JHMI Office of Communications and Public Affairs

March 14, 2001
MEDIA CONTACT : Karen Blum
PHONE: (410)955-1534
E-MAIL: kblum@jhmi.edu

Lee H. Riley Jr., Former Orthopedics Chief At Hopkins, Dies At 68

–Pioneered Hip and Knee Procedures

Lee H. Riley, Jr., M.D., professor emeritus of orthopedic surgery and former chairman of the Department of Orthopedic Surgery at The Johns Hopkins Hospital and School of Medicine, died March 8 after a long illness. He was 68.

Riley spent his entire 42-year medical career at Hopkins. He was one of the first physicians in the United States to perform total hip arthroplasty, a surgical reconstruction of the diseased joint. He also was involved in the design and development of the first total knee replacement used in this country.

The Baltimore resident developed an international reputation as a leader in his field. He was a founding member and president of the Cervical Spine Research Society and the Knee Society, and was a member of numerous other medical societies and organizations including the Hip Society. He published more than 80 scientific papers and was a co-editor for the three-volume Atlas of Orthopaedic Surgery.

Riley was "the epitome of a teacher and mentor," said Frank J. Frassica, M.D., Hopkins’ current orthopedics chairman.

"He was a superb academic orthopedic surgeon, known for his expertise in joint replacement and as a wonderful compassionate physician," Frassica said. "He was admired greatly by his patients, students, residents and colleagues and will be remembered for always having a kind word for everyone."

The University honored Riley in 1997 by dedicating a professorship under his name. A program from the event described him as "a patient mentor, professional father, and sage counselor to several generations of resident trainees and colleagues, and a kindly and compassionate physician (with equal measure of care) to the rich and powerful as well as to the poverty-stricken and voiceless."

James Wenz, M.D., chairman of orthopedic surgery at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center, said Riley was "a role model for an academic orthopedic surgeon, a gentleman and a family man. He and his wife, Helen, were gracious, caring people with a distinct ability to make everyone feel comfortable and welcome in their presence."

Born in St. Louis in 1932 and raised in Oklahoma, Riley received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Oklahoma at Norman in 1953 and his medical degree from the University’s medical school in 1957.

He completed his residency in orthopedic surgery at Hopkins in 1963, when he took on a faculty position as an instructor. Quickly moving up the ranks, Riley was orthopedic surgeon-in-chief at The Johns Hopkins Hospital and chairman of the Department of Orthopedic Surgery from 1979 to 1991, when he became a distinguished service professor.

At Hopkins, Riley held various other leadership positions including chairman of the Medical School Council and the Medical Board. He served on the Hospital’s Board of Trustees from 1989-1991.

He also served as an orthopedic surgery consultant for Loch Raven Veterans Administration Hospital, Sinai Hospital and The Good Samaritan Hospital, and on the orthopedic surgery affiliate staff of Union Memorial Hospital, all in Baltimore.

Riley enjoyed numerous outdoor activities and was a devoted family man. He served on the Board of Governors of the Johns Hopkins Club from 1990 to 1997 and also as its president. He belonged to The Elkridge Club, the 14 West Hamilton Street Club and the Cosmos Club in Washington, D.C.

Riley is survived by his wife, Helen Mutch Riley; two sons, Reed David, an assistant professor of medicine at Hopkins; and Lee Hunter III, also an orthopedic surgeon at Hopkins; and two grandchildren, all of Baltimore; and a sister, Suzanne Riley Rambo, of Alamo, Calif.

A memorial service will be held Tuesday, March 20, at 4 p.m., at Grace United Methodist Church, 5407 N. Charles St. (corner of Northern Parkway) The service will be followed by a reception at which the family will receive friends.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Lee H. Riley, Jr., M.D. Orthopedic Resident Education Fund, Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Johns Hopkins Outpatient Center, 601 N. Caroline St., Suite 5215, Baltimore, MD 21205.


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