Dr. William Dempsey Seybold was born in Temple, Texas on February 23, 1915, the oldest son of Claude Dempsey and Lillian Cochrane Seybold. He attended high school in Temple and received his B.S. in medicine from the University of Texas at Austin in 1936.
In 1938, he received his M.D. from the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston and stayed on as an instructor of anatomy until 1940. While an instructor, Dr. Seybold made a discovery that had previously gone unnoticed in the study of gross anatomy. He noted small ligaments that hold the spinal cord in place and published his first paper on the subject in 1940 in Anatomical Record entitled, "A note on the occurrence of transverse fibrous bands in the spinal dural sac of man." Dr. Seybold left his teaching appointment at the UT Medical Branch to do his internship at Barnes Hospital in St. Louis, Missouri, which he completed in 1941.
On May 3, 1941, Dr. Seybold married Frances Randolph Rather of Austin, and together they moved to Rochester, Minnesota, where he began his residency in surgery at the Mayo Clinic. Their first son, William Rather Seybold was born in Rochester in April, 1942. Between 1944 and 1946 he served as Lt. JG. with the United States Naval Reserve Medical Corps. During that time their second son, Randolph Cochrane Seybold, was born in December, 1944. The Seybold family returned to Rochester where Dr. Seybold completed his training in both general and thoracic surgery in 1947. He was appointed to the Mayo Clinic staff in 1948.
While at the Mayo Clinic, Dr. Seybold dedicated much of his time to the surgical treatment of tuberculosis and became a close friend and colleague of Dr. O. T. "Jim" Clagett, with whom he published several articles, including "Resection in pulmonary tuberculosis" and "The use of gelatin foam in thoracopiasties." Dr. Seybold also served as a visiting thoracic surgeon at the Nopeming Sanatorium near Duluth, Minnesota, a sanatorium regularly staffed with Mayo physicians.
The Seybold's third child, a daughter, Frances Rather Seybold, was born in Rochester in October, 1949.
Dr. Seybold resigned from the Mayo Clinic on October 1, 1950, to return to his native Texas, where he joined the practice of another Mayo alumnus, Dr. Mavis P. Kelsey. A third Mayo-trained physician, Dr. William V. Leary, also became a partner. Two years later, however, Dr. Seybold withdrew from the partnership and established himself in an office in the Hermann Professional Building. In the summer of 1954, Dr. John W. Overstreet joined Dr. Seybold, forming a partnership that lasted until 1961, when Dr. Seybold rejoined what was then called the Kelsey-Leary Clinic. Dr. Seybold remained a partner in the subsequent Kelsey-Seybold Clinic, became Chief of the Surgery Section and later Chief of Staff, Chairman of the Professional Committee, and member of the Executive Committee.
Dr. Seybold also was the Chief of Surgery of St. Luke's Episcopal Hospital (a position he held from 1956), and Chief of Staff of St. Luke's from 1967-1970. He was on the active staff of both Methodist and Hermann Hospitals as well.
The teaching appointments he held were as Clinical Professor of Surgery with Baylor College of Medicine; Clinical Associate in the Program of Surgery, University of Texas Medical School in Houston; and Consultant in Surgery, University of Texas M.D. Anderson Hospital and Tumor Institute, among others.
In addition to his administrative and teaching responsibilities, Dr. Seybold was an active member in many professional associations and organizations, including: Alpha Omega Alpha, AMA, Fellowship in the American College of Surgeons (member of the Board of Governors), Fellowship in the American College of Chest Physicians, American Association for Thoracic Surgery, Mayo Alumni Association (liaison for Mayo with Baylor College of Medicine and Ad Hoc Committee member), Western Surgical Society (member of programs committee), Texas Medical Association (Chairman of the Section on Surgery, Chairman of the Nursing and Patient Services Committees), Texas Surgical Society (president in 1971), Harris County Medical Society, Houston Surgical Society and Sigma XI. He was a member of the Advisory Board and the Credentials Committee of the American Association of Medical Clinics, member of the Board of Trustees of the Kelsey-teary Foundation, member of the Chancellor's Council of the University of Texas System and member of the Advisory Board to the President of the University of Texas Medical Branch. He received a citation of merit from the UT Medical Branch in 1970.
Dr. Seybold participated in several civic organizations, devoting much of his time to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Houston Area Chapter where he held positions as chairman of the chapter, secretary, board member, and on numerous committees. He served as Vice President of the Southwestern Region and on several committees at the national level as well. He had worked diligently for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society since 1959 and received a citation of merit from the Society in 1969.
He served as President and Board member of the Texas Division of the American Cancer Society, and was on the Board of Directors and Executive Committee of the Harris County Unit for many years. He received a citation of merit from the American Cancer Society in 1961. Dr. Seybold was also an active member of the Friends of the Texas Medical Center Library, Friends of the Houston Public Library and the Texas State Historical Association, and served as a member of the Vestry of St. John the Divine Episcopal Church in Houston.
To his credentials are added the publication of 52 medical papers, innumerable presentations and lectures, and 5 books on which he collaborated.
Dr. and Mrs. Seybold's daughter died of bacterial endocarditis in November, 1968 at the age of 19. His wife, Frances, died in January, 1977 after living with multiple sclerosis for many years. Their two sons both became physicians. Dr. Seybold died July 8, 2004, and willed his body to the University of Texas Southwest Medical Center in Dallas.