UTHealth honors the life of William Raye Clitheroe, DDS
Published: June 16, 2014 by Bryant Boutwell, DrPH
William Raye Clitheroe, DDS, an alumnus of The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) School of Dentistry and former member of the UTHealth Development Board lost his battle to cancer on June 4 with his family by his side.
To his many friends he was simply “Billy Raye”, a community-involved dentist who always had time for others. A native of Beaumont, he graduated from Pasadena High School in 1950 and the UTHealth School of Dentistry—then the "Dental Branch"—in 1957. Following graduation he served two years in the U.S. Army as a first Lieutenant in the Dental Corps before returning to Houston to launch his dental career—a career that was only slowed by illness in the past year.
Ask those who knew him and you’ll learn he was much more than just an outstanding cosmetic dentist. Clitheroe built a stellar legacy of service to his profession, to students and to UTHealth over the decades. He was a fellow in both the American and International College of Dentists and held leadership positions at every level of organized dentistry during his career, including the vice presidency of the Texas Dental Association (1977-78). From 1988-1994 he served the UTHealth Development Board, always ready to share his ideas and give of his time.
Says John A. Valenza, DDS, dean of the School of Dentistry, “The many contributions of our alums like Bill Clitheroe are what make our School of Dentistry what it is today. Bill’s efforts supporting the creation of our Alumni Association’s endowment, the Founder’s Fund, is one example of his support and commitment to UTHealth that will not be forgotten.”
Clitheroe is survived by his wife, of 57 years, Sara McConnico Clitheroe, two sons (Lee and Scott), a daughter (Carie), six grandchildren, and a long list of nieces, nephews, and cousins. He is also survived by his sister, Doris, who lives with her husband in Greenville, Texas.
Of special note, all three of his children hold doctoral degrees from UTHealth. His oldest son, Lee, earned his DDS degree in 1985; his daughter Carie earned her DDS degree in 1988; and younger son, Scott, earned his MD degree in 1992.