Dr. Vincent Edward Friedewald Jr. passed away at his home on the evening of November 4, 2021 following a brief battle with aggressive cancer.
An only child, he was born in St. Louis, Missouri to his parents Eleanor and Vincent Sr. on July 26, 1941. He grew up in the small west Texas town of Big Spring, graduating from Big Spring High School in 1959.
Dr. Friedewald received his his BS from Notre Dame in 1963, his MD from Southwestern Medical School in 1966, and was Chief Resident for Dr. Michael DeBakey at Baylor College of Medicine and Methodist Hospital in 1969.
Dr. Friedewald lived an extraordinary professional career as a practicing physician, medical opinion leader, clinical researcher, entrepreneur, writer, and teacher. His work has saved and improved countless lives, both from his direct clinical care as well as his contributions to medical research, communications, and technology.
His achievements are too many to list, but include authorship of more than 80 peer reviewed articles, and sole authorship of ten medical books, including the seminal authority on echocardiography, The Textbook of Echocardiography. The benefits from his pioneering work in the fields of diagnostic ultrasound, fetal heart development, and echocardiography, in particular, will continue long after his passing.
For many years, Dr. Friedewald enjoyed entrepreneurial success through a medical communications company, bringing together the world’s top medical doctors to join televised round table discussions about emerging topics in healthcare. He also built one of the most comprehensive differential diagnoses databases ever compiled, a project started by his father, and which served as the basis for his most recent books, The Clinical Guide to Cardiovascular Disease and The Clinical Guide to Bioweapons and Chemical Agents.
Even at the age of 80 years old, Dr. Friedewald was pursuing new projects and opportunities. He was the Primary Investigator leading research for regenerative medicine, visiting with COVID patients via telemedicine and exploring new methods of exosome therapy mere weeks before his passing.
Over the course of several decades he enjoyed multiple academic appointments, including professorships at the University of Texas Health Sciences Center; Indiana University School of Medicine; Baylor College of Medicine; and The University of Hawaii.
But he enjoyed teaching at his alma mater (Notre Dame, BS, 1963) the most. He taught in Notre Dame’s College of Science as well as the College of Arts and Letters, and was annually rated among the University’s most popular professors by students for his entertaining lectures and personable teaching style. He was especially proud to have established the Friedewald Memorial Scholarship in honor of his parents, which to date has helped multiple Notre Dame pre-professional students achieve their education.
For all his professional accolades, Dr. Friedewald’s proudest achievements were his roles as a devoted husband and a wise, supporting father, grandfather, and great grandfather. He inspired his family through his steadiness, patience, and discipline. He was a soft spoken, humble gentleman and a God fearing Christian, committed to his Catholic faith, reading daily devotionals and attending Mass each Sunday.
Everyone who knew Dr. Friedewald appreciated his West Texas friendliness. The same compassionate, approachable, and empathetic bedside manner that made him so beloved by his patients likewise was experienced by the strangers he’d meet on everyday errands.
In his younger years, Dr. Friedewald enjoyed sailing, tennis, and traveling with his family. More recently, he spent most of his time on his many work projects—he loved being a physician—but spare time would go to reading, watching sports, and relaxing with his rescue cat, Liona, whom he adored and was in his arms when he passed.
Dr. Friedewald’s curiosity and love of learning was truly unceasing, as he was always finishing one book to begin the next on his favorite topics about history, religion, science, and world affairs. He loved to write, and his expertise as a physician were rivaled by his natural ability to communicate masterfully with the written word. Before all else, Dr. Friedewald was a writer.
Dr. Friedewald is survived by his loving wife of 50 years, Julie; son Vincent III of Dripping Springs; daughter Natalie Nieto, her husband Rich and granddaughter Nakeli of The Woodlands; grandson Jacob and his wife Sarah and great grandson Dayton, of Conroe; and his brother in law John Humber of Houston, Texas. He was preceded in death by his parents, whom he never stopped mourning, but with whom he is now rejoicingly reunited with in eternity.
Private services for immediate family will be held at a future date.