Wickenburg, AZ, April 29, 2019- The 2019 WJF III Rural Medicine Scholarship ceremony is scheduled to take place Tuesday, May 14, 2019. The recipient of this year’s scholarship will be announced at the Senior Awards Night Presentation which will begin at 6:00 PM in the Atrium of the Del E Webb Center.
William (Bil) J. Firth III, M.D. was a kind and compassionate physician who was committed to providing his patients with the best in modern medical care. In this pursuit, Dr. Firth believed that medicine, rural medicine in particular, was about more than just treating conditions. He practiced medicine with a genuine care for Wickenburg’s residents which included the firm belief in the importance of developing mutual trust and respect with his patients. “I can’t leave my patients, he would say. So he, for almost a quarter of a century, did all he could to make the folks of Wickenburg feel better and live longer and happier lives. – Anne G. Firth
Following medical school at the University of South Alabama, Dr. Firth completed his internal medicine residency at St. Joseph’s Hospital. Relocating to Wickenburg in 1991, Dr. Firth opened a medical practice and began a life devoted to the advancement of health care in rural and under serviced communities. As a faculty member at the U of A College of Medicine, he championed bringing young doctors and health care professionals to communities like Wickenburg for specialized training in the practice of rural medicine.
Founded in 2014, in honor of Dr. Firth and his vision for rural healthcare, the Firth family created a college scholarship fund to award financial assistance to qualifying Wickenburg high school graduates pursuing a career in the medical field. Over the past five years, the Dr. Firth Rural Medicine Scholarship has helped five Wickenburg High School graduates pursue their dreams. “It is our hope that this scholarship in some small way may help a future medical care provider fulfill their dreams and return to Wickenburg to care for and love the folks of Wickenburg as he did.”- Anne G. Firth.
Dr. Firth’s children, Peter, Lexi and William continue their role in honoring their father’s legacy through the careful review and selection of student applicants each year. Peter, the eldest, is earning a PhD in Electrical Engineering at Arizona State University where his research on nanoparticle coatings has generated three patents and federal research grants. In 2017, Peter married his college sweetheart, Dr. Christine Parsons. Christine recently completed her residency in internal medicine at the Mayo Clinic and is currently an attending physician at St. Joseph’s hospital in Phoenix- the same hospital where a young Bil Firth completed his residency.
Lexi graduated with a BS in Biological Science in Ecology from Humboldt State University in northern California. She recently completed an MS in Soil Microbiology at Mississippi State University where she is currently a PhD student studying Soil Microbiology and Sustainable Agriculture in the Mississippi Delta. Lexi loves hiking, rock climbing, organic gardening and spending time with her two English Shepherds and her kitten.
William, the youngest, attended Rice University on a track and cross-country scholarship where he earned a degree in Mechanical Engineering. While at Rice, William met his now wife, Becky Wade- a fellow member of the Rice track team. William and Becky reside in Boulder Colorado where William works as an engineer in the frequency and time industry while Becky pursues her professional running career.
In remembrance of Dr. Firth; who he was and his hope for the future, is a quote from an article published a few years before his passing, “Those who know me know that I do not play golf, bowl or ride horses. I am an avid reader and my major interest is Health Care Reform. I have been a patient having undergone major cardiac surgery which provides me a unique perspective as a health care provider. I have been on both sides of the examining table. My hope for the future is to be one of the guiding forces for further development of medical services and care for the town of Wickenburg and surrounding areas.”