In Memoriam

Inform us of a death

Fall-Winter 2011 issue (pdf)

Alumni News accepts and publishes obituaries of Medical College of Wisconsin, Marquette School of Medicine, and Marquette University School of Medicine alumni.

Joseph F. Melancon, MD ’40, of St. Paul, Minn., died May 1, 2010. He was 95 years old. Dr. Melancon practiced obstetrics and gynecology for more than 40 years at United and St. Joseph’s hospitals in St. Paul. He was preceded in death by his wife, Phyllis, and a granddaughter. His survivors include four children, 11 grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.

Alfred L. Axtmayer, MD ’43, GME ’50, of Puerto Rico died July 30, 2011, after a long illness. He was 91 years old. Dr. Axtmayer served as a captain in the U.S. Armed Forces before training in general surgery and cardiovascular surgery. For several years, he was a staff surgeon at the VA Hospital in San Juan, later entering into a private surgery practice. A diplomate of the American Board of Surgery, Dr. Axtmayer was Clinical Professor of Surgery at the University of Puerto Rico School of Medicine, a past president of the Puerto Rico Heart Association and a leadership member of the Puerto Rico Medical Association. He also served as governor of the Puerto Rico chapter of the American College of Surgeons as well as president of one of the largest local health services organizations in the commonwealth. His survivors include his wife, Alicia; four children and several grandchildren.

Benedict A. Biasini, MD ’43, of Charlotte, N.C., died Jan. 7, 2011. He was 93 years old. Dr. Biasini served as a medic in Europe during World War II. He practiced family medicine and served as Chief of Staff at Memorial Hospital in South Bend, Ind. Dr. Biasini enjoyed reading, fishing and gardening. He is survived by two children, a grandson and two great-grandchildren.

Alfred J. Spagnuolo, MD ’43, of Lansing, Mich., died March 30, 2011. He was 92 years old. Dr. Spagnuolo served as a medic in World War II before returning to Lansing to begin his family practice. He also served as Chief of Staff at Ingham Regional Medical Center. After retiring from family practice in 1985, Dr. Spagnuolo worked at General Motors in occupational medicine until his retirement in 2005. He enjoyed golfing and was involved in the Italian American Club, Knights of Columbus and Sons of Italy. Dr. Spagnuolo was preceded in death by his first wife, Helen, and his second wife, Jane. His survivors include four children, five grandchildren and eight great-children.  

Clark H. Boren, MD ’46 (March), of Marinette, Wis., died March 21, 2011. He was 90 years old. Dr. Boren served in the U.S. Air Force before opening his own family medical practice in 1949. He retired in 1987. Dr. Boren was a past Chief of Medicine at Marinette General Hospital, Menominee County-Lloyd Hospital and Bay Area Medical Center. He also held terms as President of the Marinette County Medical Society and the Marinette Lion’s Club. Dr. Boren’s survivors include his wife, Maryon; two children; eight grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren.

Robert D. Hume, Jr., MD’ 46 (March), of Farmington, N.M., died March 29, 2011. He was 89 years old. Dr. Hume served in the Army as a military ship’s doctor and a regimental surgeon in the 187th Airborne during the Korean War. He was awarded the Bronze Star for making two combat jumps behind enemy lines. Dr. Hume later became Chief of Obstetrics, Gynecology and General Surgery at the Army base of Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md. He opened an OB/GYN practice in Farmington, N.M., in 1957 and assisted in the delivery of more than 6,000 babies before retiring in 1984. Dr. Hume was preceded in death by his wife, Joan. His survivors include seven children, 14 grandchildren, 22 great-grandchildren and one great-great-grandchild.

Loren L. Thompson, MD ’46 (March), of Pinehurst, N.C., died Feb. 25, 2011. He was 89 years old. Dr. Thompson worked as a radiologist at St. Vincent’s Hospital in Green Bay, Wis. before retiring to Pinehurst in 1988. He served a term as President of the Wisconsin Radiological Society. Dr. Thompson is survived by his wife, Janet, four children and six grandchildren.

