In Memoriam: Fall 2023
Paul Ellner, PhD, professor emeritus of microbiology and of pathology, died April 8, 2023.
Colin McCord, MD, retired faculty member in surgery at Harlem Hospital Center, died March 11, 2023. Read more in Alumni In Memoriam (Class of 1953).
William Rosner, MD, professor emeritus of medicine, died May 8, 2023.
Editor’s Note: Wylie C. Hembree, III, whose name was included in the Spring/Summer 2023 issue, was associate professor of clinical obstetrics & gynecology at the time he retired.
John “Jack” Joseph Mendillo, a general and thoracic surgeon who lived until age 103, died April 2, 2023. He completed residencies in internal medicine, pathology, and thoracic surgery. He served in World War II as a doctor and captain in the U.S. Army Air Corps at Clark Field Hospital in Manila, Philippines. During the Korean conflict, he served in the U.S. Public Health Service and U.S. Coast Guard, attaining the rank of lieutenant commander. He served in St. Louis, Missouri, at the Merchant Marine Hospital and later at the Army Hospital at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. He later moved to New Haven, Connecticut, with his growing family to practice surgery with his uncle and at the Hospital of St. Raphael. Dr. Mendillo was active in the Connecticut State Medical Association, New Haven County Medical Society, the Amity Club, Day Spring Masonic Lodge, and the Union League. He and his wife, Georgine, retired to Naples, Florida, where he enjoyed commercial and recreational fishing. He is survived by four children, six grandchildren, and one great-granddaughter.
George R. Fisher III, an endocrinologist who practiced in Philadelphia for 50 years, died March 9, 2023. He was 97. He married his classmate, Mary Stuart Blakely’48, after they met during anatomy class. Dr. Fisher was chief resident in medicine at the Pennsylvania Hospital in Philadelphia and spent a year at the NIH. In retirement, he started the Ross & Perry publishing company, which printed more than 300 new and reprint titles, including its bestseller, “Flight Manual for the SR-71 Blackbird Spy Plane.” He authored four books, including “Philadelphia Revelations: Twenty Tours of the Delaware Valley.” He was a member of the Shakespeare Society, the Global Interdependence Center, the College of Physicians, and the Right Angle Club. He attended Quaker meetings in Haddonfield, New Jersey, for more than 60 years. He is survived by four children, eight grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren. His daughter, Margaret Fisher’83, son-in-law Jonathan Rosenthal’83, and grandson Joshua Rosenthal’17, also graduated from VP&S.
Edward T. Bello, a radiologist and radiation oncologist in Rye, New York, died March 17, 2023. He was 97. He interned at Mary Imogene Bassett Hospital in Cooperstown and served with the U.S. Navy in World War II and Korea. Dr. Bello enjoyed gardening, working on his home, hunting, and fishing. He is survived by his wife, Marie, seven children, and many grandchildren and great-grandchildren. His daughter Jacqueline Bello’80, and son-in-law, Peter Carmel’70, also attended VP&S.
Enoch Gordis, an internist and former director of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism at the NIH, died April 5, 2023. He was 92. Following two years in the U.S. Army Medical Corps, he spent a decade at the Rockefeller University conducting medical research in the laboratory of Vincent Dole, MD, whose work on addiction resulted in the creation of the first methadone treatment and research programs in the country. Dr. Gordis established and directed an alcoholism treatment program at the Elmhurst City Hospital in Queens, where he was responsible for the care of almost 15,000 patients over 15 years of service before becoming director of the NIAAA. Alcoholism research flourished under his leadership, and he retired in 2001. Dr. Gordis was a pianist and chamber music player and performed regularly in the Washington, D.C., area. He also loved hiking. He is survived by his wife, Mary Ellen Bliss, two children, and four grandchildren.
Martin Silbersweig, an internist at Englewood Hospital for 45 years and resident of Tenafly, New Jersey, died Jan. 9, 2023. He was 96. He graduated from Columbia College in 1946. Dr. Silbersweig is survived by his wife, Jean, two children, and four grandchildren.
