Remembering the faculty and alumni of
University's College of
Physicians & Surgeons
Charles R. Noback, Ph.D.
Charles R. Noback, a member of the P&S faculty for 50 years, died Feb. 4, 2009. Known for his insights into the primate visual system, he had been professor emeritus of anatomy & cell biology since his retirement in 1986.
Dr. Noback graduated from Cornell University and received his Ph.D. in 1942 from the University of Minnesota. He joined the Department of Anatomy & Cell Biology in 1949 and became full professor in 1968. He served as acting chairman of the department for two years. He conducted research in developmental and comparative anatomy and the evolution of the vertebrate nervous system and taught neuroanatomy, microscopic anatomy, and gross anatomy to medical and dental students. He also taught physical and occupational therapy students and an anatomy course offered through Columbia’s School of General Studies. His book, “The Human Nervous System,” has been a standard text for many decades and has been translated into multiple languages. The last edition was published in 1996 and the 2005 paperback edition is still in print.
Other Faculty Deaths
George S. Goldman, M.D., former clinical professor of psychiatry and director of the Columbia University Center for Psychoanalytic Training and Research from 1961 to 1971, died Nov. 8, 2008.
Class of 1938
Alexander D. Papas, a retired orthopedic surgeon formerly affiliated with St. Vincent’s Hospital in New York, died Nov. 9, 2008. Dr. Papas served in the U.S. Army during World War II. He was the first recipient of the “Esteemed Colleague of the Year” award of the Hellenic Medical Society, of which he was a longtime member. Dr. Papas was a loyal alumnus and staunch supporter of the medical school. He is survived by his wife, Fay.
Class of 1939
Martin E. Anderson Jr., a retired orthopedic surgeon from Denver, Colo., died June 26, 2008. Dr. Anderson had been a member of the clinical faculty at the University of Colorado Medical School and was affiliated with Presbyterian, St. Joseph’s, St. Anthony’s, Children’s, and St. Luke’s hospitals in Denver. In his free time he loved to ski and climb mountains. He served with the U.S. Army Medical Corps during World War II. He is survived by his wife, Mary.
Class of 1940
Maurice J. Keller, a retired pediatrician and former member of the clinical faculty at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, died July 15, 2008. He was 93. Dr. Keller had been affiliated with St. Louis Children’s Hospital and, following his retirement, volunteered at a free clinic run by the Jeff-Vander-Lou neighborhood organization. Dr. Keller served as a captain and flight surgeon in the U.S. Army Air Forces and saw active duty in the China-Burma-India theater during World War II. He was one of the airmen who flew “the hump,” a perilous passage over the Himalayan Mountains between India and China. He is survived by his wife, Helene, two daughters, a son, and three grandchildren.
Class of 1941
Katharine S. “Kitty” Smoot died in January 2009. A research rheumatologist affiliated with the University of Chicago, she worked on childhood rheumatic fever. Outside of medicine she loved the sea and sailing and weathered Hurricane Carol aboard a 40-foot cutter off the Isles of Shoals. Preceded in death by her husband, William Sidney Smoot, she is survived by a daughter and two grandchildren.
Class of 1943D
Margaret B. “Peggy” Kinsella, a retired internist and public health physician who specialized in rehabilitation medicine, died Jan. 2, 2009. She was 90 years old. A scholarship was established in her name at the Saint Louis University School of Medicine. Dr. Kinsella and her late husband, Ralph A. Kinsella Jr., M.D, shared the 1992 Health Care Leadership Award from the Hospital Association of Metropolitan St. Louis. Survived by seven children and 11 grandchildren, she was a loyal alumna and staunch supporter of the medical school.
|Margaret B. “Peggy” Kinsella’43D
Class of 1944
Charles L. Cunniff, a retired internist, died Jan. 4, 2009. Following years of private practice he served as director of medical affairs at New Jersey Blue Cross and Blue Shield, of which he was a trustee. Preceded in death by his wife, Margaret, he is survived by four daughters, four sons, and a grandson.
Ruth T. Gross, professor of pediatrics emerita at Stanford University School of Medicine and former chief of pediatrics at Mount Zion Hospital and Medical Center in San Francisco, died in October 2007. Dr. Gross was a member of the team of investigators credited with isolating an enzyme that predisposes some individuals to certain forms of anemia. Her research focused on metabolic changes in the red blood cells of the newborn infant. She was the recipient of the Henry J. Kaiser Award for outstanding contributions to medical education at Stanford. She is survived by a son, Gary Gross’76, and two granddaughters.
Class of 1946
Kenneth H. Kinard, a retired internist, died Oct. 13, 2008. Dr. Kinard served in the U.S. Army and as chief of the Public Health Section in Kochi Prefecture on the Island of Shikoku in Japan. Upon his return to civilian life he opened a private medical practice in Everett, Wash. He also served as a part-time medical consultant to the Washington State Department of Health and Social Services. He was a past president of the medical staff at Everett General and Providence hospitals and a past president of the Snohomish County Medical Society. Dr. Kinard was preceded in death by a son. Survivors include his wife, Phyllis, a daughter, a son, and three grandchildren.
