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In Memoriam

Yale Medicine Magazine, 2007 - Autumn


Oscar W. Avant Jr., M.P.H. ’59, died on March 17 in Sumter, S.C. He was 75. Avant was an administrator at Barnwell County Hospital in South Carolina and chief of licensure and certification for North Carolina’s department of human resources. He was also the executive director of a company that owned and operated four nursing homes, president of a health care and retirement center and owner of many nursing homes.

Arthur W. Boddie Jr., M.D. ’67, died on October 22, 2006, in Chicago of complications related to frontal-temporal lobe dementia. He was 64. Boddie was retired as vice chair of the surgical oncology department at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC). He was recruited to UIC from the University of Texas Medical School as an associate professor of surgery in 1990 and was named vice chair of surgical oncology in 1997.

Richard Alan Cazen, M.D. ’74, a gastroenterologist and HIV specialist in San Francisco, died of a brain tumor on April 26 in his hometown of Pittsburgh, Penn. He was 58. Cazen started his practice in 1981 as the AIDS epidemic was emerging and became a pioneer and activist in the treatment and protocol of the new disease. As a gastroenterologist, he maintained one of the few subspecialty practices in San Francisco, concentrating on not only the disease itself, but the gastrointestinal symptoms from AIDS and adverse effects from HIV-related drug interactions and toxicities.

Hunter Hall Comly, M.D. ’43, died on February 16 in Denver of pancreatic cancer. He was 87. Comly, a psychiatrist and educator, spent his career treating children in Iowa, Michigan and California. As a researcher, he determined the cause of “blue baby syndrome,” which he linked to nitrate contamination in water drawn from shallow wells. JAMA: The Journal of the American Medical Association cited this research in 1983 as one of the journal’s 50 landmark articles. During his career he taught child psychiatry and pediatrics at the University of Iowa, was director of the Childrens’ Center in Wayne County, Mich., and was in private practice in Iowa.

Thomas P. Cotter, M.D. ’45, died on March 19 in Riverside, Calif., after a long illness. He was 85. Cotter served in the Army Air Corps in Riverside. He cofounded the Riverside Radiology Medical Group and was on the medical staff of Riverside Community Hospital. He practiced radiology until his retirement in 1991.

Philip G. Deane, M.D. ’52, died on March 15 in Shaw Island, Wash. He was 83. Deane served in the 10th Mountain Division of the U.S. Army in World War II. After medical school he served his residency at Harborview Hospital in Seattle, then opened a pediatric practice on Mercer Island. In 1985 Deane and his wife, Lola, a nurse, took early retirement to work in medical service and teaching in American Samoa, Zimbabwe and Pakistan. Upon their return to the United States they worked with the Tulalip Tribes in the Puget Sound area.

Claude W. Delia, M.D. ’50, died on April 12 in Myrtle Beach, S.C. He was 82. Delia served as a medical officer in the U.S. Army and in 1952 went to the Walter Reed General Hospital for a residency in pathology. He then spent two years as a military pathologist in Japan, Korea, Taiwan and the Philippines. In 1958 he became professional assistant to the scientific director of the American Registry of Pathology in Washington, D.C. In 1960 he joined the staff of Conway Hospital in South Carolina, becoming director of the laboratory. He resigned in 1995 to devote his time to surgical pathology.

Stephen J. Fricker, Ph.D., M.D. ’62, died on May 21 in Massachusetts. He was 80. Born in England, Fricker came to the United States to study at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), where he received a doctorate in electrical engineering in 1953. He worked at the Lincoln Laboratory, a research and development center managed by MIT, before attending medical school. Fricker did his residency in ophthalmology at Massachusetts Ear and Eye Infirmary and continued to work there until February of this year.

Dorothy Y. Hall, M.P.H. ’49, died on April 15 in Montpelier, Vt. She was 89. Hall was a public health educator in the areas of tuberculosis and diabetes and was active in Democratic political campaigns.

