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Willis Hadley Hoyt III

OSAGE BEACH, Mo. – Willis Hadley Hoyt III, D.O., FAOCOO “Hadley” passed away at his home February 12, 2024. He was born August 29, 1943, in Kirksville, Missouri, the son of Dr. W. Hadley Hoyt Jr., and Helen Carver Hoyt.

He was proceeded in death by his sister, Mary Junia McCoy.

Hadley is survived by his wife Anita (Gatlin) Hoyt; his son, Dr. Will Hoyt IV and his wife, Dr. Autumn Clark of Springfield, Missouri; his daughter, Tiffany Tinson and her husband, Jim, of Bronxville, New York; and five beautiful grandchildren, Cara, William and Max Tinson, and Monica Ann and Willis Hoyt V. Also his sister, Martha Emerson of Portland, Maine; brother-in-law, Ted Gatlin and wife Linda of Unionville, Missouri; sister-in-law, Georgann Chandler of Kirksville, Missouri, and nephews, Randy Clark, Chad (and Beth) Gatlin, Shane (and Katrina) Gatlin, Thomas (and Kathy) McCoy, and Jared Emerson; and many great-nephews and great-nieces.

Hadley grew up in North Reading, Massachusetts, and graduated from high school there. He attended Truman State University graduating Cum Laude with a degree in chemistry. While a Junior there he served as President of his class. Hadley was a member of the Phi Sigma Epsilon fraternity.

In 1966, while both were still students, he married his soulmate, Anita Gatlin from Unionville, Missouri. They were married 57 years, and Hadley often referred to her as “the best decision I ever made.”

Hadley received his medical degree from Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine in 1968, and Interned at Capitol Region Hospital in Jefferson City, Missouri. He practiced Family medicine in Park Hills, Missouri, with his dear friend and partner, Dr. Gerald Roberts, from 1969 to 1981.

In 1981, he started a rotating residency under the direction of Dr. Larry McIntire in Otolaryngology that took him to study in many different places – Cleveland Clinic, Chicago Childrens, House Ear Institute, Los Angeles, Barnes Hospital, Armed Forces Institute of Pathology in Washington, D.C. and others. He was forever grateful to Dr. McIntire for his training, and felt it was his responsibility to use his training for the good of all whom he could help.

Upon completion of his residency, Hadley and his family moved to Des Moines, Iowa, where he practiced for 15 years. In Des Moines, he established a residency-training program in Otolaryngology, served as the President of the Iowa Osteopathic Medical Association, and later as National President of his Specialty College. He served on the National Board of Examiners for Specialty Certification and was a Distinguished Fellow of the College. He was a member of the Christian Society of Otolaryngology/Head & Neck Surgery. Hadley served as an Elder at Central Presbyterian Church in Des Moines. He loved the extensive bike trails in Des Moines, and was an avid biker, jogger and triathlon participant.

In 1999, because of a worsening spinal condition, Hadley and Anita moved to their lake home in Osage Beach, Missouri, where he continued his surgical practice part time. He and Anita joined Harper Chapel United Methodist Church in 1999. He retired in 2020. Hadley was a life-long learner and took Continuing Medical Education courses until the time of his death.

Hadley did Medical Mission work in Mexico, Guatemala, and at the Tutwiler Clinic in Tutwiler, Mississippi. Following the destruction by hurricane Katrina he volunteered in a lean-to clinic in D’Iberville, Mississippi, with minimal electricity and no running water.

Hadley had a real zest for life and made each day count, often saying he believed in “Life before death – don’t waste it!” He cherished his many friends and deeply loved his family. He appreciated being able to travel the world and meet people of all different cultures, and sample exotic foods. He was an IFR private pilot and loved visiting every state in our country. He truly enjoyed being on the water, going fast in his offshore racer, and later in life, just cruising. He loved traveling in his motorhome, fishing, golfing, British cars and photography. He had a strong affection for animals and was known to foster abandoned wildlife to adulthood. Most of all, he loved his title of Grampy and spending time with his Grandchildren that he called his “Grands.” He delighted in playing with the electric train “town” he built with them, towing them behind the boat, and teaching them archery, chess, and how to play pranks on each other.

Hadley had a big heart with a big capacity to love, and openly demonstrated it. For those who knew and loved him, the world will be a little colder without him.

Visitation will be this Sunday, February 18, from 2-4 p.m. at Hedges-Scott Millard Funeral Home in Osage Beach, Missouri. A Celebration of his Life will be held later this spring. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donation to Lake Regional Hospice.


  1. Ava Simnitt on February 15, 2024 at 10:13 pm

    Dr. Hoyt was a wonderful doctor and person. Over fifty years ago, I almost died. Because of Dr. Hoyt’s diagnosis, surgery was performed and I lived. My husband and I will forever be grateful for this. Our prayers for his family during this time. God bless all of you.

  2. Brenda Dickey on April 17, 2024 at 7:55 am

    I worked with Dr. Hoyt and Robert’s at Mineral Area Hospital in the early 70’s. Dr. Hoyt was so respectful to his staff and was an amazing Dr. He will be sadly missed on this earth R.I.P. Dr. Hoyt and prayers for his family.

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