Marian Rejent, MD ’46 (November), of Toledo, Ohio, died Feb. 27, 2011. She was 90 years old. Dr. Rejent served as Chief of Pediatrics at the Toledo Health Department and Acting Chairman of Pediatrics at the Medical College of Ohio – Toledo. She held an Adjunct Professorship at the University of Toledo and three Associate Professorships at the Medical College of Ohio. She held staff appointments at St. Vincent, Flower, Mercy and Toledo hospitals. Dr. Rejent enjoyed traveling, painting and photography.

Robert F. Gosin, MD ’52, of Westminster, Calif., died Feb. 18, 2011. He was 86 years old. Dr. Gosin served as a commissioned officer in the U.S. Army and practiced medicine until his retirement in 1986. Dr. Gosin’s survivors include his wife, Dianne; four children; six grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.

Jack E. Thompson, MD ’52, of Tucson, Ariz., died July 13, 2011, after a seven-year battle with Alzheimer’s disease. He was 85 years old. Dr. Thompson practiced anesthesiology in Mountain View, Calif., for 42 years. He enjoyed building historical wooden model sailing ships in addition to travel and family time. His survivors include his wife of more than 29 years, Susan; three children; five grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren.

Robert K. Ausman, MD ’57Robert K. Ausman, MD ’57, died Aug. 7, 2011. He was 78 years old. Dr. Ausman was a longtime faculty member of the Department of Surgery at The Medical College of Wisconsin, serving as Clinical Professor from 1970-2011. He worked for decades at Baxter Healthcare Corporation in Illinois, retiring as President of Baxter’s Advance Development Group.  He pioneered isolated organ perfusion for cancer and helped develop the intravenous pump systems used today. Dr. Ausman and his family (the Ausman Family Foundation) were instrumental in launching the creation of a simulation training center in the Department of Surgery at the Medical College. He is survived by his wife Christine, two stepsons and two step grandchildren.

Albert Schmitt, MD ’57, of Phoenix, Ariz., died in December 2010. He practiced family medicine.

Ralph E. Tomkiewicz, MD ’59, of Racine, Wis., died June 27, 2011. He was 80 years old. Dr. Tomkiewicz served in the U.S. Navy in Korea and Vietnam from 1952 until 1955. He later practiced psychiatry in Racine and Kenosha, establishing the Psychiatric Unit at Kenosha’s Saint Catherine’s Hospital in 1964. He also was on staff at Kenosha Memorial Hospital, St. Mary’s and St. Luke’s in Racine, as well as being a staff member at Carthage College. Dr. Tomkiewicz was an avid runner and tennis player, completing marathons and achieving rankings in the Wisconsin Tennis Association. He was fond of classical music, literature and history. Dr. Tomkiewicz is survived by his wife, Rita, and five children.

Abdallah Melkonian, MD, GME ’61, of Fox Point, Wis., died Aug. 8, 2011. He was 82 years old. Dr. Melkonian was born in Heliopolis, Egypt, and moved to America to serve his residency. He was a longtime physician and surgeon and a founding member of St. Mary’s Burn Center in Milwaukee. Dr. Melkonian enjoyed traveling and entertaining. His survivors include his wife, Yolande, six children and 14 grandchildren.

Thomas F. Walker, MD ’63, GME ’69, of Green Bay, Wis., died May 20, 2011. He was 74 years old. Formerly of Milwaukee, Dr. Walker practiced anesthesiology.

Thomas L. Bowen, MD ’67, died Aug. 20, 2011, at his home in Solon, Iowa. He was 72 years old. Dr. Bowen served as a captain in the U.S. Army for a year in Vietnam and a year in Seattle. He was the second emergency medicine doctor in Springfield, Mo., at St. John’s Hospital for five years. He spent the following 19 years as a primary care physician at Smith-Glynn-Callaway Clinic in Springfield, now a branch of St. John’s Hospital and Clinics. He retired in 1996. He loved nature, camping, fishing, and traveling. His survivors include his wife, Judy, two daughters and two grandsons. He was preceded in death by his son.

