Dr. Royce Laycock went peacefully and quietly from the arms of his loving family to the arms of his Savior on December 2, 2020. He was born in Collingsworth County in the Texas Panhandle to Wayne Mason and Lillie Edith Laycock on March 24, 1929. The son of a cotton farmer and the youngest of seven, Dr. Laycock grew up knowing the meaning of hard work and teamwork. He was valedictorian of Samnorwood High School in 1946 and matriculated (one of his favorite words) at Texas Tech University, graduating with a BA in chemistry with honors.
Dr. Laycock graduated from Southwestern Medical School and was accepted into the AWA Honor Medical Society. While at Southwestern, he met Norma Jean Blades, a nursing student, on a blind date. She was his one true love, and they married after graduation. Dr. Laycock joined the Army and was stationed in El Paso at William Beaumont Army Hospital. After completing a year of internship, he was transferred to the 5th Army Headquarters in Chicago where he served two years as chief of physical standards and assistant chief of professional services.
Dr. Laycock completed his surgical residency at Parkland Hospital in Dallas, TX, and moved to Pampa, TX, where he went into medical practice alongside his brother, Raymond, serving his community for 16 years. In addition to a busy medical practice, he initiated the process for hospital accreditation and was instrumental in getting a state-of-the-art emergency room and lab added to Highland General Hospital. He was a dedicated member of First Baptist Church—Pampa and Kiwanis Club of Pampa, as well as raising four active children.
Dr. Laycock returned to Dallas in 1977 to join the faculty of UT Southwestern Medical School as an associate professor of surgery. He served as the founding president of the Association for Surgical Educators and was on its board of directors. Dr. Laycock was promoted to Professor of Surgery in 1984 and served as Interim Chairman of the Department of Surgery for two years. He was vice chairman until 2000, and the holder of the Dr. Lee Hudson-Robert R. Penn Chair in Surgery from 1995 until 2000 when he was named emeritus professor. The interaction with and teaching of surgical residents was the absolute joy of his life. He often said that “they started out as suckling babes and came out as fully trained surgeons.” His recounting of stories about those he mentored provided fond memories throughout his life. There is a wall of pictures at Parkland Hospital established by the former Parkland trained residents commemorating the “Giants of General Surgery.” Dr. Laycock was honored to be included.
Royce came to faith in Jesus Christ as a boy in the Baptist Church in Abra, TX, and was baptized there. His strong faith was the underpinning of his life and enabled him to live with integrity and excellence. In every institution where he served, he found ways to improve and make it more efficient, all with little fanfare or need for recognition. He was the ultimate gentleman, always treating everyone with dignity and respect knowing each was made in the image of God.
After moving to Dallas, the family began attending First Baptist Church—Dallas where he served on the Deacon Board, the First Baptist Academy School Board, and the Criswell College Board of Trustees. He loved and supported each pastor with his time and means. He loved his Medical/Dental Sunday School Class and then Peacemaker’s Sunday School class and the wonderful people in each. He loved his family and took great pride in spending time with his children, grandchildren, and later great-grandchildren. He loved our country dearly and prayed at almost every meal that Jesus Christ would direct the leaders of our nation.
Dr. Laycock was preceded in death by his parents, five brothers, and one sister. He is survived by his precious wife of 66 years, Norma, his daughters, Lisa Watson and husband, Tom, Lindy Stone and husband, Dary, Jennifer Russell and husband, Jeff, and only son, Todd Laycock. Also, his eleven grandchildren who he loved so much, Mary Beth (Dave), Benjamin, Caroline (Ken), Joseph (Rachel), Dary Jr., Peyton (Michael), Luke (Jewel), Shelby (Rob), Mary Claire (Joe), Natalie (Nelson), and Frances (Zach). And by his seven great grandchildren (soon to be eight!) that brought him such delight in his last days—Davis, Teddy, Annie, Evie, Sloan, Iona, Reid, and baby girl Fleming!
The family would like to acknowledge and thank the many caretakers who lovingly assisted and cared for him in the final months of his life.
A graveside service will be held for the family on Saturday, December 5th, and a celebration of life service will be held at First Baptist Church—Dallas 1707 San Jacinto St, Dallas, Texas 75201 at 2:00 pm in the Truett Chapel on Monday, December 7th. Streaming services will be available.
In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to First Baptist Church—Dallas, Texas.
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