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Archives - Obituaries

Winter 2014


Date: February 1, 2014

School of Medicine

Isabella Harrison ’38, of Virginia Beach, Va., a pioneering female surgeon, died on Oct. 4, 2013. She was 99. After interning in gynecology and surgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital, she became the first woman to serve as chief resident in surgery at the old Church Home and Hospital. During World War II, she served as an Army captain at the Lawson General Hospital and Regional Hospital in Oakland, Calif., then joined the medical staff of the Veterans Administration in Martinsburg, W. Va. In 1947, she became one of only three female physicians in the United States to be certified in surgery; and in 1950, she became chief of the surgical service at the Martinsburg VA hospital. She also was affiliated with the George Washington University surgical residency program from 1949 until her retirement in 1990.

Jacob C. Handelsman ’43 Nov., of Baltimore, died on July 1, 2013, from complications of dementia. He was 94. After serving as an Army surgeon in Italy during World War II, he returned to Hopkins to complete his surgery residency under Alfred Blalock ’22. Receiving a Halsted Fellowship, he also worked with legendary cardiologist Richard Bing (faculty, 1945-51) in his pioneering cardiac catheterization lab. While teaching third-year medical students and overseeing the outpatient surgical clinics, Handelsman maintained a private practice specializing in pediatric surgery, thoracic surgery, and inflammatory bowel disease. Retiring in 1989, he continued working as director of same-day surgery at Hopkins Hospital.

George V. Mann ’45, of McMinn-
ville, Tenn., an expert on cholesterol and heart health, died on July 17, 2013. He was 95. A professor of medicine and biochemistry at Vanderbilt University from 1958 to 1987 and a Career Investigator with the National Institutes of Health, he conducted field studies in the 1960s and 1970s on the effects of diet on the cholesterol levels of Alaskan Eskimos, Congolese pygmies, and the Maasai tribes of Tanzania and Kenya. He concluded that heart disease was not due to consuming foods such as eggs and meat but was the result of other factors, such as the lack of exercise. Among his writings were the 1993 book Coronary Heart Disease: The Dietary Sense and Nonsense, as well as a 1980 book based on his work as a technical observer at the 1976 Montreal Olympics, The Care and Feeding of Athletes

John N. Callander ’47, of San Francisco, died on June 9, 2013, four days after his 90th birthday. A respected orthopedic surgeon for more than 60 years, he was the founder in 1972 of California Pacific Orthopedic and Sports Medicine, a group practice still in existence. An award-winning clinical professor at UCSF School of Medicine, he also was known for volunteering to care for patients at the San Francisco Free Clinic, as well as for dancers of the San Francisco Ballet. He continued to provide complimentary care for individuals at both organizations until shortly before his death. 

Walter E. Dandy Jr. ’48, of Cockeysville, Md., died at his home on July 11, 2013, of pneumonia. He was 87. The son of the renowned Hopkins neurosurgery pioneer, he was drawn to medicine at an early age and often spent time in the operating room with his father. Among the procedures he witnessed was the 1938 exploratory surgery his father performed on famed novelist Thomas Wolfe, who was found to have untreatable tuberculosis of the brain. His father also was a pioneer in the creation of intensive care units, one of which Walter Dandy Jr., an anesthesiologist at Baltimore’s Union Memorial Hospital, would found there in 1969. He served as its medical director until he retired in 1985. He also served as director of respiratory therapy from 1960 to 1985 and medical director of Union Memorial’s dialysis unit from 1972 to 1985.

Theodore H. Kaiser ’49, of Pikesville, Md., who in 1967 became the founder and director of the Division of Child Psychiatry at what now is the Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center, died of a heart attack on August 4, 2013, while vacationing in Bethany Beach, Del. He was 86. Entering Hopkins’ Krieger School of Arts & Sciences at the age of 15 in 1943, he was accepted early by the School of Medicine just two years later, without obtaining his bachelor’s degree, because of the wartime suspension of the requirement that he have one. He finally received his BA at the 1992 commencement. Founder of the Havre de Grace Medical Center in Harford County, Md., where he practiced pediatrics, he also quietly desegregated Harford Memorial Hospital’s pediatrics ward while serving as its chief. Obtaining additional training in psychiatry at Hopkins in the early 1960s, he studied under Leo Kanner, the acknowledged father of pediatric psychiatry.