Erskine Tucker Sr., MD, GME ’68, of Milwaukee, died Aug. 23, 2011. He was 81 years old. Dr. Tucker served as a medical technologist for the U.S. Army in Germany. He later earned his medical degree from Meharry Medical College in Nashville, Tenn., and served his internship at the former Milwaukee County Hospital. Dr. Tucker was appointed Chief Pathologist and Directory of Laboratory Services at St. Francis Hospital, becoming the first African American to hold this position in Milwaukee. He enjoyed golf, basketball, gardening and traveling. Dr. Tucker served on the boards of the Wisconsin Conference of the United Methodist Church, Curative Care Network, Milwaukee Area Technical College and the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Milwaukee. He was preceded in death by his wife, Ruth. His survivors include three children and three grandchildren.

E. James Aiman, MD ’69, GME ’74E. James Aiman, MD ’69, GME ’74, died July 5, 2011. He was 68 years old. Dr. Aiman was a faculty member at The Medical College of Wisconsin for 29 years. He was Professor and Vice Chairman of Obstetrics and Gynecology and twice served as Acting Chairman of the department. He was a charter member of the Medical College’s Society of Teaching Scholars and was once named Teacher of the Year by the Association of Professors of Gynecology and Obstetrics. Dr. Aiman specialized in infertility and played a key role in the formation of the current OB/GYN residency program. He enjoyed music, photography and the history of medicine. He is survived by his wife, JoAnn, and two sons.

Andani S. Prakash, MD, GME ’79, of Brentwood, Tenn., died Jan. 16, 2010. He was 64 years old. Dr. Prakash immigrated to Canada from India in 1971. He traveled to Milwaukee in 1975 to pursue a residency in physical and rehabilitation medicine. Dr. Prakash served as a major at the Walter Reed Medical Center in Washington, D.C., before moving to Brentwood, Tenn., in 1982 to begin private practice. He retired in 2002. Dr. Prakash enjoyed travel, the arts, reading and collecting Indian art. He is survived by his wife, Lalitha.

Lovetta A. Brown, MD ’81Lovetta A. Brown, MD ’81, of Milwaukee, died Aug. 22, 2011. She was 62 years old. Following medical school Dr. Brown earned a Master’s in Public Health from John Hopkins University. She spent most of her professional life in Mississippi and was named Medical Director of the Mississippi Office of Health Disparity Elimination. She also founded the Mississippi Health Awareness Project, a community-based organization that addresses HIV, gang and violence prevention. Dr. Brown’s public health efforts led to the establishment of the first Boys and Girls Club in northern Mississippi. In 1998, she developed the Safe at Home program, a home maternity case management program for non-Medicaid patients. That same year, she was named physician of the year by the National Health Service Corps.

Norman L. Melnikoff, MD, GME ’81, of Gardnerville, Nev., died July 21, 2011. He was 69 years old. Dr. Melnikoff served in Kabul, Afghanistan, as the U.S. Army’s senior medical advisor to the surgeon general of the Afghan Army. He was previously deployed in Iraq for six years. Dr. Melnikoff was an Associate Professor in the Department of Emergency Medicine in the University of California, Davis Health System in Sacramento and a forensic medical consultant in Nevada, Montana and California. When not working overseas, Dr. Melnikoff loved to spend time at his horse ranch in Gardnerville. He is survived by his wife, Shirley; a daughter; two granddaughters; and a great-granddaughter.

Gary Helmbrecht, MD ’84, of Charlottesville, Va., died Feb. 10, 2011. He was 53 years old. Dr. Helmbrecht served actively in the U.S. Navy Medical Corps from 1984 until 1990. He began practicing maternal-fetal medicine in Charlottesville in 2004 and was instrumental in expanding the Prenatal Diagnosis Center, a regional center for the care of high-risk pregnancies. Dr. Helmbrecht established the Rubinstein-Taybi Syndrome Foundation in honor of his youngest son, Wesley. The foundation provides medical equipment and supplies for children with special needs. Dr. Helmbrecht is survived by his wife, Jocelynn, four children and three nieces for whom he was guardian.

Fernando F. Rustia, MD ’92, of Racine, Wis., died June 6, 2010. He was 53 years old. Dr. Rustia practiced medicine in Racine for 13 years, most recently with the Aurora Health Center. He was a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Wisconsin Medical Association and the Racine Medical Association. Dr. Rustia enjoyed ballroom dancing, photography and painting. His survivors include his wife, Nancy, and a stepdaughter.


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