin at 10 a.m. at Dundee Presbyterian Church, 5312 Underwood Ave. A member there since 1969, Berton served as an elder.
He taught second-year medical students at the University of Nebraska College of Medicine. His specialties — pathology and microbiology — are a large part of the second-year medical school curriculum.
“He was totally dedicated to the medical education of students. He worked hard at it. Students were his first concern and only concern,” said Dr. Jim Newland, who took Berton's job after he retired.
Dr. Sam Cohen, professor and former department chairman of pathology and microbiology at UNMC, said Berton “was very committed to medical education and how to do it.”
Berton, who grew up in Fresno, Calif., served in the Navy during World War II and was in the Navy Reserve.
“We met in church in Burlingame, California,” said Patricia Berton. “He was going on to medical school and I was going to Stanford University for graduate school.”
He graduated in 1949 from the University of California Medical School in San Francisco. Because of the Korean War, he served two years at the Naval Hospital at Camp Pendleton (Calif.) Marine Base.
As an intern in Boston, he contracted polio during that city's epidemic. He finished his internship on crutches. He then took pathology training at Duke University.
He was a professor at UNMC from 1969 until his retirement about 20 years later. He continued to do volunteer teaching until post-polio syndrome forced him to stop.
“He really never had time much for hobbies,” his wife said. “The hospital was it. He was there seven days a week.”
Besides his wife of 64 years, other survivors include children William Mark Berton of Gering, Neb., Pamela Chappell Berton-Johnson of The Colony, Texas, and James Samuel Berton of Ashland, Ky.; and five grandchildren.
A private graveside service and burial were held Sept. 7 in Florence, S.C.