William Collins Nugent

Published: 2/6/2021 3:00:06 AM
Modified: 2/6/2021 3:00:05 AM

MERIDEN, NH — Dr. William “Bill” Collins Nugent, Jr. 71 of Meriden, NH died January 31, 2021 after a hard-fought battle with cancer.

Born on October 17, 1949 in Morristown, New Jersey to William and Anna Nugent, Bill attended Franklin and Marshall College and Albany Medical School, where he found his calling in cardiothoracic surgery. Following his general surgery residency at Massachusetts General Hospital, he completed a fellowship at the University of Michigan before settling into his 34 year career at Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center. He served as section head of Cardiothoracic Surgery for 22 years and helped develop a separate Department of Thoracic Surgery.

As a professor at Dartmouth Medical School, Bill influenced more than three decades of medical students and residents, inspiring many to pursue careers in his specialties. In 1987, Bill helped found the Northern New England Cardiovascular Disease Study Group and became a nationally-known speaker, advocating for their innovative methods in Quality Improvement. He later served on the American Board of Thoracic Surgery, shaping the future of graduate specialty training.

Bill was a compassionate physician, basing his practice on “listening to the patient.” He took great pride in caring for our nation’s veterans at the White River Junction VA Medical Center and took extra time to hear their stories.

Bill’s enthusiasm and passion extended into his personal life and hobbies. He swam competitively in college and continued throughout his life with the Masters Swim Club and Upper Valley Rays. He enjoyed a round of golf, as well as being an avid biker, fly fisherman, private pilot, and skier. He collected antique firearms and was a member of Grafton County Fish and Game Association and Pioneer Sportsmen Inc. He had a lifelong interest in music, cultivated by his mother, and served a term as the president of Opera North.

Bill was proud of the home that he and his wife Susan designed in Meriden, where they raised their family. He continuously improved the grounds with stonewalls and trails and enjoyed walks in the woods with his English Setter, Jenney. His hospitality was renowned and he loved to open his home to all manner of celebration, including several weddings. During these festivities he could often be spotted with his signature drink in hand: a martini.

On a whim, Bill and Susan purchased a boat after retiring in 2016. They were rewarded with five idyllic summers aboard “Escapade”, adventuring together on Lake Champlain and creating a community of new friends who affectionately referred to him as “Doc.”

Though his life was interrupted with the sudden diagnosis of terminal cancer, he was gracious in his illness and immensely grateful to all who cared for him, from the medical staff at DHMC (many of whom had educational or professional ties to him), to his family, and friends.

Bill is survived by his wife of 30 years Susan, his sons William, Bradford, Ross (Beth), and Bryden, his granddaughter Eveline, his sister Jan (Phil) Saffer, and his niece and nephews.

A celebration of life will be held at a later date this summer. Arrangements have been entrusted to Knight Funeral Home, White Rive Junction, VT. Online condolences are appreciated to www.knightfuneralhomes.com

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