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Class Notes

In Memoriam Fall 2019

School of Medicine


Leonard Atkins, of Boston, a decorated World War II veteran who was medical examiner for Massachusetts’ Suffolk County for 44 years, died on April 23. He was 96. Atkins landed on Normandy’s Omaha Beach in August 1944 and fought with the Army’s 6th Armored Division all the way across France and reached the Rhine in Germany. He received the Silver Star for gallantry in action. In addition to serving as Suffolk County’s medical examiner, Atkins taught pathology at Harvard, served as a pathologist at Massachusetts General Hospital, and was director of MGH’s cytogenetics and anatomic units from 1960 to 1996.

William B. Freedman, of San Francisco, who was one of the first internists hired by Kaiser Permanente’s South San Francisco practice and served as its chief of medicine for 15 of the 33 years he worked there, died on March 20. He was six months shy of his 100th birthday. A U.S. Army Medical Corps parasitology specialist during World War II, he worked to eradicate malaria in Puerto Rico and ran laboratories in postwar occupied Japan. A dedicated mushroom hunter, he was president of the Mycological Society of San Francisco and often asked by local hospitals to help identify mushrooms in suspected poisoning cases.

Helena McKibben Kirkwood, of San Francisco, who long maintained a private practice before joining Seattle’s Group Health Cooperative and later serving at the University of Washington’s Student Health Service until retiring in 1983, died on March 3. She was 93. An avid sports fan, she watched a Golden State Warriors game the night before she died.

Louis B. Kramer, a native of Niagara Falls, New York, who maintained a private practice there from 1954 to 1993, died on Feb. 2. He was 96. During World War II, Kramer was sent with the 87th Infantry Division to Europe, where he earned a Bronze Star, a Combat Medic Badge and three battle stars for participating in the Battle of the Bulge and other engagements in the Saar Basin and Rhineland. In addition to his practice in Niagara Falls, he was an attending physician at Memorial Medical Center and Mount St. Mary’s Hospital there, a clinical assistant professor at the University of Buffalo School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, and a founder and administrator of the rotating internship at Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center.


Chester Z. Haverback, of Bethesda, Maryland, who maintained a private surgery and plastic surgery practice there for more than a half-century, died on Aug. 20, 2018. He was 89.


Wiliam P. Sadler Jr., of Salisbury, Maryland, died on May 6. He was 88. He maintained a private practice on the Eastern Shore of Maryland for decades, specializing in general, thoracic, vascular and tumor surgery at Peninsula Regional Medical Center (PRMC) in Salisbury. He was chair of PRMC’s surgery department, director of its cancer program and president of the Wicomico County Medical Society. He was instrumental in organizing a local cancer registry for the Eastern Shore, which became a vital source of data for the disease in that region. He also served as medical director for Hudson Health Services from 1992 to 2000. 


Herbert K. Kain, of Aptos, California, died on Nov. 19, 2018. He was 91. An Army Medical Corps veteran of the Korean War, Kain joined a private medical practice in Los Gatos, California, in 1963 and specialized in cardiology and internal medicine there for 37 years. He also was particularly proud of being a founder in 1984 of the Valley Foundation, a charity that funds significant medical and social services projects and programs to benefit the residents of Santa Clara County.


Barbara H. Greene-Plauth, of Stanford, California, one of only three women in her class, died on March 25. She was 83. She became an endocrinologist and director of the medical clinic at Atlanta’s Grady Memorial Hospital. By the time of her retirement in 1999, she had attained the rank of full professor of medicine at Emory University, where her husband, William “Bill” H. Plauth Jr. (HS, pediatrics, 1958–62), was a pediatrician.


Sharon N. Weilbaecher, of New Orleans, who was director of medical illustration at both the Tulane Medical Center and the Ochsner Medical Foundation, as well as a prolific fine artist whose works were shown at major museums and galleries throughout the United States, died on May 15. She was 80. While she was obtaining her master’s in medical illustration, she met her future husband, Robert Weilbaecher (HS; fellow, internal medicine, 1963–67). She served on the faculty of the Department of Art as Applied to Medicine until she and her husband moved to New Orleans in 1967. An exceptional watercolorist, she concentrated on fine art after 1976. Her works were shown at the New Orleans Museum of Art, the Grand Central Art Galleries in New York and even the White House, among many venues.


James Anthony “Tony” Graves, of Pittsburgh, a nationally acclaimed pediatric cancer researcher, died on March 14. He was 49. He obtained a Ph.D. in biology and biological sciences from Carnegie Mellon University in 1996 before coming to Johns Hopkins. He joined the faculty of the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine in 2008 after completing his residency and fellowship in pediatric hematology and oncology there. In 2017, he became medical director at Novartis Oncology, a pharmaceutical company, and last year joined Immunomedics, another pharmaceutical firm, as its medical director of clinical development.

Former Faculty, Fellows and House Staff

Newton D. Fischer (HS, otolaryngology, 1948–51; faculty, medicine, 1951–52), of Chapel Hill, North Carolina, founding chair of the Department of Otolaryngology/Head and Neck Surgery at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine and its head for more than 30 years, died on Sept. 15, 2018. He was 96.

