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I NM E M O R I A M

ALUMNI

Class of 1930

Word has been received of the death of retired psychiatrist Edward J. Humphreys in December 1997. A resident of Tulsa, Okla., Dr. Humphreys had been a member of the faculty at the University of Oklahoma and a consultant in special mental health projects in Tulsa. He was active in the promotion of community concern for problems in mental health, welfare, and corrections. He is survived by two sons.

Class of 1931

Retired internist Robert Hechler died June 26, 1998. He served as a major in the U.S. Marine Corps during World War II. He is survived by his wife, Leah, sons Steven and Peter, and two grandchildren.

Class of 1935

Harry L. Chasserot, a retired general surgeon from Bedford Hills, N.Y., died Dec. 18, 1997. Dr. Chasserot had been affiliated with the New Rochelle Hospital Medical Center and the New York Medical College Westchester County Medical Center Grasslands Hospital in Valhalla, N.Y. He is survived by a daughter, a son, and two grandchildren. . . . Bernard B. Eichler, a retired cardiologist who practiced in Verona, N.J., for close to six decades, died Jan. 21, 1998. He is survived by his wife, Evelyn, two sons, five grandchildren, and six great-grandchildren.

Class of 1937

John F. Higginson'37John F. Higginson, a retired surgeon and former member of the surgical faculty of Oregon’s medical school, died May 14, 1998. A specialist in thoracic, cardiovascular, and general surgery, Dr. Higginson had been affiliated with Santa Barbara Cottage, Santa Barbara General, and St. Francis hospitals in Santa Barbara, Calif. He was honored in 1982 by the Santa Barbara Community Cancer Committee, an educational organ for physicians he helped create, for his years of service to cancer patients in the area. Among his hobbies he once listed “remembering, watching, and listening to the ‘dum-dums’ of the world repeat the errors of centuries.” He served during World War II in the U.S. Naval Reserve Medical Corps and saw active duty in the Asiatic-Pacific Theater. Dr. Higginson is survived by two daughters, two sons, and five grandchildren.

 

Clifford L. Spingarn died June 20, 1998. A retired internist whose solo practice spanned many decades, Dr. Spingarn had a faculty appointment at Mount Sinai medical school, where he had trained, and was a longtime member of the staff of Beth Israel Hospital’s North Division, where he served as chairman of continuing education. Author of 38 scientific papers, Dr. Spingarn was the first to report the successful treatment of postural hypotension with an adrenal hormone, desoxycorticosterone, and devised a method still used for culturing amebae in the lab. He was a past president of the New York County Medical Society. In 1993, the Tebil Foundation endowed a teaching professorship in his name at Mount Sinai. That same year, he received the Wholeness of Life Award from the Hospital Chaplaincy. He saw active duty during World War II with the medical corps of the U.S. Naval Reserve, from which he retired with the rank of lieutenant colonel. Dr. Spingarn leaves behind his wife, Eleanor, a son, a daughter, and five grandchildren. His father, Alexander Spingarn, graduated from P&S in 1901.

Class of 1940

The alumni office has received belated word of the death of Frank Thompson on Dec. 23, 1995. A retired anesthesiologist, Dr. Thompson was affiliated with Blodgett Memorial Medical Center in Grand Rapids, Mich., and was a past president of the Michigan Society of Anesthesiologists. He is survived by his wife, Irene, three sons, and four grandchildren.

Class of 1942

A longtime family practitioner and past president of the San Diego County Medical Society, William T. Adams died July 7, 1998. A family doctor of the old school, Dr. Adams’ practice included general medicine, pediatrics, general surgery, anesthesia, and obstetrics whenever the stork landed locally. Following his retirement from active practice, he continued to serve as a volunteer physician at the Joan Kroc-St. Vincent DePaul Downtown Shelter for the Homeless and the Southeast San Diego Comprehensive Health Clinic. An avid pilot, Dr. Adams also served for many years with the Flying Physicians Association and the Flying Samaritans, making many trips to deliver care in remote parts of Mexico. Surviving him are his wife, Kay, three sons, and nine grandchildren. . . . Word has been received of the death of David T. Dresdale on Nov. 21, 1997. For many years the director of the cardiopulmonary section of the Maimonides Medical Center and clinical professor of medicine at SUNY Downstate Medical Center, Dr. Dresdale pursued research in which, among other accomplishments, he helped identify primary pulmonary hypertension. He is survived by a son and two daughters. . . . Harry R. Potter, a retired psychiatrist, died May 31, 1998, in a nursing home in Cresskill, N.J., from a cerebrovascular accident. He had long been affiliated with Roosevelt Hospital. He leaves behind his wife, Catharine, two sons, a daughter, and four grandchildren. A loyal alumnus, Dr. Potter established a scholarship in his and his wife’s name at P&S.

Class of 1943M

The Alumni Office has been informed of the death of Curtiss Cummings of Rockville, Md., sometime in 1998. A general practitioner, Dr. Cummings had been a member of the attending staff of Nassau Hospital, now known as Winthrop University Hospital, in Mineola, N.Y. Following 31 years of service in the U.S. Naval Reserve, Dr. Cummings retired as captain of the medical corps. In the course of active duty during World War II, he participated in the invasion of Japan and witnessed the raising of the flag at Iwo Jima. He was awarded six battle stars on the Pacific Area Ribbon and two on the Philippine Liberation Ribbon. He was appointed admiral in the Great Navy of the State of Nebraska, an honorary citation. In 1970 he was placed on permanent disability by the Navy for injuries incurred in the line of duty. He is survived by his wife, Eileen.

