North High Hall of Fame Inductee - 1989
Dr. George Gray Caudill
Class of June, 1940
Prominent lecturer and author who is a successful allergist in the Des Moines area and is involved in a number of medical and civic organizations.

Obituary as it appeared in the Des Moines Register, Sunday, October 24, 2010:
Dr. George Caudill, a lifelong Des Moines resident, died Wednesday, after an arduous battle with Alzheimers disease.

George Gray Caudill was born in Des Moines November 15, 1921. Along with his brothers Ray, Bill and Clyde, he was raised by Wilbern Tyre and Dorothy Margaret Caudill. George struggled his way through Washington Irving Junior High and North High School, graduating in 1939, unaware that his academic difficulties stemmed from what he later learned to be dyslexia.

Throughout his life, he was continually frustrated by the lack of attention paid to dyslexic students by educators, and made awareness of dyslexia a lifelong pursuit, counseling young people, similarly situated, that dyslexia was a path to success, not a sentence to a life of mediocrity.

Like many of his generation, Caudill went off to war in the months following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. He served in the United States Navy as a corpsman and later a chief pharmacist mate, stationed at Great Lakes Naval Base and aboard ship in the South Pacific. It was while he was stationed at Great Lakes that Caudill first met his wife to be, Dorothy Swendsen. They married in 1948.

Caudill attended the University of Iowa and graduated from medical school in 1952. He then began his residency at Blank Hospital in Des Moines and practiced pediatric medicine in Des Moines until 1963 when he returned to U of I for post doctoral work in allergy and immunology.

During the 1960s, he also edited the Better Homes and Garden Baby book, revising subsequent editions as the needs of children of the early 60s transformed. During the mid-1960s, Dr. Caudill made the decision to run for public office, and began a 13 year stint as a member of the Des Moines Board of Education. He served on the school board at a time of tumultuous activity and tremendous growth in the Des Moines public schools. He believed strongly that each and every student in the public school system should have equal opportunity for a quality education. Caudill and the Des Moines school board were thrust into the national spotlight in 1969 when the case of Tinker v. Des Moines Board of Education established the principle that the right to free speech does not stop at the school house door.

Caudill reviled politicians who would deign to compromise the quality of our public schools, and was a committed advocate who labeled as a scoundrel anyone who would suggest access to early education or healthcare was a privilege and not a right.

In his long medical career, Caudill's thriving allergy practice spanned more than 30 years. He was a long serving team physician for Lincoln High's football team, a clinical assistant professor at the University of Iowa, and in addition to treating countless young patients, many of whom lived in households with smoking parents, he made it his livelong mission to take a stand against smoking.

In retirement, Caudill established a free medical clinic in a traditionally underserved area of Des Moines to provide treatment to children whose families could not otherwise afford medical care. This clinic lives on at the Corinthian Baptist Church, whose foundation may be a beneficiary of those who care to memorialize Dr. Caudill's life. Along with Blank Children's Hospital, contributions to both organizations are a fitting tribute to a man who made the health and education of children a lifelong pursuit.

To celebrate the doctors life, a visitation will be held Monday at Dunn's Chapel 2121 Grand Ave from 4 to 6:30 p.m. Funeral services will be held Tuesday 10:30 a.m. at Wakonda Christian Church, 3938 Fleur Dr.; and burial, with military honors, will take place at 2 p.m. at the Iowa Veterans Cemetery at Van Meter, Iowa.

Dr. Caudill is survived by his spouse, Dorothy, his wife of 62 years. To say the least, George and Dorothy took pride in their children and grandchildren: Kim and her husband, Tony Bisignano and their children, Emily, Allison and Nick; Marci and Dave Rafdal and their four children, Karen, Anna, Maria and David. Vicki and David Markley raised Natalie, Ryan and Kara, and her husband Joey Mashek. Cathy and Steve Mussett and their children, Christopher and Erin; youngest daughter, Tammy and her husband, Scott Stines and their daughters, Lauren and Ellen. Their only son George and wife, Kathleen have the youngest of the grandchildren, Catherine and Charlie.

A tighter knit family you will never find, and as the good doctor joins his grandson Nick in life eternal, those who remain behind will celebrate a long life, well lived.

For the Wall of Honor biographical tribute
to the memory of Dr. George Gray Caudill, visit:

Died in Des Moines, IA 50312; 10/20/10.
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