Wiley K. Livingston Sr. (HS, ophthalmology, 1948–51), of Birmingham, Alabama, who served as chairman of the Department of Ophthalmology at the University of Alabama in Birmingham, died on Feb. 13. He was 98. Following service in the Korean War, he opened a private practice in his hometown of Birmingham and maintained it until retiring in 1987.

Richard A. Deitrich (fellow, physiological chemistry; faculty, biological chemistry, 1959–63), of Denver, whose research established that alcoholism is a heritable disease, died on Sept. 5, 2018. He was 87. An emeritus professor of pharmacology at the University of Colorado medical school, where he spent his entire 50-year career, Deitrich was prompted by his uncles’ and father’s struggles with alcoholism to discover a genetic basis for the disease. Among the founding fathers of the Research Society on Alcoholism, he was best known for his work on enzymes and the metabolism of aldehydes. His research received uninterrupted funding from the National Institutes of Health from 1963 until he retired in 2004.

Theodore Lee “Ted” Mobley (HS, urology, 1960–61), of Scottsdale, Arizona, died on June 13 of leukemia. He was 84. A partner in Affiliated Urologists in Phoenix from 1967 to 1999, he also served as president of the medical staff of the city’s St. Joseph’s Hospital, as well as a founding member of the Phoenix Urological Society. In 2003, he joined the Veterans Administration’s Carl T. Hayden Medical Center in Phoenix and continued serving as a urologist there until his death.

Armando G. DiBiasio (fellow, otolaryngology, 1962), of Annandale, Virginia, founder of the Department of Otolaryngology at Georgetown University, died on April 22. He was 91. In addition to his work at Georgetown, he also served patients who could not pay by acting as head of otolaryngology at District of Columbia General Hospital. Elected in 1971 as a member of the Knights of Malta, a Catholic lay order that recognizes service to others, he and his wife moved to Italy in 1978 and spent 17 years there, living near Florence, where he practiced in private Italian clinics before retiring.

Gilbert R. Seigworth (HS, gynecology/obstetrics, 1964–65), of Deland, Florida, who spent his career as a leading physician in upstate New York’s Broome County, died on April 23. He was 86. In 1967, he joined a medical practice in Endicott, New York, where he remained for more than 23 years. He served as president of the Medical Society for Ideal Hospital in Endicott and taught medical students at Binghamton University.

Bernard M. McGibbon (faculty, plastic and reconstructive surgery, 1971–2002), of Baltimore, who was chief of plastic and reconstructive surgery at Greater Baltimore Medical Center from 1978 to 2002, died on April 18, 2018, from complications of pneumonia. He was 86. British-born and trained in obstetrics and gynecology, his experiences delivering children with cleft lip and palate deformities prompted his interest in pursuing plastic and reconstructive surgery. He moved to the United States to study it, then joined the Johns Hopkins faculty. He was author and editor of the 1984 textbook Atlas of Breast Reconstruction Following Mastectomy and was a past president of the John Staige Davis Society of the Plastic Surgeons of Maryland, named for Hopkins’ first plastic surgery specialist.

Janet L. Strife (HS; fellow; faculty, radiology, 1972–80), of Boulder, Colorado, a mentor to dozens of pediatric radiologists at the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center (CCHMC), where she was radiologist-in-chief from 1992 to 2002, died on May 8 of complications from Parkinson’s disease. She was 77. After completing her training and joining the radiology faculty at Johns Hopkins, she returned in 1978 to CCHMC, where she also had trained. A full professor of radiology and pediatrics at the University of Cincinnati medical school, she was devoted to advancing the careers of pediatric radiologists — especially women — at CCHMC. She was president of the Society for Pediatric Radiology in 2000 and the Association of Program Directors in Radiology in 2003. In 2010, she received both the American Board of Radiology’s Lifetime Service Award and the Society for Pediatric Radiology’s Gold Medal.

Kenneth J. Murray (faculty, neurosurgery, 1978–2000), of Baltimore, who had been chief surgeon for brain cancer at Greater Baltimore Medical Center (GBMC) and was described by one former colleague as a “Marcus Welby, M.D.,” type of physician beloved by his patients, died on May 3 of respiratory failure. He was 73. He came to Baltimore as acting head of neurosurgery at the Veterans Administration hospital. In addition to joining the Johns Hopkins faculty and the staff of GBMC, he practiced neurosurgery at Good Samaritan Hospital and also maintained a private practice specializing in neurological ailments.

Kevin Wyatt McMahon (faculty, surgery and oncology, 2014–18), of Columbia, Maryland, died on Sept. 13, 2018, of cancer — the disease he spent his career researching. He was 41. A biomedical sciences Ph.D. from Texas Tech University, he moved to Maryland to pursue cancer research as a bioinformaticist. He received an appointment as assistant professor of surgery and oncology at the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center.

The school of medicine also has learned of the following deaths:

Edward C. Atwater (M.A. History of Medicine, 1974) on April 27

Ronald R. Berger (fellow; faculty, medicine, 1960–66) on March 3

Robert J. Blatchley (adjunct faculty, medical psychology, 1985–93) on April 8

Vasant V. Dalal (fellow, gynecology and obstetrics, 1972) on Jan. 31

Adolph Ulfohn (faculty, medicine, 1980) on April 30

Charles I. Wasserman (HS, psychiatry, 1976) on Oct. 12, 2018

Edward L. Nickoloff (faculty, radiological sciences, 1981) on March 11