We've lost a Slicer founder

For those that don’t know, Bill was behind many of the core technologies, not just in Slicer, but in VTK, ITK, and medical imaging software technologies in general. He did open source when it meant giving someone a copy of your punch cards, but he always kept up with the latest developments and wasn’t afraid of doing anything it took to make the software better. More importantly he encouraged multiple generations of us to enjoy programming together. Please take a moment to remember Bill.


I felt honored to work with Bill on 3D Slicer and other related projects. Being very smart, open to new ideas, and always kind and approachable, he served as a role model of a successful and happy research engineer.


I remember meeting Bill and Harvey Cline at a GE/Sun Users Group meeting, around when I met Ron, back in 1988 or so. It was his kindness and enthusiasm that encouraged me, a young and green MIT master’s student, to become part of a very small group of medical imaging researchers and GE people that eventually would evolve into the Kitware/VTK/Slicer community.

He was always – always – willing to engage with everyone including the least experienced person in the room, showing deep and sincere interest in their work and making them feel important and valued. Through his easy but larger-than-life personality he set the tone for the welcoming community we hope we continue to offer the world. His polygonally-immortalized face epitomized the word “welcome”. He was no-nonsense guy, an inquisitive researcher, a prolific programmer, a great builder of things that mattered and made a difference.

I’ll always be grateful that he took the time to bring me along.

For some reason in my mind tonight I hear echoes of Ferenc Jolesz saying to me and Ron, “Talk to Beel !”. Besides being choked up about it, I just feel I am lucky to be witness to the amazing things the happen when the paths of good and great people cross, even if only for a little while.


I’m very sorry to hear about Bill. Thank you for all of his efforts with slicer.


Richard Doerer
Director of Technology