George Luibel, DO, one of the founders of the Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine, died Sunday, June 8, 2003, at the Trinity Terrace retirement home in Fort Worth. He was 90 years old.
A 1936 graduate of the Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine, Dr. Luibel interned at Sparks Clinic and Hospital in Dallas before opening his practice in Ennis, Texas. In 1946, he relocated to Fort Worth as one of the founding physicians of the new Osteopathic Medical Center of Texas. He retired in 1997 after some 60 years as a family medicine physician.
In 1970, Dr. Luibel, Carl Everett, DO, and D.D. Beyer, DO, founded the Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine in Fort Worth. Today, the medical school is the cornerstone of the University of North Texas Health Science Center and the only osteopathic school in Texas. TCOM is ranked among the top 20 medical schools in primary care by U.S. News & World Report. UNTHSC has nearly 1,000 students enrolled in its three graduate professional schools – TCOM, the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, and the School of Public Health.
"George can be credited with conceptualizing the establishment of an osteopathic medical college in Texas," said TCOM co-founder Dr. Everett, during a 1997 dinner and roast honoring Dr. Luibel. "He worked hard, performed hard, and is responsible for TCOM's success."
Dr. Luibel was often selected for leadership positions by medical institutions and professional groups. Among them, he chaired the TCOM board during the formative years of the medical school as a private institution. He also chaired the board of the Osteopathic Medical Center of Texas and served as chief of staff for the hospital. He also was the first osteopathic physician to serve on the Board of Managers of John Peter Smith Hospital, helping guide its growth and development into the Tarrant County Hospital District.
Dr. Luibel served as president of the American Osteopathic Association, the American Academy of Osteopathy, and the Texas Osteopathic Medical Association.
Among Dr. Luibel's many honors, TCOM presented him with its highest honor, the Founders' Medal, in 1978. He was named Educator of the Year by the National Osteopathic Foundation in 1988. In 1996, TOMA honored him with its highest award, the Distinguished Service Award, in recognition of his service to the osteopathic profession in Texas.
Dr. Luibel was also active in the Fort Worth community. He was a member of St. Mary's Catholic Church, where he regularly served as a lector and Eucharist minister during Mass. In 1978, Dr. Luibel was designated a Knight of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulcher by Pope John Paul II.
He was preceded in death by his wife of 57 years, Mary, who died in March 2002. Survivors are his brother Dr. Joseph Luibel and wife Dorothy, and nieces and nephews.
Should friends desire, memorials may be sent to TCOM Foundation, 3500 Camp Bowie Blvd., Fort Worth TX 76107, or The Osteopathic Health Foundation, Box 9880, Fort Worth TX 76147.
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