Dr. William Audeh
Dr. William A. Audeh, 92, of Cedar Rapids, passed away peacefully at his home surrounded by his family, on Feb. 3, 2021, after a long illness. Dr. Audeh was a Board-Certified General Surgeon, providing care to the people of the Cedar Rapids community for over 25 years, from 1965 to 1990. Dr. Audeh was born of Palestinian Christian parents, on Jan. 7, (the Orthodox Christmas), 1929, in Khartoum, Sudan, where his father, also a physician, was in medical practice at the time. The family soon returned to their ancestral home of many generations in Nazareth, Palestine, where he grew up, surrounded by his siblings, and many aunts, uncles and cousins. He later attended Bishop Gobat High School in Jerusalem. While still a teenager, Dr. Audeh and his family were forced to leave their home in Palestine, as were many Palestinian Arab families, in 1948, and fled to Beirut, Lebanon for safety, as Palestinian refugees. Despite these hardships, he graduated from the American University of Beirut (AUB) with his Medical Degree in 1953, and began a lifetime of happiness when he married his wife Sameera (nee Azzam) in 1954, in Beirut.
The couple emigrated to the United States in 1959, obtaining their U.S. Citizenship, and settling first in Omaha, Neb., where Dr. Audeh completed his Residency Training in Surgery at Creighton University in 1961. Dr. Audeh began his Surgical practice at the Kuker Clinic and St. Anthony's Hospital in Carrol, Iowa, from 1961 to 1964, before coming to Cedar Rapids in December 1964. During his many years of surgical practice in Cedar Rapids, Dr. Audeh was a member of the Medical Staff of both Mercy Medical Center and St. Luke's Hospital, serving as Chief of Surgery for a time. Dr. Audeh was an innovative and pioneering surgeon, bringing the latest technology and surgical techniques to his patients. He performed the first gastroscopy in Cedar Rapids in the 1970s, using a flexible scope (displayed in a glass case in Mercy Emergency Room) to detect upper intestinal bleeding. Most importantly, he performed the first "lumpectomy" for breast cancer ever performed in Cedar Rapids, in the 1980s, a procedure which allowed women with breast cancer to avoid mastectomy, and which is now the standard of care nationwide. Over his many years of practice, Dr. Audeh was a passionate and dedicated physician, providing surgical care to many hundreds of men, women and children in Cedar Rapids and surrounding communities. After his retirement, as an Emeritus member of the Mercy Medical Staff, he remained active in medical meetings, and regularly attended the Breast Cancer Tumor Board at Mercy Medical Center, providing his knowledge and years of experience to his colleagues.
Dr. Audeh had many interests outside of Medicine. He was an avid reader of books on philosophy, quantum physics and science fiction, and was a fan of "Star Trek" through every series. He had a lifelong love of airplanes, having seen Hawker Hurricanes and Spitfires as a boy during World War II, and obtained a Pilot's license, logging many hours of flight in small single engine planes. In retirement, he applied his surgical skills to oil painting, and painted many beautiful scenes of the Iowa landscape, a number of which were displayed in an exhibition at Mercy Medical Center. Known as "Bill" to his friends, he enjoyed the company of his friends and colleagues, and for many years was a member of a weekly poker group, made up of retired physicians. Although Iowa was his adopted home, Dr. Audeh embraced everything Iowan, and particularly enjoyed " The Music Man" as his favorite film.
Dr. Audeh's ultimate love and devotion was to his family, for whom he was a wonderful husband, father, grandfather and role model. Dr. Audeh is survived by his beloved wife of 67 years, Sameera; his daughter, Prof. Aida Audeh of Hamline University in St. Paul and son-in-law Giovanni; his son, Dr. M(ouni) William Audeh and daughter-in-law Carolina of Los Angeles, and grandson, Brandon William Audeh of Santa Monica, Calif. Dr. Audeh is also survived by his brother, Dr. Costandi Audeh and his wife Margaret, of Phoenix, Ariz.
Dr. Audeh was preceded in death by his beloved sisters, Alice, Aida and Hilda; and by his parents, Dr. Amin and Olga Audeh, with whom he will be laid to rest in the St. George Orthodox Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to the Palestinian Children's Relief Fund (www.pcrf.net), a medical charity providing medical care to Palestinian children.
Online condolences may be left at www.cedarmemorial.com under obituaries.