Thursday, January 28th, was a bittersweet day for the Department of Pathology. Bill LeBar, Administrative Manager of the Clinical Microbiology Laboratory, retired after more than 12 years of service. A virtual retirement ceremony was held in his honor, with more than 50 faculty, staff, and family members attending.
Dr. Riccardo Valdez, Director of Clinical Pathology, thanked Bill for his service. “Bill has had a long and successful career as a laboratory medicine professional with numerous accomplishments and important contributions to his field, including serving as a renowned educator in clinical microbiology. I have only known Bill for about 3 years, but in that time, I have grown to know him not only as a deep content expert, but also as a contemplative, thoughtful, calm, kind, and gracious gentleman, with a good sense of humor, many pearls of wisdom, and an endless supply of Marino wool sweaters. Bill, we will all miss your expertise and experience. Thank you for your outstanding service.”
“Bill is a great lab manager, which stems from the ability to make great connections with people. He always asks how you are doing, how is your family, what are your future plans, etc. He notices things about people, which goes a long way,” reflected Dr. Michael Bachman. He continued by praising LeBar’s decision-making ability, listening skills, and integrity. “He is unique because he does exactly what he says he is going to do. He will always tell you what he thinks and is not afraid to reach a consensus.”
Dr. Gary Assarian, Bill’s mentor from Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, commented “Bill is a breath of fresh air during a tough time. He is always the most effective person in the room. Most of all, though, I cherish Bill’s friendship. We have golfed together and had long phone calls. I look forward to continuing our relationship.”
“We have learned a lot from you, Bill. We have been through a lot, good and bad. When it comes to microbiology, you are the dinosaur of scientists. No one can fill your shoes,” said Michele McGee, fellow lab member. “I want you to enjoy your retirement. Congratulations!”
“I’m going to miss Bill a lot,” stated Dr. Paul Lephart. “It has been a great 3 and a half years; it has flown by with the move to NCRC. I will take as much knowledge from you as long as you allow. Bill, you are a great mentor, friend, and lunch partner. You will be sorely missed, sir.”
This ceremony is a testament to the great scientist and person that Bill is,” stated Dr. Duane Newton. “Bill, you are the giver to family/friends, but this is our chance to celebrate you and our relationships. I can’t believe this is your 47th year as a clinical microbiologist. I personally feel fortunate to have worked with you not once, but twice. I am thankful for all you’ve done for the staff and patient lives you’ve touched over the years.” Newton continued, describing Bill’s work ethic through the years. “Bill has always been dedicated to doing things better and pushing for the best level of care no matter what. He has expanded quality assurance programs and performed numerous QA reviews over the years. He’s led labs through multiple implementations of new technology, the move to NCRC, and the COVID-19 pandemic. Bill has invested tons of time into the laboratory in the name of better care.” Turning back to Bill, Newton concluded, “You have worked hard to guide us through these times; we are all better off because of you. You’ve always been there for people when they needed a listening ear, it is a unique and special gift. Your knowledge and experience are priceless. Thank you, my friend, and please take care.”
Bill’s daughter, Dana LeBar, expressed her excitement over her dad’s retirement, “You deserve this, you work so hard. I am very eager to see how my Dad tolerates a much-deserved break. I love you and can’t wait to see you tomorrow!”
Bill, touched by the ceremony, responded, “Over the years, I have worked with some really fabulous people. I appreciate the relationships I’ve developed. We had a great time. I just want to thank everybody for all you’ve done for me over the years and all the support you’ve given me. I really appreciate everything. Thanks so much.”
Congratulations, Bill! We wish you health and happiness in your retirement.