Leonard M. “Myrt” Gaines ’52, a one-time president of the Johns Hopkins University Alumni Association who, as a retired internist, volunteered for more than a decade at a Towson, Md., hospice care center, died there of heart failure on June 26, 2013. He was 86. After completing his internship and residency at Hopkins, he maintained a private practice from 1959 to 1994. He also remained on the part-time faculty at Hopkins, teaching clinical medicine to students and house staff at the Hopkins Hospital, as well as at the Greater Baltimore Medical Center, where he was chief of the medical staff from 1988 to 1994.

Eugene Blank ’54, of Morgantown, Ore., a Marine veteran of the Pacific Theater during World War II who wrote about his wartime experiences as well as about the patients he encountered during a nearly 40-year career as a pediatric radiologist, died suddenly on July 15, 2013. He was 89. After practicing at the Oregon Health and Science University from 1970 until retiring in 1991, Blank published two books, Pediatric Images: Casebook of Differential Diagnosis, a 1998 compendium of more than 1,000 photos and case histories of young patients he had treated, and USMC 457703, a 2010 memoir of his wartime service. 

David E. Eifrig ’60, of Chapel Hill, N.C., the founding chairman of the University of North Carolina’s Department of Ophthalmology and a tireless practitioner who served on multiple overseas medical missions, died on Oct. 9, 2013. He was 78. Following house staff service at the Wilmer Eye Institute between 1962 and 1967, interrupted by duty in the U.S. Navy Medical Corps from 1962 to 1964, he completed a fellowship in retinal studies at The Jules Stein Eye Institute in Los Angeles between 1967 and 1968. After practicing ophthalmology in Kentucky and Minnesota, he moved to UNC in 1977 to found its ophthalmology department, which he headed until his retirement in 2000.   

Elizabeth A. Martinez ’92, of Boston, died on Sept. 19, 2013, of a rare cancer. She was 47. Martinez, an accomplished anesthesiologist and patient safety expert, spent 20 years at Hopkins—first as a medical student, then as a surgical intern, an anesthesiology resident, a fellow in cardiac anesthesia and critical care medicine, and ultimately as an associate professor of anesthesiology. She met her future husband, Brett A. Simon ’87, when both were anesthesiology residents. She became a protégée of patient safety pioneer, anesthesiologist, and intensive care specialist Peter J. Pronovost ’92, who praised her as “caring and confident, humble and brilliant, and committed to continuously improving the care she provided to patients.” In 2009, Martinez joined the department of anesthesia at Massachusetts General Hospital, which will establish the Elizabeth Martinez Endowed Chair in Quality and Safety to ensure “that her work continues.”


Former Faculty, House Staff

Bernard Becker (HS and fellow, ophthalmology, 1947-53), of St. Louis, who became chair of the Department of Ophthalmology of Washington University in St. Louis in 1953, immediately after completing his residency at the Wilmer Eye Institute, died on April 28, 2013. He was 93. He led WU ophthalmology for more than 35 years, developing it into an internationally recognized research and teaching center.

Gerald D. Klee (HS, psychiatry, 1954-56; faculty, psychiatry, 1970-2007), of Baltimore, died on March 3, 2013, of complications following surgery. He was 86. In 1975, Klee confirmed earlier reports that between 1956 and 1959, hundreds of soldiers were given LSD as part of secret research conducted by the Army at the University of Maryland School of Medicine’s Psychiatric Institute. Although the soldiers knew they were volunteering for scientific experiments, they did not know when they were given the LSD, a practice to which Klee objected. Klee, later head of adult outpatient psychiatry divisions at the University of Maryland and Temple University, believed it was important to take LSD himself prior to the military experiments, which he did. He insisted that despite his misgivings, the study was “purely scientific” and undertaken as part of a contract with the Army to conduct physiological and psychological tests on soldiers.

