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Col. Richard C. (Dick) Wolff, MD, USAF (RET.)

Obituary for Col. Richard C. (Dick) Wolff, MD, USAF (RET.)

February 27, 2020
San Antonio, Texas


Richard C. Wolff, born 21 January 1924, Caldwell, New Jersey, first son of Rudy & Mae Wolff. Dick was the number 1 male graduate of the Class of 1941 at Madison High School, NJ. He attended Cornell Univ. as a chemical engineering student 1941-1943. He enlisted in the Army on 12/9/1941 and activated at New York University as a meteorology student 1943-44 and he was commissioned a 2nd Lt. in the Army Air Corps. He was stationed at Douglas Army Airbase as a meteorologist until 1945 at which time he trained in Priorities & Traffic and moved to the 1333 Air Force Base Unit in Chabua, India. He was mustered out from active duty in 1946, but remained as a reserve officer in the Army Air Corps.

He attended Middlebury College, Middlebury, Vermont 1946-48, graduating BA Cum Laude in 1948. He obtained an MA degree in Physiology from Boston University in 1949. He obtained his MD degree from the University of Vermont, 1953. He and Sybil Helen Burnham married on September 2, 1950. Following internship at Syracuse Univ. Hosp., 1953-54 he did an anesthesiology residency at the Hospital of the Univ. of Pennsylvania, 1954-57. While there he activated in the Regular Air Force and was promoted to Captain. He spent one year teaching at HUP before transferring to the Clark Field Hospital in the Philippines where he served as Chief of Anesthesiology, 1957-60. He was Board Certified in Anesthesiology in 1958.

He retuned to CONUS in 1960 as Chief of Anesthesiology at MacDill AFB, 1960-61. While at MacDill AFB he trained with other Army, Navy, and Air Force physicians with NASA in support of the Astronaut Recovery Program. With every Astronaut flight on a Mercury, Gemini and Apollo missions, a team composed of a surgeon, an anesthesiologist and a surgical Corpsman, was stationed on US Navy ships around the world in the Atlantic and Pacific oceans to recover the returning Astronaut(s) and be prepared to perform any emergency medical procedure indicated.

He was sent to Wilford hall USAF Hospital to develop and command the new Aerospace clinical research Laboratory in 1961 and came to San Antonio with the Mercury 7 Astronauts. At the same time, he worked as an anesthesiologist in the hospital, attended the USAF biomedical research Methodology course at Brooks AFB. He transferred to Foreign Technology at Brooks AFB as Chief Analyst in 1965-68. He was dispensary Commander at Kirtland AFB 1968-69 and moved to Teheran, Iran 1969-71 as ARMISH MAAG Hospital Commander. He was Chief, Hospital Services at Mather AFB 1972-72.

Retiring as full Col. in 1972, he joined the teaching staff at UTHSCSAT, consultant in anesthesiology at Audie Murphy VA and Kerrville VA Hospitals. He initiated utilization review and quality assurance programs at all three hospitals. He was Board Certified in Quality Assurance and Utilization Review in 1977. He started the Anesthesia Department at NE Baptist Hospital. He was a member of AF Society of Clinical Surgeons, American Society of Anesthesiologists, President Texas Society of Anesthesiologists, President San Antonio Society of Anesthesiologists, Vice President San Antonio Surgical Society and many other medical societies.

Dick's final professional activity was with EDC (NHIC). He was Assistant Medical Director of NHIC and looked for fraud and abuse in the Texas Medicaid program. He and Sybil drove extensively throughout Texas visiting physician offices and small hospitals. Sybil was a docent for the LBJ Library and she prepared briefs of documents held in the LBJ Library while Dick made his visits.

In retirement, Dick and Sybil traveled extensively throughout the world. Both were very active in the St. Andrews UMC Mission program, serving in Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, and Arkansas. Both Dick and Sybil were active in promoting competitive swimming for youth in Texas, having two sons who exceled in swimming.

Dick is survived by two sons: Eric Wolff (Catherine) and Richard Wolff (Nancy); 4 grandchildren, Eric Wolff (Krista), Alexandra Salas (Daniel), Olivia Santos (Edgar) and Jennifer Shultz (Jake); two great grandsons, Torin Wolff and William Salas, two great grand stepsons Dominic and Roman Santos.

The family will receive friends from on Thursday, March 12 from 10:30-11:30 am at St. Andrews United Methodist Church.

11:30 AM

Rev. Michael Crocker will officiate. Interment with full Military Honors will follow in Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery. In lieu of flowers memorial contributions can be made to St. Andrew's United Methodist Church, 722 Robinhood Place, San Antonio, TX 78209, and the VFW Post 8541, 2222 Austin Highway, San Antonio, TX 78218.

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1101 McCullough Avenue
San Antonio, TX 78212
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