Henry Walter Louria Jr., a surgeon in Orange County, California, died Jan. 31, 2023. He was 96. Dr. Louria served in the U.S. Navy before college. After resi dency in general surgery, he developed a thriving surgical private practice in Garden Grove, California. He became chief physician at the Orange County Jail and for alcohol and recovery programs at the county’s public health department. He served for 20 years in the California National Guard and retired at age 70 with the rank of colonel. Dr. Louria aimed for an “attitude of gratitude” in his life. He loved Shakespeare, classical music, and film noir. He is survived by his wife, Judith, two sons, two grandchildren, and two stepdaughters.
Joel Markowitz, a Freudian psychiatrist on the Upper East Side of New York City for 64 years, practiced until a month before his death on Jan. 1, 2023, at the age of 95. He served in the U.S. Navy in 1945. He wrote and lectured about psychohistory. He was described in an obituary as an “eternal optimist” who “valued experience over wealth, typewriters over cars, and mind over material.” He had a pet crow, could recite hundreds of poems from memory, and was one of the first joggers in Central Park. Dr. Markowitz is survived by three children, four grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren. His son, John Markowitz’82, is professor of clinical psychiatry at VP&S and research psychiatrist at the New York State Psychiatric Institute.
Colin “Coke” McCord, a heart surgeon by training who became a leader in international social medicine by fighting health disparities worldwide, notably in Harlem, died March 11, 2023. He was 94. He served in the U.S. Army at the end of World War II. After completing surgery and thoracic surgery training at Bellevue and Presbyterian hospitals, Dr. McCord directed rural health programs in India and Bangladesh for the Department of International Health at Johns Hopkins University and served as director of surgical services at a hospital in Mozambique. He trained lay people as paraprofessional doctors and surgeons in Mozambique and other African nations with scarce medical personnel and taught women in Bangladesh to deliver advice on contraception and reproductive health. Returning to New York in 1987, he was named associate director of surgery at Harlem Hospital. In a 1990 article in the New England Journal of Medicine, he and a fellow researcher concluded that Black men in Harlem were less likely to live to the age of 65 than men in Bangladesh. They observed that racial disparities in life expectancy, particularly for Black men and poor people in general, were mirrored elsewhere in the city and around the nation. Dr. McCord successfully lobbied for a ban on smoking in workplaces, restaurants, and bars while he was an assistant health commissioner in Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s administration. He is survived by his wife, Susanne Chowdhury, three children, including Mary McCord’83, a stepdaughter, and four grandchildren.
Donald Gerber, professor emeritus of medicine and a rheumatologist who taught, mentored, and carried out research for more than 50 years at SUNY Health Sciences University Downstate Medical School, died March 17, 2023. He was 90. Dr. Gerber completed a residency in internal medicine and a fellowship in rheumatology at Columbia. He is survived by his wife, Marcia Gerber’67, two children, and four granddaughters. His daughter, Susan Eve Gerber, graduated from VP&S and Columbia Mailman School of Public Health in 1994. His son, Andrew Gerber, completed child and adolescent psychiatry, research, and psychoanalytic fellowships in the Columbia Department of Psychiatry and is currently associate clinical professor in the Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.
Temple Bodley Stites, an internist in Louisville, Kentucky, for 40 years, died March 20, 2023. He was 91. He served as a doctor with the U.S. Army in Korea before returning to New York for his internal medicine residency. Dr. Stites served a term as president of Norton Hospital’s medical staff, was on the board of the Kentucky Opera, and served on the Pastor Nominating Committee at Second Presbyterian Church. Despite a Parkinson’s disease diagnosis, his retirement allowed time for play, world travel, and study. He loved to play and teach bridge, complete crosswords, play tennis, and dance. He is survived by his wife, Virginia, three children, and seven grandchildren.
