Leona Ruth Guy, medical technologies innovator, educator, pathologist, and blood banking promoter, published or presented more than 100 scientific papers and organized or participated in more than thirty-five blood banking workshops. She was born on March 17, 1913, in the small town of Kemp in North Texas to Minnie Elizabeth (Murphy) Guy and Henry Luther Guy. In 1931 she began her undergraduate degree at Baylor University. She waited tables and tutored to afford tuition. In 1934 she earned her bachelor’s degree and moved to Dallas to study medical technology at the Baylor University College of Medicine. From 1939 to 1946 Guy served as the chief medical technologist at Hendrick Memorial Hospital (see HENDRICK MEDICAL CENTER) in Abilene, Texas. In 1946 she attended Southwestern Medical College (later University of Texas Southwestern Medical School) in order to earn her master’s degree. While studying at Baylor Dallas she worked at Baylor Hospital’s William Buchanan Blood Bank, the first blood bank in Dallas, and partook in the first conferences of the American Association of Blood Banks and the Texas Association of Blood Banks (later the South Central Association of Blood Banks), both in 1947. Upon earning her master’s degree in 1949 she continued on to Stanford University, where she earned her doctorate in 1953.
After earning her Ph.D., she returned to Dallas and began working on blood banking at local, national, and eventually international levels. Guy served as president of the South Central Association of Blood Banks from 1964 to 1965. By 1954 she was teaching at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas and was on staff at Parkland Memorial Hospital. She was a professor of microbiology. In 1969 she named the first chair of the Department of Medical Technology. Together with E. Eric Muirhead, she founded the School of Medical Technology at the university. Guy retired in 1982 and became a professor emeritus of pathology. In 1973 she was presented with the American Association of Blood Banks John Elliot Award for service and dedication to the field. In 1987 she received the Women of Distinction Award from Baylor University. She was inducted into the Texas Women’s Hall of Fame in 1989 and listed as a Baylor University Distinguished Alumni in 1994. In addition to her contributions to medical technology and research, Guy was instrumental in the development of “rape kits” (used to collect forensic evidence of sexual assault) for Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas. She was also active in women’s organizations. From 1961 to 1962 she served as the president of Zonta Club in Dallas. She was on the advisory board of Dallas County Big Sisters, served as chair of Business Women in Art, and was president of the Business and Professional Women’s Club of Dallas. She was also the doctor without a medical degree to receive an American Society of Clinical Pathology honorary fellowship. L. Ruth Guy died at the age of ninety-three on May 3, 2006, in Dallas. She was interred at Parkman-Hillcrest Memorial Park in Dallas. A professorship in medical laboratory science was established in her name at UT Southwestern Medical Center through a charitable trust that Guy created before her death.
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Pulse: South Central Association of Blood Banks, 32 (Summer 2006). Texas Women’s Hall of Fame: L. Ruth Guy, Texas Woman’s University (https://twu.edu/twhf/honorees/l-ruth-guy/), accessed April 1, 2022.
Health and Medicine
Texas Post World War II
Dallas/Fort Worth Region
The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.
“Guy, Leona Ruth,”
Handbook of Texas Online,
accessed May 23, 2022,
Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
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