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In Memoriam

Inform us of a death
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Summer 2012 issue (pdf)

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

Dominick DiMaio, MD ’40, of New York, died March 31, 2012. He was a forensic pathologist.

Louis J. Cella Jr., MD ’48, of Palm Springs, Calif., died Nov. 7, 2011, after a lengthy neurological illness. He was 87 years old. Dr. Cella held a private medical practice for more than 30 years at the Santa Ana Clinic in Orange County. In the early 1960s he spearheaded a group of fellow physicians to buy and operate a community hospital, which led to the development of three other doctor-owned hospitals in Orange County. Dr. Cella was involved in numerous civic organizations including the Arthritis Foundation, Boys and Girls Club and Goodwill Industries. He was preceded in death by his first wife, Ann, and his second wife, Beverly. His survivors include two sons and two grandchildren.

John L. Raschbacher, MD ’50, formerly of Big Bend, Wis., died Oct. 14, 2011, in West Melbourne, Fla. He was 91 years old. Dr. Raschbacher was an instructor at the Medical College of Wisconsin and the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health. He was a member of the American Academy of Family Physicians, the American Medical Association and the Waukesha County Medical Society. Dr. Raschbacher was a veteran of the U.S. Navy and survived the attack on Pearl Harbor during World War II. His survivors include his wife, Leona, three children and four grandchildren.

David C. Bleil, MD ’51, GME ’54, of Kenosha, Wis., died Jan. 12, 2012. He was 87 years old. Dr. Bleil was preceded in death by his wife, Barbara. His survivors include four children and seven grandchildren.

William Edward Lenahan, MD ’51, of Fullerton, Calif., died Feb. 20, 2012, of cancer. He was 86 years old. Dr. Lenahan served in the Army Air Corps as B-24 bombardier/navigator in World War II. He provided more than 44 years of family practice in Fullerton until his retirement. A member of Mission Doctor’s Association and Amigos de la Americas, Dr. Lenahan traveled to Africa, the Dominican Republic and Guatemala to provide medical care to the poor. His survivors include his wife, Pat, six children, 16 grandchildren and eight great grandchildren.

John L. Claude, MD ’53, of Oconomowoc, Wis., died Feb. 6, 2012. He was 84 years old. Dr. Claude was an OB/GYN in the Oconomowoc area for 41 years. Prior to medical school he served as a pharmacist’s mate in the Naval Medical Corps and was stationed in Trinidad for three years. He took a hiatus from medicine in 1979, moving his family to Augsburg, Germany, where he served three years as a lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army. He was preceded in death by his wife, Mary. His survivors include seven children, 11 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

Donald L. Schaefer, MD ’53, of Ann Arbor, Mich., died Dec. 20, 2011, of heart failure. He was 85 years old. Dr. Schaefer served in the South Pacific with the U.S. Army Air Forces in World War II. He later was a captain in the Wisconsin National Guard and a major in the Michigan Air National Guard. Dr. Schaefer was a psychiatrist in private practice for 50 years. He also served as Psychiatric Director of the University of Michigan Student Mental Health Clinic and Medical Director of Family Service and Children’s Aid in Jackson, Mich. Dr. Schaefer was a member of the American Psychiatric Association and the Michigan Psychiatric Society. His survivors include his wife, Anna Marie, four children and three grandchildren.

John J. Brady, MD ’84, of Belleair, Fla., died Nov. 4, 2011, from complications of Parkinson’s disease. He was 84 years old.  Dr. Brady served as a captain in the U.S. Air Force Medical Corps. He was a Fellow of the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology. He practiced in Milwaukee for 12 years before entering private practice at Morton Plant Hospital in Clearwater, Fla. until his retirement in 1998. His survivors include his wife of 57 years, Mary, eight children and 19 grandchildren.

Sherwood B. Stolp, MD ’54, GME ’60, Fel ’62, of Wauwatosa, Wis., died April 4, 2012. Dr. Stolp was retired from practice in internal medicine and nephrology.

Steven To June Lee, MD ’55, of Beckley, W. Va., died July 22, 2011, of liver cancer. He was 82 years old.  Dr. Lee spent two years as a captain in the U.S. Army Medical Corps in Colorado Springs, Colo.  He began his career as a surgeon at the Miners Memorial Hospital, now the Beckley Appalachian Regional Hospital. He was a founding member of the Southern West Virginia Clinic in 1964, where he worked until his retirement in 2001. He also practiced general and thoracic surgery at Raleigh General Hospital in Beckley and trained medical students and surgical residents. Dr. Lee was a member of the American College of Surgeons, the Raleigh County Medical Society and the West Virginia Medical Society. His survivors include seven children and several grandchildren.

