William M. Riedesel II, M.D.

Bill passed away peacefully while sleeping on April 25, 2012 after a ten year battle with medullary thyroid cancer.

He was a 1973 graduate of Cornell University Medical College, a diplomate in psychiatry and emeritus member of the clinical faculty of Washington University Medical School. During his career, he held additional qualifications in forensic, geriatric and addiction psychiatry. A modern renaissance man, his interests and hobbies ranged from music, gourmet food, history and art, to working with machine tools and radio equipment and electronics. He was a member of the University City Summer Band, the Florissant Valley Orchestra and the Rat and Mouse Club. An enthusiastic traveler, he set foot on all seven continents, six of them on travels with his wife. Friends of Bill often spoke of his “wit and wisdom” and sense of humor. He will be greatly missed by all.

He is survived by his wife, Catherine, his sister Elizabeth Katherine (Riedesel) Vasile and extended family.

In accordance with Bill’s wishes, his body has been given to the Washington University School of Medicine and there will be no formal memorial service.

Donations may be made to the Siteman Cancer Development Office for research regarding the treatment of thyroid cancer, the Sanford Weill Medical College of Cornell University, the Washington University School of Medicine, the Salvation Army, the Medical Missionaries of Mary for medical work in the third world, the Humane Society of Saint Louis or the Saint Louis Symphony.


  1. David Argent on April 27, 2012 at 4:45 am

    Thanks for everything Bill. Especially those lunches at Favazzas on the Hill and for sharing the twists and turns of our lives over the past 20 years. We had a unique bond through our life experiences and I am blessed to have been part of your life.
    Cheers for now,

  2. Marvin Metzener on April 27, 2012 at 6:28 am

    My very deepest condolences, I knew Bill only very slightly, as he was the sponser of my sponser, David Argent, I remember his very calming voice when he spoke, his very calm manner. May he rest in the peace he had about him. He was a gentleman’s gentleman, Thank you for sharing him with his very many friends.

  3. Richard Adams on April 27, 2012 at 8:58 am

    A wonderful friend has passed & while I’m releived he won’t be suffering with the awful disease of cancer anymore, I will forever miss him.

    For all the degrees behind his name & all the knowledge he possessed, I don’t believe I have ever met a more modest person, always respecting the other person, almost to being humble. Bill will forever occupy a high pedistal in my opinion. To have lost him at such a young age is difficult to accept as well.

  4. Kim Swart on April 27, 2012 at 1:51 pm

    RIP Dr. R. I will miss all of our conversations and solving the problems of mental health. You were not just a Dr. I worked with at SMMHC, but a man I called my friend. I know your battle has been hard but it is comforting to know that you are at peace. Thoughts and prayers to the family. He was a great man!!

  5. Cathy Bauer on April 27, 2012 at 5:43 pm

    A truly unique human. I will ever remember his quirky yet warm smile. There are many intelligent people, many compassionate people, many people with integrity and talent, but very few that embody all these gifts… Bill was one of those few people

  6. Rebekah Radmanesh on April 28, 2012 at 8:21 am

    He was an incredible psychiatrist and more amazing individual. I will miss him as he provided gudiance, perspective and an oft needed humor to me and other colleagues.

  7. Mary Ann Heinsz on April 28, 2012 at 2:51 pm

    Cathy, my deepest sympathy to you on the loss of your beloved Bill. I only met him a few times, but it was obvious that you two were a great match. What wonderful memories of him you will keep! Take care of yourself and do not hesitate to call or e-mail me at any time.

  8. Anne Hogan on April 29, 2012 at 9:20 pm

    Cathy, please accept my thoughts and prayers. I so enjoyed and loved you and Bill at the 8:00 AM on Sunday. His wit,humor, understanding and great intelligence is missed. Take good care of yourself and know that you are loved.

  9. Fritz Baker on April 30, 2012 at 11:53 am


    My thoughts and prayers are with you at this time. Bills committment to the program and his great sense of humor will continue to inspire me for the rest of my life. What a great example of the fact that a lifetime of vigilence is far from a lifetime of boredom or lack of pleasure. I have quoted Bill often in working with others who are afflicted and will miss him greatly at the early morning meetings. What a fine gentleman, we were all so lucky to know him. Best from 6 A.M. , Fritz B.

  10. Barry Hong on April 30, 2012 at 4:09 pm

    Dear Cathy
    I am saddened by your loss. I am one of Bill’s
    Department of Psychiatry friends. I have
    always enjoyed his friendship especially his
    wit and humor. He and I would often sit in
    the back of Clopton in the last row exchanging comments about Grand Rounds
    or about the “old days”. He was one of the
    old Renardians who had a healthly criticism of the field. He will be missed by many;
    family, friends and colleagues.
    Barry Hong

  11. Suzanne Schoomer on April 30, 2012 at 6:47 pm

    Knowing Bill only through his music, I will remember him with every French horn sound as we play in the University City Summer Band. His name and memory will remain a blessing.

