In Memoriam Dr. William F. Enneking


It is with great sadness that I share with you the passing of Dr. William F. Enneking, one of the college’s founding leaders and a legend in the field of orthopedic medicine. Dr. Enneking, who served as the first chief of orthopaedic medicine at our College of Medicine and the first chair of the department orthopaedics and rehabilitation, passed away, July 17, at the age of 88.

Born in Madison, Wisconsin in 1926, Dr. Enneking earned his medical degree in 1949 from the University of Wisconsin. While an intern, he served as a medical officer in Korea for the U.S. Navy. After returning to the U.S., he completed his residency training in orthopaedics at the University of Chicago.

While working at the University of Mississippi after his residency, Dr. Enneking was recruited to the fledgling UF College of Medicine as part of its new department of surgery. Edward Woodward, the first chair of surgery, had been a resident with Dr. Enneking in Chicago and recruited him to establish an orthopaedics division. When he arrived in Gainesville, Dr. Enneking was the only orthopaedic surgeon in town.

At UF, Dr. Enneking became a legend in his field and among the students and residents he taught. He developed an innovative treatment to save limbs when surgeons are forced to cut away bone and support tissue while removing tumors. He also developed a staging system doctors use to classify the severity of bone and soft-tissue tumors. His basic and clinical research also helped pave the way for bone and muscular tissue banking. He is also a three-time recipient of the Kappa Delta Award, the highest honor in orthopaedics research. He took particular pride in his role as an educator. Aside from the students and residents he influenced at UF, he taught students across the globe, presenting a well-known and highly regarded seminar in musculoskeletal pathology. He once joked that he would go anywhere there was good fishing, another passion of his.

As an international leader in the field of orthopaedics, Dr. Enneking has served as the president of every orthopaedics association in the United States — including the American Orthopaedic Association — as well as several international ones.  His efforts as a teacher, clinician and scientist have earned him countless accolades, including the college’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2006.

In addition, Dr. Enneking was actively involved in the Gainesville community. He served two terms on the Alachua County School Board and was instrumental in the racial integration of the county’s schools. He also served as a team physician for the Gators in the 1960s.

Dr. Enneking also serves as half the namesake for UF’s Enneking-Anspach Research Center, which is dedicated to Dr. Enneking’s field of expertise — musculoskeletal pathology — and contains an extensive collection he put together during his career.

A memorial service is planned in his honor at 1 p.m., July 26 at the Queen of Peace Catholic Church in Gainesville. A celebration will be held after the service at the Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine Institute.

Our heartfelt condolences go out to Dr. Enneking’s family, including UF’s own Dr. Kayser Enneking. He will be missed.