Class of 1948
Retired psychiatrist Robert J. Sayer died Aug. 13, 2008. Dr. Sayer started out in internal medicine and later switched to psychiatry. A graduate of the San Francisco Psychoanalytic Institute, he pursued a private practice in psychoanalytic psychotherapy and served as a member of the clinical faculty in psychiatry at New York Medical College. Dr. Sayer was an avid collector of 20th century art. Survivors include his second wife, Marsha Rosenberg Sayer, M.D., also a psychiatrist, a daughter, and two sons.
Class of 1949
Robert A. Caputi, a surgeon and past vice president of Buffalo Industrial Medical Center in Buffalo, N.Y., died Dec. 16, 2008. He is survived by his wife, Phyllis, three daughters, a son, and three grandchildren.
Class of 1951
William T. Close, who served as personal physician to Mobutu Sese Seko, president of the Congo (formerly Zaire), and later established a rural medical practice in Big Piney, Wyo., died of a heart attack on Jan. 15, 2009. His life was a long adventure straight out of a Hemingway novel. A pilot during World War II, he flew supplies to Patton’s forces during the bloody Battle of the Bulge. Returning to civilian life, Dr. Close attended P&S on the G.I. Bill. Following surgery residency training at Roosevelt Hospital, he traveled to Africa as a missionary doctor and soon found himself in the thick of the Congolese struggle for independence. The only surgeon among three doctors on duty at Kinshasa General Hospital, a 2,000-bed facility, Dr. Close’s skills came to the attention of Mobutu Sese Seko, the former rebel leader who became the first president of the Congo. President Mobutu appointed him as his personal physician and chief doctor for the Congolese Army. Dr. Close played a pivotal role in supervising the logistics of international response to the first Ebola fever outbreak in 1976. As president of the board of directors of Kinshasa General, he subsequently oversaw the rebuilding of the hospital infrastructure, including its nine operating rooms and its emergency services. Painfully aware of President Mobutu’s ever growing despotic tendencies and his brutal reprisals against all opposition, Dr. Close left the Congo to return to the United States to live the life of a country doctor in Wyoming. He performed his last house call a month before he died, according to his daughter, the actress Glenn Close. In Wyoming he found time to write several books, “Ebola: Through the Eyes of the People,” “A Doctor’s Life: Unique Stories,” and “Beyond the Storm: Treating the Powerless and the Powerful in Mobutu’s Congo/Zaire.” He summed up his credo in a presentation at the Dean’s Day Program of his 50-year alumni reunion in 2001: “The globe is shrinking, at least for those of us able to access the modern technology, and yet millions of people in the rest of the world are barely surviving. And as the world shrinks, the chasm between rich and poor increases. As professionals committed to human suffering, our challenge is to diminish the widening gulf.” Dr. Close is survived by his wife, Bettine, three daughters, two sons, and nine grandchildren.
Class of 1953
William C. Mohler, a longtime research scientist at the NIH, died Nov. 6, 2008. He was 80. Dr. Mohler served in research and administration, including 25 years at the Division of Computer Research and Technology. Outside of medicine and research he served terms as president of the Chevy Chase Village Citizens Association and as chairman of the Citizens Coordinating Committee on Friendship Heights, among other civic causes. In retirement he gave of his time as a volunteer for Ward Circle/Georgetown Meals on Wheels and for Recording for the Blind & Dyslexic. He is survived by his wife, Martha, a daughter, two sons, and six grandchildren.
Class of 1954
Neville Grant, a retired internist, died Jan. 22, 2009, of complications from bypass surgery. He was 80. A longtime member of the clinical faculty in the Department of Medicine at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, where he was named Teacher of the Year in 1996, Dr. Grant was particularly proud of four formative months he spent working with Dr. Albert Schweitzer at the Albert Schweitzer Hospital in Lambarene, French Equatorial Africa. The experience greatly affected him as a physician. After close to four decades of teaching, Dr. Grant moved to Santa Fe, N.M., where he saw patients in a group endocrinology practice. He served in the U.S. Air Force Medical Corps. Survivors include his wife, Diane, three daughters, and six grandchildren.
Class of 1956
Wayne A. Myers, emeritus clinical professor of psychiatry at Weill Cornell Medical College, died Jan. 16, 2009. The author of five books, including “Shrink Dreams,” a New York Times notable book in 1992, and numerous chapters and articles, Dr. Myers served for many years as a training and supervisory analyst at the Columbia Center for Psychoanalytic Training and Research. Specializing in geriatric psychiatry, among other fields, he helped advance treatment techniques for the aged. Dr. Myers served as battalion commander of the Fifteenth Medical Battalion during the Korean conflict. He is survived by his wife, Joanne, a daughter, a son, and three grandchildren.
Class of 1959
Carlton A. MacDonald, director of therapeutic radiology at Charlotte Hungerford Hospital in Torrington, Conn., died Oct. 25, 2008. He is survived by his wife, Barbara, and two sons.