Robert Schroeder, MD ’56, of Long Beach, Calif., died Aug. 27, 2011, after a lengthy illness. Dr. Schroeder was a urologist for 37 years at Providence Little Company of Mary Medical Center in San Pedro, Calif. Dr. Schroeder was preceded in death by his daughter, Kimberly. Survivors include his wife, Patricia, and five children.

Donald John Chrzan, MD ’57, of Muskego, Wis., died May 1, 2012. He was 80 years old. Dr. Chrzan served two years as a captain and medical officer in the U.S. Army in Ft. Carson, Colo. He subsequently practiced otolaryngology in Milwaukee and served as Chairman of the Department of Otolaryngology and President of the Medical Staff at St. Luke’s Medical Center. His survivors include his wife, Dolores, four children and eight grandchildren.

William M. Lamers, MD ’58William M. Lamers, MD ’58, of Malibu, Calif., died Feb. 2, 2012. He was 80 years old. Dr. Lamers was a pioneer of the home care hospice movement, developing palliative care methods for the dying that are used widely around the world today. In 1974, after several years of practice in child and family psychiatry, Dr. Lamers co-founded the first hospice of its kind in his own home in San Rafel, Calif., now known as Hospice by the Bay. Dr. Lamers also helped create the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization that sets standards for end-of-life care and was the medical adviser to the Hospice Foundation of America. He served as a lieutenant commander at the Oak Knoll Naval Hospital in Oakland, Calif. His survivors include his wife, Elizabeth, three children and two stepchildren.

Ingrid Jurevics, MD, GME ’60, died March 29, 2012, in Chicago following a stroke. She was 85 years old. Dr. Jurevics was born in Riga, Latvia, and emigrated to Canada during World War II. She practiced ophthalmology in Milwaukee and Brookfield and was a Fellow of the American College of Surgery and the American Academy of Ophthalmology. Dr. Jurevics brought medicine, medical instruments and surgical training to ophthalmologists in Latvia following the fall of the Soviet Union. Dr. Jurevics was preceded in death by her husband, Alfred. Her survivors include three children and six grandchildren.

John William Curtin, MD ’61, of Scottsdale, Ariz., died Jan. 14, 2012. He was 78 years old. Dr. Curtin was a family practitioner and one of three founders of Mountain View Medical Clinic in Phoenix, Ariz. He was a past president of the Arizona Academy of Family Physicians. Dr. Curtin subspecialized in addiction medicine and helped hundreds of people suffering from chemical dependency. He was preceded in death by a daughter. Survivors include his four sons and four grandsons, along with numerous foster children he parented.

Jerome J. Veranth, MD ’61, GME ’66, of Racine and Lake Tomahawk, Wis., died March 9, 2012, in Scottsdale, Ariz. He was 77 years old. A Naval Reservist, Dr. Veranth served as Assistant Chief of ENT service at the U.S. Naval Hospital in Philadelphia. Following his honorable discharge as a lieutenant commander in 1968, he began practicing medicine as an Ear, Nose and Throat Surgeon in Racine and volunteering on the clinical otolaryngology faculty of the Medical College of Wisconsin. Dr. Veranth served as President of the Milwaukee Society of Head and Neck Surgery and was the founding President of the Racine Area Physicians Association. He also served terms as Chief of Surgery and Vice Chief of Staff at St. Mary’s Medical Center in Racine. In 1994, he established the Ear, Nose and Throat Department at Rhinelander Regional Medical Group in Rhinelander, Wis., where he practiced until his retirement in 2000. His survivors include three sons and nine grandchildren.

Ward J. Mahowald, MD ’62, GME ’68, of Dallas, Texas, died Nov. 26, 2011. He was 73 years old. Dr. Mahowald served the U.S. Army 7th Calvary Division in Schweinfurt, Germany, as a physician. He established an ophthalmology practice at the Oak Cliff Eye Center and surgery practice at Methodist Hospital in Dallas. Dr. Mahowald continued to volunteer at Methodist Hospital following his retirement. His survivors include four children and 11 grandchildren.

Raymond J. McDermott, MD ’71, GME ’73, of Milwaukee, died March 11, 2012. He was 68 years old. Dr. McDermott served as Assistant Clinical Professor of Internal Medicine at the Medical College of Wisconsin and past Medical Director of AC Sparkplug and Delco Electronics of Oak Creek, Wis. He was a charter Fellow of the American College of Emergency Physicians and charter Diplomate of the American Board of Emergency Medicine. His survivors include his wife, Claudia, seven children and one grandchild.