Irwin M. “Ike” Weiner (fellow, pharmacology, 1956-58; faculty, medicine, 1958-66), of Syracuse, N.Y., who became dean of two of the State University of New York (SUNY) medical schools, died on Sept. 27, 2013. He was 82. In 1966, he left Hopkins to join the Department of Pharmacology at the College of Medicine at the State University of New York (SUNY) Upstate, in Syracuse. He rose to become chair of the department prior to being appointed dean of the school’s College of Medicine in 1987. In 1991, he became dean of SUNY Downstate Medical Center in Brooklyn, N.Y. He retired in 1995. 

Wilmot C. Ball Jr. (HS and fellow, internal medicine, 1957-60; faculty, respiratory diseases, 1961-2013), of Towson, Md., the first head of Hopkins’ Division of Respiratory Diseases (now Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine), died on Oct. 12, 2013, of complications from dementia. He was 85. Internationally renowned as an expert in the study and treatment of lung disease, he led the newly created respiratory diseases division from 1961 to 1973. In 1975, he became director of pulmonary medicine at Baltimore’s Good Samaritan Hospital, where he was elected president of the medical staff in 1983. He remained on the Hopkins School of Medicine faculty and later served as director of clinical records systems at the Hopkins Hospital.

Robert D. Bloodwell (HS, surgery, 1957-65), of Natchitoches, La., who in 1968 assisted Denton Cooley ’44 on the first successful heart transplant in the United States, died on July 23, 2013. He was 80. In addition to practicing in Natchitoches, Bloodwell was a highly successful cardiovascular thoracic surgeon in New Orleans, Orlando, Fla., and Houston, where Cooley still is based.

William R. Bell (HS, internal medicine, 1964-65; 1969-70; faculty, hematology, medicine, 1970-2002), of Baltimore, long known as one of the world’s most brilliant hematologists and a master clinician, died on Oct. 4, 2013, of complications from a blood clot. He was 78. Although renowned as a hematologist, Bell was tireless in treating a wide range of individuals no matter what their illness. Among his celebrity patients were German Chancellor Helmut Schmidt, Russian President Boris Yeltsin, and movie stars Warren Beatty, Shirley Mac- Laine, and Dustin Hoffman. When Beatty’s film Dick Tracy opened in 1990, he donated $50,000 from the opening night’s proceeds to fund Bell’s research.

Lois N. Kushner (HS, radiology, 1964-67), of Edgemont, Pa., a radiologist who had many firsts in her career, died on Sept. 28, 2013. She was 86. A 1956 graduate of Hahnemann Medical College in Philadelphia, she moved to York, Pa., to establish a private practice, becoming the only female physician in the city who delivered babies. After seven years in practice, she decided to specialize in radiology and became the first female chief radiology resident at The Johns Hopkins Hospital. She then returned to York and ultimately became the first female president of the medical staff of York Hospital.


The School of Medicine also has received word of the following deaths:

Anthony S. Felsovanyi ’41 on Oct. 7, 2013

John Ware ’48 on April 27, 2012

Dorothy H. Henneman ’49 on Sept. 2, 2013

Thomas G. Vandivier ’54 on Oct. 19, 2013

Donald A. Goodwin ’55 on June 21, 2013 

Gerald L. Looney ’63 on April 1, 2013


Former Faculty, House Staff

Bruce A. Harris Jr. (HS, gynecology/obstetrics, 1947-51) on August 28, 2013

Mary A. Hilton (faculty, medicine, 1951-56) on Sept. 7, 2013

Lee D. Lampton (HS and fellow, radiology, 1969-73; faculty, radiology, 1973) on Oct. 1, 2013

Thomas M. Holcomb (faculty, pediatric neonatology, 1970-2007) on Oct. 3, 2013