Obituary: William "Bill" C. Diaz, 1965-2019 | Obituaries | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice
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Obituary: William "Bill" C. Diaz, 1965-2019 

Bill’s shinai
  • Bill’s shinai

William "Bill" C. Diaz of Burlington, 53, died on April 21 at his home. Bill was widely known in the Burlington area and had friends from several walks of life. He was welcoming, generous, considerate, witty, respectful, charming, compassionate and outspoken, and he had a strong personality. If you knew Bill, you would know that he was a wealth of information — like a walking encyclopedia. He was always inquisitive and had a passionate love of all things, particularly science. Bill’s passing unquestionably leaves a void in the lives of those who knew him well and loved him.

Born in Baltimore, Md., on June 8, 1965, Bill grew up in the Reston, Va., area through his high school years. From 1983 to 1986, Bill served in the U.S. Army’s 82nd Airborne Division, stationed in Fort Bragg, N.C., and participated in the invasion of Grenada. While the Army would have sent him to West Point, an unfortunate, non-combat-related injury ended his military service.

In 1993, he graduated magna cum laude at the University of Southern Maine with a BA in biology. In the interim, Bill continued to develop interests in life sciences and medicine. In 1998, he was accepted into the esteemed MD/PhD program at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas. His time at Baylor clarified his passion to become an educator and researcher. Toward this end, he was a teacher at DeBakey High School for Health Professions (Houston), at the NAACP/NASA Inner City Math and Science Academy (Baltimore), and at Thornton Academy (Saco, Maine). Bill also served as a researcher and patent agent at Kramer and Associates in Crystal City, Va.

In 2006, Bill moved to Vermont to enter the Cellular and Molecular Biology Graduate Program at the University of Vermont. Bill was awarded a prestigious NIH Predoctoral Fellowship and subsequently obtained his MS. He was passionate and dedicated to solving how the brain controls energy metabolism. Although Bill was gifted intellectually, an excellent writer, and well-suited for a career in research and teaching, personal circumstances and his persistent and progressively worsening health prevented him from reaching further career goals.

Bill deeply loved his maternal grandparents, Dr. William G. and Ella W. Esmond, of Havre de Grace, Md. Dr. Esmond was a dedicated physician and inventor who created and patented several medical devices, including (ironically) an artificial kidney. Deeply respected by Bill, he was particularly influential during Bill’s youth and no doubt sparked his interest in science, discovery and compassion toward others.

click to enlarge William "Bill" C. Diaz
  • William "Bill" C. Diaz

Bill was dedicated to caring for and helping others. During the past several years, he was active in his community, serving as an advocate for veterans and chaplain for the Winooski VFW. Due to his intellect and knowledge in several fields beyond the sciences, Bill was a highly sought team leader in local trivia competitions. He enjoyed playing video games, cooking scrumptious meals for others and taking care of Maya, his four-legged friend.

Although Bill departed too soon, he left us with cherished memories, lots of smiles and love. Bill was one of a kind. For those who would like to share their stories and thoughts, there will be an informal gathering in remembrance of Bill on Friday, May 31, at noon at the Great Northern, 716 Pine St., Burlington.

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