  12. Lawrence A. Koessel on April 30, 2012 at 9:36 pm

    What can I possibly add that has already been said. You were my sponsor, buddy, mentor, confidant, advisor, brother figure, guide, FRIEND for the last 20 years. We both had the same demented twisted sense of humor. Loved our lunches at Sports Page. Will always remember your brillance on ANY subject.
    Shine On You Crazy Diamond!

  13. Martha Degonia on April 30, 2012 at 10:00 pm

    So sorry for your loss. Doc will be missed at SMMHC. I will miss our talks and our hugs. He was a terriffic man and a blast to work with. I am glad he is not suffering any longer.

  14. David Beardsley on May 1, 2012 at 12:07 am

    Cathy, I remember Bill from the many times he helped out the Florissant Valley Symphony Orchestra many times with his very able horn playing. Unfortunately, I did not know him well enough to know that he had cancer. I was surprised and saddened to know that I would not be seeing and hearing him again; his musical talents will be missed. Dave Beardsley, oboe player and president of the Friends of the Florissant Symphony Orchestra.

  15. George Dean on May 1, 2012 at 12:29 pm

    Bill, you were such an intelligent, unassuming individual. I will miss you.
    And I’ll miss the wonderful, relaxing conservations after dinner with you and Cathy. I am thankful to God for having known you. And God bless you, Cathy.

  16. Amy Doll on May 1, 2012 at 3:01 pm

    It is with such sadness and joy to write this regarding Bill. I met him 26 years ago. A guy named Joe Golden introduced us and we became good friends… The past two years I have not been with him much but he has aways been in my prayers. I remember when I met Cathy and I told Bill how smart she was and he might enjoy going out with her. I never realized what a romantic he was. Cathy seem to bring out the best in him.. Thank you Cathy for giving him some of the best years he had. I wish I could have been there more for you.. Bill always told me it didn’t matter how many tragedies, or failed relationships you had, What really matters is what did you learn. I will remember him for ever… Goodbye Bill. I love you very much. Amy Doll

  17. Kelly LaBruyere on May 2, 2012 at 1:19 pm

    Cling to the memories and let them heal. The love and laughter, the joy in the togetherness shared…will make us strong. May we come to realize that our time together, no matter how long, was meant to be, and that we were blessed to have such a precious gift.
    Praying for God’s comfort, Kelly, SMMHC

  18. Peter and Kathy (Riedesel) Vasile on May 3, 2012 at 12:45 pm

    Reading the very loving and respectful words from Bill’s many friends enables me to get a fuller perspective of my brother and how he effected those around him. Thank you. Bill can now boogie down with Lloyd.

  19. Cynthia Wainwright on May 3, 2012 at 11:53 pm

    My condolances to Kathy. This has been a tough couple month. Wish I Had gotten to know my cousins better but our lives never seemed to cross. May Bill rest in peace…

  20. Emilie Rainey Kanon on May 4, 2012 at 7:18 pm

    So saddened to hear of my cousin Bill’s death. My thoughts and prayers to his wife and sister. Wish I’d known you better, Bill! I bet you were a lot of fun!

  21. Jane McFarland on May 12, 2012 at 7:47 am

    Cousin Bill was such a common person.
    I was amazed at his compassion for others. His spongelike mind was a joy to behold. No conversation was ever boring. Family history was very important to Blll it seems. He and Cathy were so good to his Aunt Ruthie and Uncle Harry. I treasured his support. Cathy, There are doors open in Colorado for you!

  22. Joan Grumbach on May 15, 2012 at 12:12 pm

    Dear Cathy,
    My thoughts and prayers continue to be with you, as you mourn the loss of dear Bill. It was good to talk with you last week and I shall keep in touch.
    With my deep sympathy,
    Sr. Joan Grumbach
    PS It was very thoughtful and generous of you to include donations to MMM for our medical work in Bill’s obituary. Thanks for visiting us in Tanzania.

  23. Melissa F. on December 10, 2019 at 11:31 am

    I knew doc from the other side of the counter! He really listened to my side when it seemed as if noone else was interested! His unconditional love to learn from others as well as from books and experiences ( some he’s shared with me in my darkest of hours) are traits that I look up to! Thank you, to his family and friends which molded him into who the beautiful soul he is, forget and always! <3 My Deepest Condolences to Everyone Who Has
    Ever Come to Have Known Him.

  24. Melissa F on December 10, 2019 at 11:33 am

    Forever* and always

  25. Melissa F on December 10, 2019 at 11:35 am

    Forever* and always. Excuse my public typo ” eeeik! ”
    *Enter mouse emoji here*
    ( For you ,Doc!)

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