Nelson H. Reavy-Cantwell, a former pharmaceutical executive and distinguished clinical researcher, died Jan. 25, 2009. Dr. Reavy-Cantwell served as a member of the U.S. Army Intelligence Service in Germany and the Philippines during World War II. Before attending medical school he taught chemistry at Yale University. He served for several years as director of research at Merck, Sharpe and Dohme, where he was honored with the Merck Award. He later worked as director of research for Rorer International Corporation and as global medical director for the Merrell Dow Research Institute. He also taught on the clinical faculty in the Department of Medicine at Jefferson Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University. A fisherman, farmer, and fencer in his free time, he is survived by his wife, Marion, three sons, and one grandson.
Bernard Ackerman, a pioneering researcher in skin pathology, died Dec. 5, 2008, of heart failure. He was noted for a two-stage diagnostic method he devised for viewing skin tissue, first at low magnification to get a sense of what he called the “silhouette,” then zooming in to diagnose the problem at a cellular level. As an educator he trained generations of dermatologists. In the course of his career he taught on the faculties of the University of Miami, Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia, and New York University, where, as head of the Skin and Cancer Institute, his laboratory was among the first to screen for Kaposi’s sarcoma. He founded the Ackerman Academy of Dermatopathology, now part of Dermapath Diagnostics, an affiliate of Quest Diagnostics. A professorship was endowed in his name at Harvard University School of Medicine. He created two professional journals, the American Journal of Dermatopathology and Dermatopathology: Practical and Conceptual. He is survived by a brother and a sister.
Class of 1961
Edward L. Katz, a neurosurgeon, died June 9, 2008.
Class of 1962
Betty S. Danes, a member of the faculty in the Department of Medicine at Weill Cornell Medical College, died Jan. 26, 2008. Dr. Danes previously taught at Rockefeller University. Her area of research was inborn errors of metabolism. She received the Distinguished Alumnae Award from Mt. Holyoke College, her undergraduate alma mater.
LeClair Bissell, a retired expert in addiction medicine, died Aug. 20, 2008, at age 80. Dr. Bissell worked as a librarian at the New York Public Library before attending P&S. A pioneer in addiction medicine and the author of several books, including “Alcoholism in the Professions,” Dr. Bissell published extensively in the field, in particular on the problem of addiction in healthcare providers. She established the Smithers Alcoholism Treatment and Training Center at Roosevelt Hospital in New York, the first university-affiliated, hospital-based alcohol rehabilitation unit in the United States. She was a recipient of the coveted Elizabeth Blackwell Award of the American Medical Women’s Association, the group’s highest honor, and the Marty Mann Medal of the National Council on Alcoholism. Dr. Bissell was active in the promotion of gay/lesbian rights and an outspoken proponent of national health insurance. She was preceded in death by her longtime partner, Nancy Palmer.
Class of 1963
Class of 1968
Eli Dayton, a retired specialist in emergency medicine, died June 26, 2008. A resident of Friday Harbor on San Juan Island in Washington, Dr. Dayton volunteered in retirement for the local hospice, tended his garden, and raised chickens. He spent a number of years in Botswana as a medical officer in charge of various hospitals. He also developed a rural health center for Mexican-American migrant farm workers in Colorado and practiced family medicine for a time on a Navajo reservation in Ganado, Ariz. Dr. Dayton had been a passionate advocate for national health insurance and for peace. He is survived by his second wife, Joan, two children, and four stepchildren.
Class of 1969
Donald A. Feinfeld, director of the fellowship program in the Division of Nephrology and Hypertension in the Department of Medicine at Beth Israel Medical Center in New York, died Oct. 24, 2008. He previously served as professor of clinical medicine at SUNY Stony Brook. Dr. Feinfeld was a past president of the New York Society of Nephrology. Dr. Feinfeld was a published poet and had been active in the civil rights movement. He is survived by his wife, Daryl, and a son.
Class of 1974
Roland E. Johnson, an internist and rheumatologist in private practice in northwest New Jersey, died Dec. 30, 2008. Dr. Johnson had been affiliated with Newton Memorial Hospital in Newton, N.J. He served as president of the Sussex County Medical Society. Surviving him are his wife, Virginia, two daughters, and a son. His father was a member of the P&S Class of 1938.
Class of 1985
John Matthew “Jake” Emery, a neurosurgeon, died Dec. 6, 2008, of a heart attack related to diabetes. In addition to having a clinical practice, Dr. Emery pursued pioneering clinical research in the surgical treatment of hypertension through cranial nerve decompression. He served as a member of the board of directors of the New York Regional Transplant Program and of the California Transplant Donor Network. He made it a point never to accept payment from combat veterans. Outside of medicine, Dr. Emery was a patron of the arts, a collector of art, and a talented chef and guitarist.
Class of 2006
Andrew Greene, a surgery resident at Cleveland Clinic, died Dec. 31, 2008. He is survived by his parents and his fiancé, Jennifer Lee. He had been known to his friends as a “brilliant, sensitive, riotously funny young man.”