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OPINION | WALLY HALL: Doctor remembered outside medical field

by Wally Hall | November 8, 2022 at 4:05 a.m.

In his first softball game in Little Rock, the not-so-brilliant manager put Terry Yamauchi in left-center field.

It was the perfect place for him because in the second inning, the center fielder and shortstop collided at full speed, causing one to need 24 stitches and the other to have a broken jaw.

Dr. Terry Yamauchi quickly and skillfully stooped the bleeding and stabilized the other.

Days later, the not-so-brilliant manager (yours truly) found out Terry had not only played third base for four years in college, but he helped Portland State to the College World Series in 1962.

He immediately became our third baseman and the only player on the team ever named All-City.

Once in an exhibition game against a national traveling team, Terry made such a great catch that two weeks later while speaking at a medical conference in Las Vegas, he was approached on the street by three members of that team and asked if he was the guy who made the catch against them.

He was passionate about life, his family, friends and all sports, especially baseball (Los Angeles Dodgers fan) and trout fishing.

Terry was nationally respected as an expert in the field of infectious diseases, and in 1975 he was recruited from UCLA School of Medicine to Arkansas Children's Hospital, becoming only the eighth member of the staff.

He was an internationally renowned speaker who was humble and always had a sense of wit and humor.

His parents were from Japan, and he spent two years in an American school there. He loved to tell the story about being in Tokyo lecturing and people would approach him and start talking in Japanese. He would laugh and say, "I don't speak a word of Japanese but I'm pretty good at English.'

Terry was on too many medical boards to name them all and served as an advisor to numerous organizations.

Then-President Bill Clinton tried to hire him away to be director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and work alongside Dr. Anthony Fauci. By then, Terry and his wife Alison and their two children, Jill and Geoffrey, had fallen in love with Little Rock.

Terry never missed a chance to brag on his family, and if there wasn't a chance, he'd make one.

When he hung up his softball cleats, he continued to manage a team he founded called the Buschwackers. For five years, they went undefeated in Little Rock league play.

For too many years to count, Terry volunteered to give physicals to teams all over the area for free.

He always had a heart for the community.

On this day 40 years ago, he showed up at the old Doctors Hospital to check out my new baby girl. It wasn't that he didn't trust the doctors. He wanted to do it for me.

It caused a stir that day that the infamous Dr. Yamauchi was in another hospital which immediately allowed him privileges.

In the 47 years of calling him a friend, he never mentioned that he had been inducted into the Sports Hall of Fame at Portland State.

He was also inducted into the Arkansas Softball Hall of Fame, named Mr. Softball of Arkansas and was awarded the Arkansas Softball Hall of Fame's Lifetime Achievement Award.

For years, he was an avid runner.

The softball team he initially played with has a lunch every month, and he was one of the first to arrive and the last to leave.

Last Saturday, after a battle with colon cancer, Terry left this world surrounded by his family.

Terry Yamauchi will be remembered by legions as a brilliant doctor, a deeply loyal friend, a great American and family man who loved life and all it offered.

Print Headline: Doctor remembered outside medical field


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