Class of 1945

The alumni office has learned of the death of Sidney S. Narrett in August 1997. A retired pediatrician in solo practice, Dr. Narrett served the community of Passaic, N.J., for many years, where he was an attending at Passaic General Hospital. He leaves behind his wife, Beatrice, five sons, and three grandchildren. . . . Edgardo Yordan died May 14, 1998, from complications of refractory aplastic anemia. A native of Ponce, Puerto Rico, Dr. Yordan was a member of Alpha Omega Alpha at P&S. Following his training in OB/GYN at Sloane Hospital for Women, he returned to Puerto Rico to pursue a distinguished career, serving for two decades as chairman of OB/GYN at the Ponce District Hospital, where he was instrumental in the development of a residency program. At the time, he was one of only a few specialists on the island and he subsequently helped train others. Dr. Yordan served in the medical corps of the U.S. Army during World War II. His wife preceded him in death. He is survived by four sons and a daughter.

Class of 1948

The alumni office has learned of the death of Milton R. Sapirstein in 1996. Dr. Sapirstein was professor emeritus of psychiatry at Mount Sinai Medical School.

Class of 1952

John Hegeman, a general surgeon who had retired to Bradenton, Fla., died March 3, 1998. Dr. Hegeman served as a pilot in the Marine Corps. He is survived by his wife, Grace, a daughter, and two sons.

Class of 1958PSY

Word has been received of the death of psychiatrist Charles F. Hesselbach on July 10, 1997. He had been suffering from Parkinson’s disease. He is survived by his wife, Carolyn.

Class of 1979

The alumni office has learned of the death of Robert S. Bisserup of Albany, N.Y., date unknown.

Correction

The late Charles A. Ross’46 was retired chief medical officer of the Disability Services Division for the State of Iowa and not, as previously reported, affiliated with the Iowa Department of Public Health. He is survived by his wife, Janet, a son, three daughters, and five grandchildren.

Dr. Albert Lamb Jr.’40
Dec. 3, 1913–Aug. 13, 1998

A Remembrance By Peter E. Dans’61

How lucky I was to have had Dr. Lamb as my P&S Admissions Committee interviewer. I approached that day in 1957 with great trepidation; after all, only one student had ever been admitted from Manhattan College. As it turned out, more than 60 percent of the class would be drawn from four schools (Princeton, Columbia, Harvard, and Yale). Having grown up in a cold water flat and a New York housing project, I was awed by the elegant surroundings. This courtly, gentle man, whose name couldn’t have been more apt, ushered me into his office and made me feel at home. During a wide-ranging discussion of life and literature, he ascertained that, because of my family’s finances, I was applying to only three New York schools within commuting distance of home. As we parted, he told me to call him if I was accepted elsewhere before hearing from P&S. When I did, he told me to hold off because a letter would soon be in the mail. In doing so, he unlocked the door to a magical world populated by a litany of dedicated teachers like Seegal, Werthheim, Leifer, Atchley, V.K. Frantz, Bailey, Dunton, Grokoest, Rose, Kneeland, A. Southam, etc. Many alumni whose lives were touched by this self-effacing, kind man probably have similar stories.

After reading his recent account of the contributions of Presbyterian Hospital’s doctors and nurses in the Second General Hospital unit during World War II, I called to thank him for the role he played in my life. Mrs. Lamb gracefully told me that he had died a few weeks before. She turned what could have been a very awkward moment into an extraordinarily warm and rich reminiscence. I’m indebted to her for following up with a letter in which she outlined some of the details of a life that deserves to be celebrated.

Dr. Lamb’s devotion to medicine and to P&S was nurtured early in his life. The son of Dr. Albert Lamb Sr., he was present at the 1925 groundbreaking ceremonies for Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center, to which he later dedicated 37 years of his life. A graduate of Taft School and Yale, he entered P&S in 1936 and was elected to Alpha Omega Alpha and as class president, a position he held until his death. After two years of housestaff training at CPMC, he left to join the Second General Hospital unit for what turned out to be a three-year extended residency. In his book, Dr. Lamb recounts numerous instances of compassionate and life-saving care as well as seminal research in the use of penicillin, surgical advances, and the like. The book was both a labor of love and the fulfillment of a filial obligation by someone who took promises seriously. His father, who wrote a history of Presbyterian Hospital covering 1868 to 1943, promised that his son would write such an account. With characteristic modesty, Dr. Lamb refers to himself infrequently and always in the third person. Conversely, he speaks in awed tones of his superiors. I found myself wishing that he had not been so humble.

Still, that reticence, which allowed him to listen intently and observe carefully, was probably what made him such an excellent physician and counselor as director of the student health service. He also directed the Group Clinic, a fourth-year ambulatory care rotation that was well in advance of its time. Students performed a meticulous history and physical examination on selected patients each day and then discussed the diagnostic findings and therapeutic plan with attending physicians before seeing their follow-up patients. Seemingly “inefficient” by today’s standards, it served patients and students well.

Dr. Lamb and the former Julia Flitner, his wife of 56 years, raised four very accomplished children. They enjoyed hosting student clerks for dinner at their home in Englewood, N.J. During his leisure hours, Dr. Lamb was a vestryman at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, a genealogist of some note, and an avid gardener. He was committed to conservation activities along the Palisades and the Hudson Highlands, where he helped create “The Black Rock Forest Consortium,” a wilderness preserve adjacent to West Point. In sum, if, as Plutarch said, “the measure of a man’s life is the well-spending of it,” then Dr. Lamb’s life was extraordinary. He set many ships out to sea and I regret that one arrived in port too late to thank him for an exciting voyage. Yet, I have to believe that somewhere up there he’s listening and smiling benignly.

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