Frank Fisher Davidoff, an endocrinologist dedicated to medical education and system quality improvement, died April 2, 2023. He trained at Massachusetts General Hospital, completed research at the National Heart Institute, and taught at Harvard Medical School before joining the newly formed University of Connecticut medical school in 1974. He served in multiple roles at the medical school, including serving as chief of the Department of Medicine at New Britain General Hospital. Moving to Philadelphia, he joined the American College of Physicians, serving first as associate executive vice president for education then senior vice president for education. In 1995 he became editor of the ACP’s flagship publication, Annals of Internal Medicine. In retirement, he remained active in medical policy, health care improvement, and humanitarian efforts, serving as executive editor at the Institute for Healthcare Improvement and on the editorial board of Quality and Safety in Healthcare. He was vice president of the Board of Physicians for Human Rights for 12 years, followed by a year as its interim CEO. Dr. Davidoff loved travel, playing the piano, and cooking, experimenting for several years to cook a great sourdough bread. He is survived by two daughters, three grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren.
Ellyn Palmer Jones, a pediatrician who cared for several generations of children in the communities of the Bitterroot Valley in Montana, died Dec. 14, 2022. She was 89. She practiced in Conway, New Hampshire, for two decades before moving to Montana. For 20 years, she was the doctor for the Trapper Creek Job Corps in Darby, also coaching students in mathematics. She was a member of the Stevensville United Methodist Church where she played in the bell choir, attended study groups and book clubs, and served on its governing board. She was active in community affairs, including serving on the boards of Genesis House, a group home; the Stevensville Clothes Closet; and the Bitterroot Public Library. Dr. Jones was proud of her Welsh heritage and the spelling of her name “Ellyn” reflects the Welsh influence. She loved music, photography, plants, gardening, hiking, and making candy. She is survived by three nieces and three nephews.
Richard “Dick” Clutz, a general surgeon at North Adams Regional Hospital who staffed a clinic at Williamstown Medical Associates in Massachusetts until 2000, died Oct. 15, 2022. He was 88. His surgical residency at Roosevelt Hospital in New York City was interrupted by service as a surgeon in the U.S. Navy, where he spent most of his time on the USS Fremont in the Mediterranean Sea. After living in Williamstown for 50 years, he and his wife, Robin, settled in New Hampshire. Dr. Clutz was an avid reader of books, especially biographies and histories of the Civil War and world wars. He collected and repaired antique clocks, which filled the house and caused overnight guests to awaken at the hourly chiming. Dr. Clutz is survived by his wife, three children, and six grandchildren.
Robert N. Emde, a researcher of infant and early childhood mental health, died July 20, 2021. He was 5 when he lost his 3-year-old brother, and that influenced his decision to pursue early childhood health. Dr. Emde’s expertise included early socioemotional development, infant mental health, developmental psychiatry, early preventive interventions, and mentoring of clinical researchers. He held leadership positions in multiple scientific and clinical organizations, including the Society for Research in Child Development, the Association for the Psychophysiological Study of Sleep, and the World Association of Infant Psychiatry and Allied Disciplines. He was a former board member at ZERO TO THREE, which presented him with a lifetime achievement award in 2018. Dr. Emde enjoyed skiing, sailing, and hiking. He is survived by three children and five grandchildren.
Richard D. Anderson, a radiologist who practiced in North Carolina, died April 25, 2023. He was 89. Following his residency in radiology at Cornell, he accepted an NIH fellowship in neuroradiology. He served on the teaching staff at Yale University medical school and University of Alabama medical school as associate professor before entering private practice in Charlotte, North Carolina, in 1978. He was the author of several papers published in major radiological journals. He retired early, in 1994, because of a heart ailment and gave up his avocation of tennis for music, literature, and art. Dr. Anderson is survived by two sons and three grandchildren.
William “Bill” Fleming, a heart surgeon who in 1976 became Nebraska’s first congenital heart surgeon dedicated to treating children, died April 12, 2023. He was 87. He completed residencies in New York City hospitals in surgery and pediatrics followed by military service at Walter Reed Army Medical Hospital in Bethesda, Maryland. He spent 1970 at Long Binh Hospital in Vietnam, where he earned a Bronze Star for work as a surgeon and for his work to identify and treat the river-borne infectious disease melioidosis. Upon return, he became chief of thoracic surgery at the Veterans Administration Medical Center at Atlanta, Georgia. He taught surgery at Emory University, where he practiced as a heart surgeon for five years. He joined Children’s Hospital & Medical Center of Omaha, working with other pediatric cardiologists to create a regional heart program. During retirement, he and his wife, Pam, enjoyed traveling to all continents except Antarctica. Dr. Fleming is survived by his wife, five children, nine grandchildren, and a great-granddaughter.
