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In Memoriam Winter 2017

School of Medicine

John Cody ’49 (Art as Applied to Medicine), of Hays, Kansas, a psychiatrist, acclaimed artist and writer, died on July 11, 2016. He was 91. Cody collaborated with Ranice Crosby (1915–2007), longtime director of the Department of Art as Applied to Medicine, to write the definitive 1991 biography of Crosby’s predecessor, Max Brödel: The Man Who Put Art Into Medicine. Cody obtained his medical degree from the University of Arkansas in 1959 and chose psychiatry—what he called “the most artistic form of medicine”—as his field. He became executive director of the High Plains Mental Health Clinic in Hays but continued his artwork, earning the sobriquet “the Audubon of moths” for his large, detailed watercolors of silk moths. His extensive writing included psychobiographies of poetess Emily Dickinson and composer Richard Wagner.

Herman H. “Pink” Pinkerton Jr. ’51, a pediatrician and pediatric allergist who practiced in Abington, Virginia, for 38 years and became a medical leader in that region, died at his retirement home in Raleigh, North Carolina, on Dec. 5, 2015. He was 87. He had served as chief of staff of Johnston Memorial Hospital and CEO of Johnston Memorial Clinic, both in Abington, and also as president of the medical society of Washington County, Virginia, and the Southeastern Allergy Association. He also was an assistant clinical professor at the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine in Richmond.

Raymond T. Doyle ’54, of Cary, North Carolina, a World War II U.S. Navy pharmacist mate second class who rose to become president of the medical staff at Nash General Hospital in Rocky Mount, North Carolina, died on Oct. 4, 2016. He was 90. Initially focusing his practice on blood conditions, serving as chief of hematology at the Durham VA Medical Center, he later joined what became the Boice-Willis Clinic in Rocky Mount. He served the community for 33 years before retiring in 1995.

James F. Hitselberger Jr. ’56, of Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, died on Aug. 17, 2016. He was 88. After practicing dermatology at the Fond du Lac Regional Clinic from 1961 to 1998, he went to work for the Veterans Administration in 2001. Over the next eight years, he treated veterans of conflicts in the Middle East at the VA hospitals in Richmond and Roanoke, Virginia.

Jerome Kowal ’56, of Cleveland, professor emeritus and associate dean of geriatric medicine at Case Western Reserve University, died on Dec. 23, 2015. He was 84. His distinguished career as a basic scientist, clinician and medical educator spanned 40 years at both Case Western and the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City. He also was chief of medicine and chief of staff at the Louis Stokes Cleveland VA Medical Center, and associate dean for veteran affairs at Case Western. He trained two generations of clinicians in geriatrics, and his research and teaching advanced the care of the elderly.

James L. “Jack” Frost ’57, of Morgantown, West Virginia, a forensic pathologist who was the state’s chief medical examiner for nearly 26 years, died on June 27, 2016. He was 85. During his service as medical examiner, the responsibilities of his Morgantown office eventually extended to handling autopsies for 25 of the state’s 55 counties. He later told the press that a large backlog of cases was due to the state’s refusal to respond to his repeated requests for additional support, requiring him instead to work 80-hour weeks, be on call nights and weekends, and often serve as the only medical examiner. He retired in 2003 but offered to resume work for free to help alleviate the backlog.

James E. Comber ’79, a Baltimore ophthalmologist who helped establish a clinical low-vision evaluation program for children at the Maryland School for the Blind, died of cardiovascular disease on Sept. 24, 2016. He was 62. The success of the program he founded at the school led to its expansion to all public school students in Maryland who were blind and/or visually impaired. Comber spent one day each week training ophthalmological residents at Johns Hopkins and providing low-vision evaluations at the Wilmer Eye Institute. 

Faculty, fellows and house staff

Sherman M. Mellinkoff (HS, medicine, 1947–49; 1950–51), a renowned gastroenterologist whose 25-year tenure as dean of the University of California, Los Angeles School of Medicine transformed it into an internationally acclaimed center of medical research and teaching, died on July 17, 2016, at his Westwood, California, home. He was 96. In 1962, he became dean of the 10-year-old UCLA medical school, which then had no buildings of its own, and over the next quarter century grew it from a few dozen students to classes of 1,500 interns, residents and fellows. He helped establish multiple organ transplant programs, a comprehensive cancer center and one of the first federally funded centers of research into positron emission tomography scans. He was elected to the Johns Hopkins Society of Scholars in 1981. Considered a Renaissance man who knew literature, history and baseball nearly as well as medicine, Mellinkoff was perhaps the only person “who could quote James Thurber and Ecclesiastes in the same sentence,” a colleague told the Los Angeles Times.

Cecil Cooper (HS, physiological chemistry, 1953–56), of Chicago, died on Nov. 10, 2015, of breast cancer. An Army veteran of World War II, he became the first member of his family to go to college, thanks to the GI Bill. For almost 40 years, he was an award-winning teacher in Case Western Reserve University’s Department of Biochemistry, where he also conducted research on mitochondria, among other interests.

