Dr. William Kenneth Poole

April 8, 2013 

Dr. William Kenneth Poole, 73, passed away on April 6, 2013 at his home in Rougemont, North Carolina. He was surrounded by his wife, children and sister-in-law. Ken was born in April 1939 in Clarksville, TN and would have been 74 years old. Ken is preceded in death by his parents, the late James William and Lucille Atkins Poole. His sister, Leone Poole Wade and brother, Michael A. Poole, also precede Ken in death. He is survived by his wife, Sue Poole of the home; brother Dennis Ray (Paulette) Poole of Pleasant View, TN; sister, Shelby Jean Inman of Fayetteville, NC; his 3 children, Victor Kenneth (Grace) Poole of Raleigh, NC; Melissa Poole Rhodes of High Point, NC; Carlton Adkins (Laramie) Poole of Charlotte, NC; four grandchildren, Trevor Oren Rhodes of Boone, NC; Ashlyn Grace Rhodes of High Point, NC; W. Kenneth Poole II (Kenny) and Luke Edward Poole both of Raleigh, NC; and many nieces and nephews.

Ken graduated with the Clarksville High School class of 1957 and received a full four-year scholarship to attend Austin Peay State College (now APS University), graduating in the Class of 1960 where he received the William Drane Award, which is the highest academic award given to senior classmen. He attended Vanderbilt University and Stanford University for a one-year study of Biostatistics and then moved to Chapel Hill, NC in 1962 where he received a full stipend from the National Institute of Health (NIH) to attend the University Of North Carolina School Of Public Health. He received a Masters of Public Health in Biostatistics (MPH) followed by a PhD in Mathematical Statistics in 1967 at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Ken joined the Research Triangle Institute, Research Triangle, North Carolina, (established 1958) where he served as Senior Statistician, Chief Scientist and Center Division Vice President. Between 1983 and 1994 he supervised over 125 staff members working on studies such as clinical trials, community interventions, epidemiological support and methodology environmental exposure and health, and development and maintenance of SUDAAN--a software product designed and developed by RTI statisticians for analyzing clustered data arising in many applications. He made significant contributions towards RTI’s reputation as a nationally recognized organization in two areas of public health—epidemiological studies and multisite clinical trials. Early in his RTI career between 1973 and 1976, Ken was invited by the Nutrition Department of UNC’s School of Public Health, Duke University Medical School’s Prostate Cancer Group, and Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia to direct the Data Coordinating Centers (DCC) for the multisite clinical and epidemiological studies. In each case, RTI’s invitation was at least partly based on his personal reputation with the researchers initiating the studies.

Of the 22 DCC projects supported by NIH at RTI since 1974, Ken was directly involved in 14 of those projects, serving as the Principal Investigator (PI) on 10 DCCs, as co-PI on one other DCC and as senior statistician on three other DCCs. He was also the mentor and statistical advisor to nearly all of the statisticians and a number of the protocol and project managers currently contributing to the DCC projects at RTI.

Ken was a Fellow of the American Statistical Association. His collaborative work with a large number of researchers in leading US institutions has resulted in around 100 publications in leading scientific journals (e.g., Pediatrics, American Sociological Review, Journal of the American Statistical Association, American Journal of Epidemiology, AIDS, American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, New England Journal of Medicine, American Journal of Public health). These collaborations and publications enhanced RTI’s stature as a scientific organization with the reputation as a leading scientific institution in the US. As an additional benefit of the above collaborative activities, he formed relationships with a large number of prominent researchers, giving RTI access to collaborators as RTI bid for future health related work.

Ken was the instigator and manager of the initial Coordinating Center activities at RTI and he also helped direct their epidemiological studies program as it developed at RTI. His work and publications enhanced the stature of the now RTI International through the years. Many staff members considered him not only an excellent manager and statistician, but also their mentor and a close friend.

In his personal time, Ken loved spending time at the beach and in the garden with his wife, Sue. He has always loved fishing, as well as other hobbies such as woodworking, gardening and cooking. He was also very active for many years in the RTI Bowling League as well as the Saturday Morning Youth League at Fairlanes. Bowling was a pastime he loved and passed on to all his children. His family and numerous colleagues and friends throughout the country will miss Ken.

Funeral services will be held Wednesday at 2:00 PM in the Howerton & Bryan Funeral Chapel, Rev. Johnny Hewett officiating. Burial will be in Maplewood Cemetery.

Flowers are acceptable or memorials may be made to your favorite SPCA in memory of Ken.

The family will receive friends at the Howerton & Bryan Funeral Home , 1005 W. Main Street, Durham, North Carolina 27701, phone 919-682-5464 Tuesday from 7 to 9 PM.

Online condolences may be submitted to http://www.how ertonbryan.com/ .

News & Observer is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service