Willard B. Fernald, M.D.

August 16, 1923 ~ September 15, 2020 (age 97)


Willard B. Fernald, M.D., born August 16, 1923, died September 15, 2020 at Bickford of Bexley where he had lived for the last 5 years of his life.  He had been married to his most beloved best friend, Elizabeth (Bette) Taylor Fernald, in an extraordinary partnership for nearly sixty years until her death in 2008.  He died gracefully, peacefully, gently and still thinking of others first.  

Will received his BA from Brown University after an interruption to serve in the Army Air Corps in Guam during the Second World War, and his MD from Harvard Medical School in 1951, for which he always credited the support of the G.I. Bill.  He continued his service to others throughout his lifetime.  

Will was a Healer in every sense: as a pediatrician in private practice for more than 50 years who touched countless lives; as a founder of Pediatric Associates; as a member of the staff of Nationwide Children’s Hospital for 60 years and serving as Medical Staff President (1972-1973); as Clinical Professor of Pediatrics at The Ohio State University College of Medicine teaching the art of medicine to new generations of doctors; as the Medical Director of Heinzerling Community (a foundation to care for children with severe and profound developmental disabilities), volunteering his services for many of its first 50 years; as a Board Member of the Central Ohio Diabetes Association and founder and medical director of Camp Hamwi, a camp for children with diabetes; as President of the Columbus Civil Rights Council and chair of the Fair Housing committee for Bexley; as Deacon of First Congregational Church and Elder of The Redeemer’s Church; as a person who treated everyone who crossed his path with dignity, offering wisdom, comfort and help - spiritual, moral, financial, every kind of support he could.  

Will and Bette opened their house in Bexley to provide sanctuary to more than 80 people who needed a place for restoration after being battered by the world.  Will invested himself and his resources in people and matters of the spirit, rather than personal gain. Many people are alive or living enriched lives because of Will’s compassionate heart. Will made great use of every second of his 97 years in the service of others.  He lived an exemplary life.

Will and Bette are survived by their children, Willard T. (Tom) Fernald (Mary), Tora Fernald Huntington (Joel), Margaret Carlton Fernald, and Theodore Barker Fernald (Betsy Horner); grandchildren, Julia Tompkins Fernald Huntington, Margaret Vea Fernald Huntington, Marena Horner Fernald, and Eleda Horner Fernald; and the innumerable lives that they touched.

For those who wish, donations to the Heinzerling Community, First Congregational Church UCC Columbus, or Heartland Hospice Memorial Fund would honor his memory.

A Contemplative Service for Willard Barker Fernald (16 August 1923 - 15 September 2020) will be held online, live-streamed from First Congregational Church in Columbus Ohio, on Saturday Nov 21 from 10 - 11:30am EST.
Link to the Service will be active that day:

A Memorial Gathering will follow the Service on Zoom to share informally about his life, starting shortly thereafter and open-ended. Link below.

Service and Gathering are open to all who wish to share in honoring Will's life, so please share this information with any whom you know would be lovingly interested. But please remember not to repost the links themselves in Public social media platforms. Thank you!

Zoom information for the Memorial Gathering:
The Willard Fernald family is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.
Topic: Willard Barker Fernald Memorial Gathering
Time: Nov 21, 2020 11:30 AM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

The Zoom Meeting requires advanced registration at the link that follows:
The registrar's name will be Sam Lebold and his email will be provided for any questions.
When you register with your name and email, we encourage you to let us know your affiliation to Will in the Comment box.
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing the usual information to join the Zoom meeting.
Zoom link:


To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Willard B. Fernald, M.D., please visit our floral store.


Contemplative Service
November 21, 2020

10:00 AM to 11:30 AM

Zoom Memorial Gathering
November 21, 2020

11:30 AM

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