Peter Blanchard Hope, a longtime family practice physician committed to equity in health care, died March 30, 2023. He served six years in the U.S. Army Medical Corps, earned the active duty rank of major, and was awarded the National Defense Service Medal, the Army Commendation Medal, and the Polish Labor Service Medal of Merit. He later trained in pediatrics at New York Hospital, followed by a fellowship in community medicine at Dartmouth. For 32 years in rural practice in the wider New Hampshire Lakes Region, he treated families irrespective of their ability to pay for his care. He held clinical and faculty appointments at Boston University, Yale, Dartmouth, and University of New Hampshire medical and nursing schools. He delivered several generations of babies after establishing a home birth practice when he realized this was a community need not met by traditional medicine. Dr. Hope was a devout Episcopalian, a hiker, steward of the outdoors, and a train fanatic with a comprehensive knowledge of transit systems. He would schedule long layovers just to ride the subway in a new city. After retiring from medicine, he worked for the U.S. Postal Service and was a much-loved fixture in the post office of Grantham, New Hampshire. He is survived by his wife, Caroline, four daughters, three stepsons, and many grandchildren.
Robert John Mulcare, a surgeon who taught at VP&S and Roosevelt Hospital, died April 6, 2023, just shy of his 88th birthday. After residency in general surgery at Columbia, he became a captain in the U.S. Army and was deployed as a surgeon to Thailand to support the U.S. troops and civilians in the area. He returned to train in vascular surgery in Houston and worked at Memorial Sloan Kettering in New York City before settling at Roosevelt Hospital, where he remained for the duration of his surgical career. He also taught at VP&S, consulted at Greenwich Hospital, and built a private practice on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, where he had a loyal patient following and staff for 35 years. He later spent 10 years consulting for a wholly doctor-owned insurance company, defending malpractice suits. He was a talented jazz pianist who, at age 82, began creating whimsical fairy house replicas to maintain his dexter ity. He is survived by his wife, Betsy, two children, and five grandchildren. His daughter, Mary Mulcare, graduated from VP&S in 2008.
Alton Steiner, an endocrinologist who practiced in Houston, Texas, died May 6, 2023. He was 86. He practiced medicine at Albany Medical Center, the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, the University of Texas in Houston, and St. Joseph Hospital in Houston. He is survived by his wife, Emily, three children, and six grandchildren.
Robert Waldbaum, founding chairman of the Department of Urology at North Shore University Hospital, where he worked for more than 30 years, died Jan. 29, 2023. He was 84. He also served since graduation from medical school as a class chair for the Class of 1962. A lifelong New Yorker, Dr. Waldbaum entered Columbia University at 15 as a Ford Foundation Scholar. He served as a naval surgeon with the 2nd Battalion 3rd Marine Division. He was a surgical resident at Presbyterian Hospital and a urological resident at New York Hospital. In addition to his posts at North Shore University Hospital, he was chair of the Medical Board and a trustee of North Shore LIJ Health System (now Northwell).
Harvey Jack Myers, a surgeon who co-founded Seacoast Cancer Center at Wentworth Douglass Hospital in Dover, New Hampshire, died Feb. 3, 2023, after being cared for in his final years in the same center. He was 82. He trained at Roosevelt Hospital in New York City and Mary Imogene Bassett Hospital in Cooperstown, New York. He volunteered for two years as a U.S. Navy Medical Officer in the Construction Battalion (Sea Bees). In 1973 he co-founded Dover Surgical Associates, the beginning of 29 years of service as a general surgeon at Wentworth Douglass Hospital. Later that decade he co-founded the Seacoast Cancer Center in a corner of the hospital. He also worked at Wentworth Douglass Hospital Wound Healing Institute and Wound Care Clinic in Portsmouth. A chef with surgical dexterity, he was known for cutting vegetables into perfect cubes. Dr. Myers was also a talented musician who sang tenor and played piano, trumpet, and the pipe organ, for which he developed a lifelong passion. He was a much-in-demand substitute organist at local churches. While at VP&S, Dr. Myers conducted the medical school choir and sang in the Riverside Church Choir. Later in life, he and his wife, Vicky, formed a piano-cello duo, Souvenir, and performed classical music and songs from the 1930s and 1940s. Dr. Myers is survived by his wife, two sons, two stepsons, and one granddaughter.
