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He wrote the book

Last night our Physiology professor told us that the author of our textbook passed away tragically. Our professor has a wonderful sense of humor, so when he said, "He was 83 years old. How did I find out? His mother called me." We all laughed and some of us thought he was pulling a fast one on us. But Dr. Arthur Guyton has indeed passed away.

From the Clarion Ledger, in Missippi:

World-renowned Miss. doctor killed in car crash

Dr. Arthur Guyton, one of UMC's founding fathers, wrote textbook

By Thyrie Bland
tbland@clarionledger.com

Dr. Arthur C. Guyton, a world-renowned physiologist and author of the most widely used textbook on physiology, was killed Thursday in a two-vehicle accident in Pocahontas, officials said.

Guyton's wife, Ruth, who was driving, was in critical condition Thursday night at the University of Mississippi Medical Center, where her husband was a founding father.

The Guytons' van collided with a car driven by Marjorie Guthrie, age unavailable, of Yazoo City, shortly before 4 p.m. on U.S. 49 North in Hinds County, said Warren Strain, a spokesman for the state Department of Public Safety. Guthrie's condition was unavailable.

Guyton, 83, of Jackson, leaves behind 10 children — all doctors — and a legacy of research.

The modest physician's hallmark discovery was proving that blood flow is regulated by the body's billions of capillaries and not by the heart, as long thought.

"It's just a loss of a giant of the 20th century," said Dr. Wallace Conerly, UMC's chief executive officer. "Still today, what most of us know about hypertension and congestive heart failure, that man did it."

An Oxford native, he worked most of his life as a teacher and researcher at UMC, where he was chair of the department of physiology and biophysics for 41 years. He authored the Textbook of Medical Physiology.

"I used his textbook to get through Tulane Medical School in 1956," Conerly said.

Guyton retired in 1989 at age 69 from UMC with a gala dubbed Arthur Guyton Day by the state and city.

"He still came to the office almost everyday," said Barbara Austin, a UMC spokeswoman. "He still taught classes."

Guyton, partially paralyzed from polio at age 27, designed a motorized wheelchair, special hoist and walking brace for which he later earned a Presidential Citation.

"My father came from a farm and gave us our goals," Guyton told The Clarion-Ledger in 1989. "My mother had been a teacher and a missionary in China where she taught physics and math, so we could always ask her the scientific questions."

Heralded with more than 50 national and international awards in medicine, Guyton always was quick to skip over his own accomplishments to compliment his wife and children. He married Ruth Weigle in 1943 after the two met during a bicycle ride.

The cause of the accident is under investigation, Strain said.

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