John Candler “Jock” Cobb (faculty, pediatrics, 1956), of Albuquerque, New Mexico, the former chair of the Department of Preventive Medicine at the University of Colorado Denver, died on June 20, 2016, less than two weeks before his 97th birthday. His work in public health extended far beyond the United States and included projects in Pakistan, Indonesia, the Philippines, Togo and China.

David A. Robinson (faculty, biomedical engineering, ophthalmology and neuroscience, 1961–1993), a groundbreaking ophthalmologist who was one of the founders of the Department of Biomedical Engineering, died on Oct. 18, 2016. He was 92. Robinson’s 1965 landmark paper in The Journal of Physiology still is considered the most comprehensive investigation of the mechanics of eye movement. In 1975, he developed a magnetic field search coil technique that remains the standard for recording eye movements. He made critical discoveries about learning and plasticity in the ocular motor and vestibular systems. His mathematical models of how the brain controls eye movement still may be the most successful example of computational systems neuroscience.

Paul H. Wender (HS; fellow, psychiatry, 1967), of Andover, Massachusetts, dubbed the “dean of ADHD” for his pioneering research on attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder in adults, died of a ruptured aortic aneurysm on July 16, 2016. He was 82. Wender’s groundbreaking research on ADHD in adults began with his work establishing a genetic role in schizophrenic disorders. He was among the founders of the National Foundation for Depressive Illness and the American Society of Clinical Psychopharmacology. After a 26-year career as a professor of psychiatry at the University of Utah, he moved to Andover in 1999 and continued to see patients, conduct research and write. Not long before his death, he completed co-authoring the fifth edition of ADHD: Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder in Children, Adolescents, and Adults.

Edward J. Hinman (fellow, medicine, 1963; faculty, medicine, 1966), a retired rear admiral who spent 23 years with the U.S. Public Health Service (USPHS), died on March 18, 2016, of pneumonia following a 15-year battle against Parkinson’s disease. He was 84. After retiring in 1978 as the USPHS’ assistant surgeon general and director of its division of hospitals and clinics, he continued working as either president or medical director of several health maintenance organizations and community health centers in the Baltimore/Washington area before his final retirement in 2001.

R. Neil Schimke (fellow, genetics, 1963–65), among the first group of physicians to complete a Johns Hopkins fellowship in genetics under the guidance of Victor McKusick ’46, died at his home in Leavenworth, Kansas, on April 28, 2016. He was 81. In 1967, he described a new condition, CRST syndrome, a connective tissue disease associated with scleroderma, which became known as Schimke syndrome, or the “Schimke type” of other conditions that bear his name in McKusick’s Online Medelian Inheritance in Man. One of the first researchers to recognize the important role of genetics in cancer, Schimke was director of the University of Kansas’ Division of Endocrinology, Metabolism and Genetics from 1977 to 2000.

Lillian Runnerstrom (faculty, pediatrics, 1967–69), considered the “mother of midwifery” at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC), died at her home in Fort Meyers, Florida, on June 12, 2016. She was 96. As professor and head of maternal/child nursing at UIC from 1969 to 1980, she established the midwifery program there—the first of its kind in Illinois. Under her direction, it trained a cadre of professionals who, collectively, attended the births of more than 12,000 babies. The UIC College of Nursing honored her in 2003 by creating the Lillian Runnerstrom Institute of Excellence in the Study of Women, Children and Family Health.

Robert J. Stine (HS, emergency medicine, 1974–76; faculty, emergency medicine, medicine, surgery, 1976–80), of Paxton, Massachusetts, and Fort Myers, Florida, died on Feb. 22, 2015, of pancreatic cancer. He was 72. After being among the first physicians to complete an emergency medicine residency, he spent four years as associate director of the Division of Emergency Medicine at Baltimore City Hospitals, now Johns Hopkins Bayview. Over the subsequent 25 years, he headed hospital emergency departments in St. Louis and central Massachusetts.

Saul Sharkis (fellow, oncology, 1975–78; faculty, oncology, hematology, 1981–present), an internationally acclaimed scientist who was among the first to isolate blood stem cells and study their biology and how they could be used to treat cancer through bone marrow transplantation, died on Sept. 4, 2016. He was 72. His research was important to the progress of bone marrow and stem cell transplants because it helped reveal the mechanisms of engraftment.

David Solomon (faculty, neurology, 2000–present), died suddenly on Oct. 20, 2016. He was 57. He was instrumental in advancing the Johns Hopkins Center for Cerebrospinal Fluid Disorders and was an award-winning researcher as well as a gifted, compassionate physician.


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

Ollie H. Thompson ’49,
on July 13, 2016

Jerome T. Combs ’59,
on Oct. 13, 2016

Thomas Lynch (faculty, psychiatry and behavioral sciences, 1973–2007)
on Oct. 11, 2016