John Marshall Briley, a pediatrician who served the community of Maui, Hawaii, for 25 years, died Jan. 28, 2023. He was 82. An advocate for early childhood interventions, he served on the board of directors for Imua Family Services, which helps children overcome developmental learning challenges. He published two series of adventure fantasy chapter books for middle schoolers under the pen name “Doc Briley.” He is survived by his wife, Ilona, three children, and four grandchildren.
Jane Kathryn Nugent, a pediatric endocrinologist who specialized in human growth hormone treatments, died Jan. 10, 2023, after a battle with multiple sclerosis that began in 1988. She was 81. She completed a residency in pediatrics followed by a fellowship in Seattle, Washington. A devastating car accident in 1993 that killed Dr. Nugent’s mother also left her severely injured and forced Dr. Nugent to retire from her medical practice. Despite the setback, she exhibited a tenacious ability to stay involved in creative pursuits, her community, and her family. An avid and skilled sewer since her adolescence, she loved making quilts for orphans and low-income babies, made flower arrangements for local hospitals, and participated in a reading program at her nearby elementary “Adopt a Grandparent” program. Her brain and other tissues were donated to the Rocky Mountain MS Center Tissue Bank, which, by coincidence, works with a research group at VP&S. She is survived by three children and five grandchildren.
Peter Russell Smith, a specialist in internal medicine and pulmonology, and his wife, Patricia O’Neill, died Feb. 17, 2023, in a car accident. He held leadership roles at Long Island College Hospital in Brooklyn, including chief of pulmonary medicine, co-director of the Thoracic Center, co-director of the Asthma Center, director of the Adult Cystic Fibrosis Center, and director of the Smoking Cessation Center. He was also a professor of clinical medicine at SUNY Downstate Medical Center. Dr. Smith served as president and member of the board of directors of the American Lung Association of Brooklyn and president of the American Lung Association of New York City. Upon retirement, he joined the board of directors of the Physicians for a National Health Plan’s New York metro chapter. As chair of the Education and Outreach Working Group, he advocated for single-payer health care at the local, state, and federal levels. Dr. Smith loved art and antiques and enjoyed photography and making visual art. He is survived by two cousins.
Donald “Don” Stern, a gastroenterologist affiliated with Harvard Medical School, died Jan. 23, 2023, at age 80. After completing his residency at the University of California, San Francisco, he worked for the CDC in Atlanta and studied malaria in India. He was part of private and group practices focusing on gastroenterology and internal medicine affiliated with Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. After retirement in 2012, Dr. Stern enjoyed bike trips across Europe, classic and contemporary literature, and the arts. He is survived by his wife, Louise, two daughters, three grandchildren, two stepchildren, and stepgrandchildren.
Lawrence “Larry” Joel Slutsky, a radiologist who practiced in Wichita, Kansas, for 32 years, died Dec. 25, 2022, after a long battle with Parkinson’s disease. He was 76. He trained at New York University. He was a partner in Consultants in Radiology at Via Christi-St. Francis Hospital in Wichita. He was an avid New York Mets fan and, in his free time, could be found exercising or listening to music. He and his wife, Dr. Helen Reiner Slutsky, were involved in growing and sustaining Wichita’s small Jewish community. Dr. Slutsky is survived by his wife, two daughters, and two grandchildren.
Ashley Mackenzie Rivers, 71, died Feb. 17, 2022. She was an internist and a cardiologist in Roswell, New Mexico.