Longtime paramedic, EMS educator, and attorney William E. “Gene” Gandy, JD, LP, died on February 5 at his home in Arizona, three weeks after entering hospice care.
A popular but humble figure still active in EMS education in his 80s, Gandy was a longtime friend of EMS World, serving on its editorial advisory board for more than a decade and reviewing article submissions and EMS World Expo proposals until shortly before his death. “He did three times the number of Expo reviews of anyone else,” says EMS World Senior Editorial and Program Director Hilary Gates, MAEd, NRP. “He just kept asking, ‘How can I help?’”
Born in the small northeast Texas town of Honey Grove, Gandy returned home after college in 1975 to practice law. Instead, when the local funeral director stopped running calls, he ended up founding the Honey Grove Volunteer Ambulance Service. Initially trained in first aid, he gained EMT certification when it became available and started teaching in an EMT program at Texas’ Paris Junior College.
“You have to know the information backwards and forwards, in much greater depth than you thought you’d ever need as an EMS provider,” Gandy said of teaching in a 2017 interview with EMS1. “That means you have to do an awful lot of supplemental reading.”
Gandy became Honey Grove’s only paramedic in 1981 and was active in furthering the profession, serving on a state EMS committee and helping develop regulations and exams. Eight years later he moved from volunteer to full-time, abandoning law and founding the paramedic program at Tyler Junior College. He stayed there until his retirement in 2004.
It wasn’t much of a “retirement”—Gandy then spent three more years with Texas’ Shackelford County EMS, then taught two more years at Cochise College in Arizona. Later he worked for PERCOM, a provider of online EMS education.
In mid January Gandy told friends he and his radiologist had agreed further treatment would be futile.
“He was a dear friend, a colleague, and a collaborator on many lectures and articles,” wrote popular EMS blogger Kelly Grayson on Facebook. “He said good-bye to most of his friends weeks ago, and I was dreading this day. He would not want us to mourn his passing, certainly not to pray for his soul, or to hope ‘he is in a better place’… Instead he’d want us to be kinder to each other, to rededicate ourselves to being stewards of our profession, and to strive towards the scholarship, professionalism, and compassion he thought every EMT should embody.”
Per Gandy’s family, no funeral or memorial service is planned.