Pillar of Hand Surgery

Clark founded a nationally prominent hand center at Union Memorial.

Published in Hopkins Medicine - Winter 2022

Gaylord Clark Jr., a national leader in hand surgery and founder of a prominent hand center, died of respiratory failure on September 1, 2021, at his home on his family’s farm in Baltimore County. He was 93.

A founding physician of the Curtis National Hand Center at MedStar Union Memorial Hospital in Baltimore, Clark was a clinical assistant professor in the Johns Hopkins Department of Orthopaedic Surgery from approximately 1980 to 2003, and served as assistant dean of the part-time faculty at Johns Hopkins Medicine from 1996 to 2003.

Paul D. Sponseller, chief of the Johns Hopkins Division of Pediatric Orthopaedics, who traveled with Clark to Guyana several times on medical missions, described him as a “skilled and selfless surgeon.”

“He was a pillar of the hand surgery community in Baltimore, with a strong sense of ethics and leadership,” Sponseller says. “He was one of the early group of orthopaedic surgeons who chose to specialize exclusively in hand surgery and perfect the needed techniques. He loved to teach and inspire others.”

Clark, a former Marine and lifelong sailor, began his career at Union Memorial in 1964 after completing his residency in orthopaedics at The Johns Hopkins Hospital (1960–63). He was vice chief of staff at Union Memorial from 1978 to 1981 and chief of staff from 1981 to 1984, according to The Baltimore Sun.

In 1975, Clark and three other surgeons founded the Curtis National Hand Center — named for one of the founders, Raymond Curtis — which has grown to be the largest hand center in the world with the largest hand rehabilitation center in the nation.

In retirement, he and his wife helped out around the family farm that his son runs by washing, sorting and packing eggs.

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