Monday, May 21, 2012

RIP: Karl Raynor

Karl Raynor was one of the toughest cyclists, both mentally and physically, and one of the kindest individuals, I've ever known. He was a leading podiatrist in Indianapolis and co-founder of the Wilkes-Raynor Cycling Group (a.k.a., "Team Treachery and Deceit"), which, despite its nickname, is a rare collection of wonderful people who happen to be (present company excluded) excellent cyclists.

Last night, Karl, who was in his mid-50s, died in his sleep apparently from the same heart problem that nearly took his life just a few months ago. In January, he suffered a massive heart attack at the start of a winter (indoor) training session. His life was saved on that occasion thanks to fast work by Dr. Larry Stevens, Dr. Dave Wilkes, and others who were present. At the hospital, Karl had a stent inserted to open up the blocked artery, and he recovered quickly. Within a few weeks, he was back on the bike, riding hard as ever with the group. With more blood flowing to his heart, he said he was feeling better on the bike than he had in a long time. Despite his recent heart scare, he said he had no fear of going too hard. It was the only way he knew how to ride.

I used to joke that when Karl got to the front on a bike ride he would turn off the all but the reptilian part of his brain to conserve energy. He wasn't always the fastest guy in the group, but he nearly always took the most pulls. Things were no different this past weekend, according to those who rode with Karl on Saturday and Sunday. And there was no sign that he was feeling anything but fine when he went to bed last night.

On this very sad day, my thoughts are with his wife and family, whom Karl loved dearly. He left them too soon. But I hope they can find some solace in the few extra months they were able to spend with Karl after his heart attack and the fact that he died peacefully, in his sleep.

I will think of Karl every time I ride.


  1. My wife and I heard the news of Dr. Raynor's passing when his office phoned us this morning. It was a punch to the stomach for us and we'll be reeling for some time from this terrible news. My wife had suffered for years with an ankle that was severally damaged from an infection and could walk less and less every year. Every doctor we saw gave us bad options and no hope. My wife, still a young woman, was facing a life of pain and ever decreasing mobility. Further, our children are toddlers and the thought of watching them grow up as a bystander, too injured to really participate in the rough and tumble of our kids' childhood, caused my wife no small amount of despair. We heard of Dr. Raynor and his work with a new type of ankle transplant; apparently Dr Raynor was the only surgeon in the entire state of Indiana with the training to perform the procedure. Long story short, Dr. Raynor put in the new ankle and gave my wife her life back and helped revitalize our family life. We garden together, we bike together, we walk together, we play yard games together. We could do none of these things before and now, thanks to Dr. Raynor, we can do so whenever we choose. We'll always be grateful to Dr. Raynor and it is with such great sadness that we can now only honor his memory. The world just lost one of the good guys.

  2. So sad to hear of his passing. Wish I had gotten an opportunity to ride with him one more time.

  3. I too was a patient of Dr. Raynor and received the news yesterday from his office. I was scheduled to have a surgery on my achilles next month with him, the same surgery he performed on my other ankle 3 years ago. When I went to see him a month ago I came home and told my wife how happy I was to go back to see him. He was a kind and gentle man, the best bed side manner I have had the pleasure of coming across. I travelled an hour to see him and was blessed that I had the opportunity to meet him one last time before he passed. I can honestly say I may have only had the pleasure of being his patient a short time and didn't know him on a personal basis, but he was a true blessing to my life and I am glad I had the opportunity to meet him. I will carry his work with me the rest of my days.
    My thoughts and prayers go out to his family, friends and staff who are going through this tough time and yet find the strength to go on with his work. God bless them all!!

  4. I am so sorry to hear this news. He was a big part of my life as a patient of his for 6 years. Dr. Raynor was a very passionate and was a great surgion. Dr. Raynor performed 4 ankle surgeries over the years and I have sent many of the people I know to him because he was such a great Dr. and person. God Bless.

    Nick Heffley

  5. I was to be one of Dr. Raynor's first patients Monday morning when I received the devastating call from his office. I had known Dr. Raynor for four years as he treated me - through two surgeries - for arthritic feet. His gentle manner, willingness to patiently answer any questions, and our chats about our children will be among the many things I will remember. When my physician son came with me to an appointment Dr. Raynor was more than able to "talk doctor" with him while still keeping me informed. Before both my surgeries his easy-going manner with my family was much appreciated. My sincere condolences to Dr. Sandra and his work and home families. He will be missed.

  6. I heard the devastating news yesterday as one of my FB friends from my small town up in Northern Indiana posted something about her having heel pain & that her podiatrist's office had called & left a voicemail about his unexpectedly & suddenly passing away. I then sent her a post back asking her what his name was as I knew she lives here in Indianapolis. Dr. Raynor performed two bunion surgeries on me over 10 years ago now. I was a young married gal who had issues at a young age & didn't want to leave my bunions as they were & eventually become worse. Dr. Raynor was an awesome doctor - he had the best bedside manner, he listened to me & my husband, he answered our questions, he asked about our family, as I did the same regarding his family. I last saw him about 2 years ago when I was having plantar fasciatis issues. Sandra, my heart goes out to you & your family & Karl's family & friends. Unfortunately, I know some of the pain & heartache that you are going through as I lost my husband of 23 years last Dec. 30, 2011, in a fatal truck accident off of I-465 & Keystone Avenue here in Indy, leaving me w/two children (ages 8 & 16). May God wrap his loving arms around you & your children during this difficult time. I'm so grateful that he did not suffer, that it was sudden, & he died quietly in his sleep. My husband died instantly & didn't suffer either :)

  7. I was scheduled to see Dr. Raynor that day as well when I received the call early that morning of his passing. I was shocked and saddened. He was a very compassionate Dr. and helped me through some very painful times with my feet. I had many procedures and a couple surgeries by him. I will never forget what a wonderful Dr. and most of all human being he was. My sincere condolences go to his family and staff. He will be greatly missed.


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