In Memoriam of William J. and Christine Kidwell

Bill and Chris, center, surrounded by their Hopkins friends at their retirement dinner in December 2012.

We were very saddened to learn of the passing recently of two very special colleagues and friends, Bill and Chris Kidwell of the Core Lab.  Their son Christopher survives them.

As Greg Gerhardt said,The Kidwells – we very much need a Pathology blog to celebrate their 40-year (80 combined) service and contributions to JHML Clinical Pathology. They both were exemplary examples of the best in a medical technologist. They saw, understood the humanity of the patient in need of accurate and timely tests they performed. I saw their dedication. I supervised both. They were relentless; anchors in Clinical Chemistry.

Bill

Bill Kidwell was born and raised in West Virginia and loved going back home.   He came to Baltimore in the 1970s to live with his sister and attend Essex Community College. There he earned an AA degree as a medical laboratory technician and was taught clinical chemistry by Eleanor Taylor, then education coordinator at The Johns Hopkins Clinical Chemistry Laboratory.

After completing his AA degree and passing his ASCP MLT certification, he came to work at that same laboratory and would work there for the next 40 years. There he met his wife Christine and made many lifelong friends. Bill worked for many years in the Main Chemistry Laboratory on both the day and evening shifts. For the last 10+ years of his career he worked in the Special Chemistry Laboratory where I had the pleasure of working with him and being his supervisor.

Bill was an exceptional medical laboratory technician, smart, hardworking, precise, accurate, and to summarize, did beautiful laboratory work.   He was trained and competent in all areas of Special Chemistry, including immunoassay, spectrophotometry, mass spectrometry, gas chromatography, chloridometry, and isoelectric focusing. He was excellent at maintaining and troubleshooting all the instruments. I always thought that Bill could fix anything and I relied heavily on him.

Bill understood how our lab results highly affected patient diagnosis and care, and thus was diligent in his lab work.

Bill was one of the good guys of this world who loved his wife, son, and sister, and was loyal to his friends. Whenever there was a collection for one of the lab staff who had suffered a loss, Bill was the first one to contribute with a very generous donation.

I shall miss Bill and remember him with fondness. He was a credit to himself, his family, the Clinical Chemistry Laboratory, and to The Johns Hopkins Hospital.

Mary Jo Bill
Supervisor, Special Chemistry Laboratory, 1986 – 2012
June 8, 2020

Chris

Chris Kidwell began her four-decade career at The Johns Hopkins Hospital as a specimen processor on the day shift of the General Clinical Chemistry Lab in the early 70s. Shortly thereafter, she graduated from Essex Community College, Maryland with an AA degree as a medical laboratory technician (MLT).

Landing a promotion as an MLT kept her on the day shift where she began the application of her newly acquired education. Consistent attention to detail and military-like adherence to laboratory procedure and policy shaped her career. Along this path, troubleshooting entered and she eventually became a go-to for instrument failures. Perhaps not so calmly but with great skill the problems were solved. Wanting to provide even more technical support and understanding of the laboratory, she studied diligently and successfully sat for a government-sponsored medical technologist certification exam. Throughout her career she rose to the highest level bestowed upon medical technologists.

Chris was an exemplary laboratorian who understood the humanity and her connection to the unknown patient in need of accurate and timely test results. Daily I witnessed this relentless dedication and it gave me comfort knowing she was on duty and our patients were in the best of hands.

Greg Gerhardt
Supervisor, General Chemistry Laboratory, 1979 – 2014
June 11, 2020

 

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