Roy Rachford Kracke

1897-1950
Physician, Medical Educator

Print Version

Roy Rachford Kracke, Sr., was born December 5, 1897 in Hartselle, Alabama. He attended public schools of Guntersville and studied 1913-1914 at Alabama Polytechnic Institute. He suspended studies to earn money for further education by working in a Guntersville pharmacy.

He enlisted in the Navy in 1917. He served as chief technician of the US Naval Base Hospital in Brest, France.

In 1920, hen entered the University of Alabama. After gaining a BS degree in 1924, he enrolled at Rush Medical College in Chicago in 1926. he interned at the US Naval Hospital in Brooklyn, New York, and received the MD degree in 1928.

Before entering medical school, he had been appointed instructor at the Emory University School of Medicine in 1925. He returned there to serve as professor of pathology, bacteriology and laboratory services until 1944. His book, Diseases of the Blood and Atlas of Hematology was translated into 14 languages and became a standard medical textbook. He wrote other books and numerous articles in the fields of pathology and hematology. He was one of the founders of the American Society of Clinical Pathologists and administered the first board examination for certification of pathologists.

Early in the movement to establish a four-year medical college in Alabama, Roy Kracke was appointed its dean and professor of clinical medicine August 1, 1944. One of his early actions was to assume ownership of the Jefferson and Hillman Hospitals in Birmingham for the school's base of operation. He acquired nearby land for the expansion into a full-scale medical center. He recruited the first faculty and relocated the equipment of the former two-year medical school from Tuscaloosa to Birmingham.

In June 1945, the Medical College of Alabama began classes in Birmingham. He paved the way for establishment in 1948 of the University of Alabama School of Dentistry, with Joseph F. Volker as founding dean.

Before his death in 1950, Roy Kracke had envisioned the medical school as more than an educational center, actually a progressive social force in Birmingham and all Alabama.

In 1925, Dr. Kracke married Virginia Carolyn Minter and they had six children. He was a Rotarian and a member of Independent Presbyterian Church.

Dr. Roy Rachford Kracke was inducted into the Alabama Men's Hall of Fame in 1996.