Ephrem “Appachen” Thoppil, MD, GME ’78, died Jan. 31, 2012. He was 65 years old. Dr. Thoppil served as a staff physician at St. Luke’s Medical Center in Milwaukee and was a past president of the Wisconsin Society of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. His survivors include his wife, Thersiama, two children and two grandchildren.

Jane A. Kilsdonk-Sliwinski, MD ’82, MPH ’90, of Green Bay, Wis., died Feb.  4, 2012. She was 56 years old. Dr. Kilsdonk-Sliwinski worked as an occupational medicine physician with Prevea of Green Bay. Her survivors include her two children, one stepson and a step-granddaughter.

Carol M. Meils, MD ’83, of Milwaukee, died April 1, 2012, following a lengthy battle with breast cancer. She was 59 years old. Dr. Meils was a critical care nurse before earning her MD. She was the first female fellow in interventional cardiology at Johns Hopkins University. Dr. Meils practiced cardiology in Milwaukee and helped develop the cardiovascular program at All Saints Hospital in Racine. In 2010, Dr. Meils became the first Wisconsin recipient of the American Heart Association’s Lifetime Achievement Award. She was a founding member of the Medical College of Wisconsin’s Women in Science series. Survivors include her husband, Eric, and one son.

Ray S. Bender, Jr., MD ’92, GME ’96, of Mequon, Wis., died May 7, 2012 after a brief illness. He was 64 years old. Dr. Bender taught as a junior high and high school science teacher for many years before attending medical school. A psychiatrist in private practice, Dr. Bender was an attending physician at Columbia St. Mary’s Hospital in Milwaukee. He was a Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association and a Diplomate of the National Board of Medical Examiners. Survivors include his wife, Christina.

Mary Pat Kunert, PhD ’94, of Milwaukee, died March 16, 2012. She was 62 years old. Dr. Kunert spent her early career as a registered nurse in the public health field. She later earned a PhD in physiology. Dr. Kunert taught for 10 years at the College of Nursing at Marquette University and was a member of the College of Nursing at UW-Milwaukee until her death.

Michael A. Samuelson, MD ’94, of Seal Beach, Calif., died suddenly July 6, 2011. He was 44 years old. Dr. Samuelson was a sports medicine orthopaedics specialist at Fullerton Orthopaedic Group and volunteered as team doctor for Fullerton High School. Dr. Samuelson was a member of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, the California Orthopaedic Association, the American Medical Association and the Arthroscopy Association of North America. Survivors include his wife, Michelle, and two daughters.

Other special remembrances

Dr. Sanford J. Larson, former Neurosurgery Chair and Distinguished Service Award recipient, dies at age 82

Sanford J. Larson, MD, PhD, who founded the Division of Neurosurgery in 1963 and was the first Chairman when it became a full-fledged department in 1988, died March 15. He was 82 years old.

Dr. Larson joined the Medical College (then the Marquette School of Medicine) faculty in 1963, and at the time, was the only full-time faculty member specializing in neurosurgery.  In 1986, he started the Spine Fellow Program in Neurosurgery, a model that has become a standard for fellowships at academic medical centers across the country. He served as Department Chair from 1988 to 1999, and was named Professor Emeritus in 1999.

The Medical College honored Dr. Larson with the Distinguished Service Award, its highest honor, in 1992.

Dr. Larson left a legacy of commitment, innovation and excellence. His innovations—ranging from functional and stereotactic procedures to complex spinal problems—are found throughout his research and were implemented in his clinical practice. Dr. Larson’s vision for diversified research at the Medical College propelled the department and its laboratories at the Medical College, Froedtert Hospital, and the Clement J. Zablocki VA Medical Center, to become the most productive for injury biomechanics in the country. 

He founded the AANS/CNS Joint Spine Section, the largest neurosurgery spine organization, and served as its Chair for several years.  He was also President of the Cervical Spine Research Society.  He is widely recognized as one of the seminal spine surgeons of the era.

To honor this legacy, the Department of Neurosurgery created the annual Sanford J. Larson, MD, PhD, Visiting Professor Lecture and Scientific Day in 2011. Also in 2011, an endowed chair in neurosurgery was created to honor Dr. Larson.   

“Dr. Sanford Larson had a profound impact on neuroscience care and research at the Medical College of Wisconsin, and consequently, throughout the world,” said Dennis J. Maiman, MD, PhD, Sanford J. Larson Chair of Neurosurgery. “He was an amazing mentor and friend, and we will continue to benefit from his vision for generations to come.”

Dr. Larson also has a national research award named in his honor, which is presented by the  American Association of Neurological Surgeons/ Congress of Neurological Surgeons.

In addition to his academic pursuits, Dr. Larson was a Major in the United States Air Force reserves from 1955-1972, and served in active duty in Wiesbaden, Germany, from 1957-1959.

