William Rummel, MD
For some rare souls, ophthalmology is not just a rewarding career, but a life-long passion and William Rummel, MD is certainly among them. After 60 years in ophthalmology, Dr. Rummel continues to work two mornings a week seeing patients in the Arizona ophthalmology practice he has since passed down to his sons.
William spent most of his early life in Pennsylvania. He was born in Johnstown and grew up in Glenshaw where he graduated from Shaler High School. He attended Juniata College in Huntington, PA during World War II, received his medical degree from Hahnmann University College of Medicine in Philadelphia, and, after which he began a tour in the Navy.
Dr. Rummel’s interest in Ophthalmology began while studying Aviation Medicine in Pensacola, Florida. He also met “a wonderful girl” who was studying to be a nurse and they have now been married for 61 years. He served as a flight surgeon for the Marine Fighter Group during the Korean War, until his release from the military in 1951.
While attending a basic science course in Ophthalmology in Maine, he met Tod Makley, MD, an instructor visiting from The Ohio State University. It was Dr. Makley who encouraged him to become an ophthalmology resident in Columbus, Ohio.
At that time, the ophthalmology clinic was housed in Starling Loving Hall, the original hospital. The Chairman, Arthur Culler, MD, a former Navy Captain, was “not a tall man, but ran a tight ship”. Dr. Rummel, familiar with militaristic rigor, survived and thrived under the leadership of Dr. Culler managing to become chief resident his final year.
“Every Sunday morning,” he recalls, “they would have Grand Rounds, and invite area ophthalmologists to bring interesting cases. The Chief Resident had to present them and the patients got a free exam. We were never happy to get up that early on a Sunday, but we learned so much and saw such a diversity of conditions, it was a fantastic opportunity.”
After residency, Dr. Rummel completed a fellowship with Bob Quinn, MD in Chillicothe, Ohio and began his private practice in Massillon, Ohio. After seven years and five children, he moved his family west to Prescott, Arizona to become the only practicing ophthalmologist north of Phoenix.
Dr. Rummel’s enthusiasm for helping patients was not confined to his Arizona practice. He also traveled extensively on mission trips across the globe. On one month-long trip that he took to Afghanistan, he performed hundreds of cataract surgeries at the Noor Eye Hospital, the only one in Afghanistan at the time. He also traveled to Brazil with Dr. Robert Bruce and to Mexico several times.
Today, all of his three sons are physicians, two of which are ophthalmologists who practice with him and the other son is practicing internal medicine in Florida. His two daughters are both registered nurses; the youngest assists in the office.
Dr. Rummel also acts as a Senior Examiner for the Civilian Aviation Medical Association (CAMA), an organization which performs physicals for pilots and gets his exercise at his 80-acre apple orchard which is surrounded by the National Forest northwest of Prescott.
Meanwhile, the career he’s lived and loved which started in Ohio, is still growing in Arizona, as he continues assisting eye patients in the same practice he’s had for over half a century. Now that’s dedication.