A clinical psychologist by training, Fordyce joined the UW School of Medicine faculty in 1959 and worked with the late anesthesiologist John Bonica to create a multidisciplinary pain center at the UW. That center—one of the first of its kind in the nation—became a model for research on, and clinical care for, pain.
Fordyce developed approaches to dealing with chronic pain that were unheard-of at the time. He encouraged chronic-pain patients to become active again and to cut back on the amount of pain medication used. Today, pain clinics throughout the United States use Fordyce's methods.
He was a founding member of the International Association for the Study of Pain and the American Pain Society, which named an annual research award in his honor.
He is survived by his wife, Eleanor, and two sons, David and Richard.