Dr. Larson received his medical degree from the Northwestern University School of Medicine in 1954, where he also completed his neurosurgical residency.  He also earned a PhD in anatomy from Northwestern University in 1962. He received his BA from Wheaton College in 1950. 

He is survived by his daughters, Mary Larson and Nancy Radosevich (Richard), and his son, Michael Larson.  He was preceded in death by his wife Jackie.

There will be a visitation and service for Dr. Larson on Tuesday, March 20, at Our Redeemer Lutheran Church, 10025 W. North Ave., in Wauwatosa. The visitation will be from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and the service will be held at 1 p.m.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorials be directed to Bethesda Lutheran Communities, 600 Hoffman Drive, Watertown, WI, 53094.


Dr. Ahmed H. Kissebah dies at age 74

Ahmed H. Kissebah, MD, PhD, an internationally recognized obesity researcher and father of the field of study on metabolic syndrome, died on Thursday, May 17, at his home in Brookfield.  Dr. Kissebah was Professor of Medicine and Director of the TOPS (Take

Off Pounds Sensibly) Obesity and Metabolic Research Center at the Medical College of Wisconsin. He was 74 years old.

Dr. Kissebah’s research in the field of metabolism, obesity and genetics is internationally renowned.  In 1981, he described for the first time a cluster of metabolic features characterized by a cluster of symptoms that became known as “Metabolic Syndrome.”  His seminal publication described the role of insulin resistance in the metabolic complications of abdominal body fat versus gluteal obesity—known to the lay public as the “apple” versus “pear” body shape – and the health effects of each.

“Dr. Kissebah was a true leader and scientist, both at the Medical College and in the community,” said John R. Raymond, Sr, MD, President and CEO of the Medical College.  “His ideas led to innovation and discoveries that shaped the field of metabolic research.  He will be missed a great deal.”

Dr. Kissebah joined the Medical College of Wisconsin faculty in 1977, where he served as Associate Director, and later the Director, of the National Institutes of Health-designated General Clinical Research Center.  At the time of his death, he was a Professor of Medicine, Pediatrics, Pharmacology & Toxicology, and Pathology, and was a core faculty member of the Human and Molecular Genetics Center.

Over the last 15 years, Dr. Kissebah redirected his research towards exploring the genetic causes of obesity.  He led a team of researchers from the Medical College of Wisconsin, the Southwest Foundation for Biomedical Research and TOPS Club, Inc, a Milwaukee-based international non-profit weight loss organization, in a landmark discovery that an area on chromosome 3 is associated with all the fundamental features of obesity; since then, he has identified three other genes associated with Metabolic Syndrome. 

He was known for new ideas and novel research projects; to that end, he worked closely with TOPS Club, Inc., to explore obesity in families. TOPS members nationwide provided not only data for research, but also significant financial support of Dr. Kissebah’s work.

That work has been recognized through a number of honors including the Outstanding Foreign Investigator Award (Japan), the distinguished Armour Award from the President of Egypt, the Princess Margaret Distinguished Research  Award (Great Britain) and the King Faisel Distinguished Scientist Award (Saudi Arabia). He chaired and organized several international meetings including the 1993 annual meeting of the North American Association for the Study of Obesity (NAASO).

He also served as a reviewer of many national and international committees including the Metabolism Study Section (1988-1992).  He authored more than 200 scientific papers and 250 scientific presentations. He is a fellow in the American College of Physicians (US) and the Royal Society of Medicine (UK) and the International Society of Medicine (Switzerland).

In addition to his research, Dr. Kissebah was a physician and teacher.  Dr. Kissebah cared for thousands of patients through his practice at Froedtert & The Medical College of Wisconsin, and through his involvement with the TOPS patients involved in clinical studies. He mentored nearly three dozen PhD candidates, early career physicians, fellows, and medical students.

Dr. Kissebah was born in Damietta, Egypt, in 1937.  He graduated from the Faculty of Medicine, Cairo University, in 1961.  He received a Master of Science in 1966 and a Doctor of Medical Science in 1969 from Cairo University.  He did fellowship training in endocrinology, metabolism and clinical nutrition at Hammersmith Hospital in the United Kingdom, and obtained his PhD in molecular biology from the Royal Post Graduate Medical School in London.

Dr. Kissebah is survived by his wife, Amani (Maguid) Kissebah, daughters Moushira (Joseph) Wendelberger and Dahlia Kissebah, and grand-daughter, Layla Wendelberger. A memorial service will be held from 5 – 8 pm on Monday, May 21, at Becker Ritter Funeral Home in Brookfield.

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