William Lee Hart

April 21, 1930December 26, 2018

William Lee Hart, M.D. died on December 26, 2018 in Solimar Beach, California. Dr. Hart was born April 21, 1930 in Oxnard, California of parents Ivy and M.G. Hart. He was one of three brothers, all of whom obtained their doctorates. Dr. Hart’s family moved to Santa Barbara when he was 2 years old and grew up there, attended the University of California at Berkeley and graduated from the University of California at Santa Barbara. He married his high school sweetheart, Louise M. Thorpe, of Santa Barbara, August 25, 1951. He received a four-year academic scholarship to New York Medical College in New York City, where Louise worked to support the needs of the young couple not covered by the scholarship. After a year’s internship at Long Beach Memorial Hospital (then called Seaside Memorial), Dr. Hart was drafted into the U.S. Air Force, where he served two years in Fairbanks, Alaska. It was in Fairbanks that their only child, Karen Louise Hart, was born. Dr. Hart completed his residency in Internal Medicine at the UCLA Medical Center where he served as Chief Resident in Cardiology graduating in 1962 after writing his doctoral thesis on the embryonic field of Electrophysiology of the Heart. He entered practice in Ventura with Dr. Charles R. Stephenson, Paul Fillmore and David Fainer as the first Board trained and certified cardiologist in Ventura County and the first invasive, procedural cardiologist in the Tri-Counties (Ventura, Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo Counties). He instituted the first CCU/ICU at Community Memorial Hospital, where he served as Director, and also at Ventura County Medical Center (then known as Ventura County General Hospital) and the first Cardiac Catheterization Lab in Ventura County at Community Memorial Hospital. In 1971, Dr. Hart spearheaded the institution of the open-heart surgery program at Community Memorial Hospital where he spent his entire practice. His medical group eventually became the Ventura Cardiology Consultants and grew to be the leading cardiology service in Ventura. He brought to Ventura cardiologists Thomas Kong, M.D., Siegfried Storz, M.D., Dennis Brooks, M.D., Daniel Clark, M.D. and Douglas Wilkinson, M.D. Later joining Ventura Cardiology Consultants were Newton Friedman, M.D., Thomas Kong, Jr., M.D. Nolan Mayer, M.D., Craig Mansour, M.D., Alejandro Garcia-Revilla, M.D, and John H. Pang, M.D. Dr. Hart was an Attending Physician and taught as Associate Clinical Professor of Medicine (Cardiology) at UCLA Medical Center for 23 years, where he founded California’s first pacemaker clinic in 1969. He assumed emeritus status on the UCLA Medical Faculty upon retirement. He also taught at the Ventura County Medical Center for many years where he instituted the Cardiology Clinic for adults as well as children. He arranged for pediatric cardiologists from UCLA to attend monthly for congenital heart cases. Dr. Hart taught his Critical Care Courses to most of the Critical Care nurses in Ventura County, imparting the skills and knowledge to care for their critically ill patients. He was Director of the CCU at Community Memorial Hospital from its inception in 1963 until 1985. He instituted the Physiology Laboratory at Community Memorial Hospital, Cardiac Rehabilitation, performed the first electocardioversion and the first pulmonary angiogram and many other innovations to further enhance quality of patient’s care. The Ventura County Star-Free Press labeled him the “Father of Cardiology” in Ventura County. Dr. Hart was Board Certified in Internal Medicine in addition to Cardiovascular Diseases. He was a founding member of the Board of Directors of the American College of Cardiology, California Chapter (the largest in the country), a Fellow of the American College of Cardiology, a Fellow of the American College of Physicians, a Fellow of the American College of Chest Physicians and Fellow of the American Heart Association and past Board of Governors of the California Heart Association.

Dr. Hart was always a strong believer in the importance of civic duty. After his retirement, he served as a member of the Board of Trustees of the Community Memorial Hospital since 1992, a member of the Board of Directors of the Ventura County Community Foundation for twelve years, the Board of Directors of Interface, and a founding member of the Board of Governors of the Tower Club in addition to his teaching responsibilities at UCLA. He was one of five men who purchased the very special and unique Solimar Beach Colony property from the Wood Estate (Taylor Ranch) in 1973 and returned the lots to each lessee at exact cost, not wanting to profit by neighbors. He authored two books. The first was on the history of Solimar Beach, entitled “Solimar, the Beach Colony named Sun and Sea.” The history included the entire Rincon, the stretch of California Coastline from Ventura to the Santa Barbara County line, about which nothing much had ever been written. His second book was “The Hospital of Choice, Community Memorial Hospital: A History.” He was a senior clinical investigator for many pharmaceutical companies, including Pfizer, 3-M, Merck, Riker, Wyeth/Ayerst and Lederle, producing primarily cardiology medications and published in most of the prominent cardiology journals of the day.

His loving wife Louise predeceased him after almost 58 years of a wonderful marriage. Their daughter, Karen Louise Haight, also predeceased in 1997 of bone cancer. Dr. Hart is survived by granddaughter Kirsten Haight Ziober of Altadena, CA; son-in-law Daniel D. Haight of Altadena; nephews David Hart of Cypress, CA; Doug Hart of San Francisco, CA; James Hart of San Gabriel, CA; and Michael Thorpe of Spokane, WA; nieces Catherine Hart Sowder of Los Angeles, CA; Diane Small of Long Beach, CA; Sandra Rozman of Altadena, CA; Heidi Meinholz of San Dimas, CA; Cindy Reynoso of Upland, CA; Pamela Rankin of Monrovia, CA; and Debbie Bodzar of Duarte, CA. Also predeceased by parents M.G. and Ivy Hart, two brothers, Jack C. Hart, Ph.D. and Robert N. Hart, Ph.D.

Dr. Hart had great pride and respect for his profession of medicine. He retired from practice in 1992 and expressed how much he missed his patients and colleagues.

In lieu of flowers, as an expression of remembrance, please consider a donation to the Community Memorial Hospital Foundation supporting our premier local not-for-profit community asset. Dr. Hart has been entrusted to Charles Carroll Funeral Home for cremation. At Dr. Hart’s request, no service will be held.


William Lee Hart

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Trish & Tom Turner

December 28, 2018

Dr. Hart was a kind man who loved his profession and his patients I had the pleasure of knowing Bill and Louise. May they and their lovely daughter Rest In Peace.