Howard B. Hamilton, M.D. ’44, died on April 27 of a heart infection at his home in Falls Church, Va. He was 88. After his graduation, Hamilton served in the U.S. Navy, where he was assigned to the Atomic Bomb Casualty Commission in Hiroshima. He went on to an internship at Massachusetts General Hospital and research at the Long Island School of Medicine and the New York College of Surgeons. While in Japan he became a student of the ancient theatrical art of Noh, which features dramatic masks and carefully defined movements.

Thomas S. Harvey, M.D. ’41, of Titusville, N.J., died on April 5 in Princeton of complications from a stroke. He was 94. During World War II Harvey did medical research with the U.S. Army’s Chemical Research Center in Edgewood, Md. After the war he became an instructor in pathology and neuroanatomy at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and in 1950 became assistant director of the hospital’s Laboratory of Clinical Pathology. In 1952 he became director of the pathology laboratory at Princeton Hospital, where in 1955 he performed the autopsy on Albert Einstein. During the 1960s and early 1970s he was the pathologist for New Jersey State psychiatric hospitals and at the Veterans Hospital in Lyons. In the 1970s he moved to Kansas, where he was director of a commercial medical laboratory. He eventually entered general medical practice in Kansas and Missouri.

John V. Haxo, M.D. ’51, died on March 19 in Warren, Conn. He was 82. In 1956 Haxo opened a private practice as a general surgeon in New Milford, Conn. He also served as chief of surgery at New Milford Hospital and was active on hospital boards until he retired in 1987.

Charles L. Hopper, M.D. ’56, died on April 25 in Portsmouth, R.I. He was 76. Hopper was a medical officer in the U.S. Navy, attending divers at the Underwater Ordnance Station in Newport, R.I. After a surgical residency at Hartford Hospital in Connecticut, Hopper returned to Rhode Island and began a practice as a general and thoracic surgeon. From 1967 until 1983 he was chief of surgery at Newport Hospital.

Thomas R. Johnson, M.D. ’68, HS ’75, died on February 19 at his home in Billings, Mont. He was 64. Johnson, an orthopaedist, became a fellow of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons in 1981 and served on the group’s publications and patient education committees.

Beatrice Hruska Kaasch, R.N., M.P.H. ’48, died on February 25 in Omaha, Neb. She was 94. Born in Lewistown, Mont., Kaasch attended a one-room country school before going to boarding school. She worked as a private duty and staff nurse at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Lewistown, taught at nursing schools in Montana and was a health educator for the Montana Tuberculosis Association and the Montana State Health Department. A longtime member of the Montana Nurses Association, she served as its president from 1944 to 1947.

James A. Kleeman, M.D. ’46, HS ’53, died on March 30 in Woodbridge, Conn. He was 85. Born in Springfield, Ohio, Kleeman attended the Taft School in Waterbury, Yale College and the School of Medicine. After serving in the U.S. Army in Hawaii, he returned to Connecticut to complete his residency in psychiatry and psychoanalysis. He wrote many papers on early child development and was a master fly fisherman.

Melvin Lewis, M.D., professor emeritus and senior research scientist in the Child Study Center, died on April 28 in New Haven. He was 79. Born and educated in London, Lewis was nationally and internationally known as a scholar and editor. During his 12-year term as editor of the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, from 1975 to 1987, he transformed it into the flagship American journal at a time of rapid discoveries and developments in the field. Lewis was also the founding consulting editor of the Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Clinics of North America, which he led for 14 years. His scholarly achievements included the first three editions of the now-classic Comprehensive Textbook of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, as well as numerous scientific articles. Originally trained as a pediatrician, Lewis directed the Consultation-Liaison Service in pediatrics at Yale for many years.

Roslyn L. MacNish, M.P.H. ’41, died on February 21 in Hartford, Conn. She was 88. MacNish had worked as a research statistician for the State Department of Health in Connecticut. She was a member of the Charter Oak Photography Society, the Massachusetts Camera Naturalist and vice president of the New England Camera Club Council.

John J. McGillicuddy, M.D. ’38, died on January 14 in Massachusetts. A veteran of World War II, McGillicuddy was an orthopaedic surgeon at Sancta Maria Hospital in Cambridge, Mass., where he was also head of orthopaedic surgery. He was an orthopaedic surgeon for Boston College and for the Boston Red Sox.

Stewart J. Petrie, M.D., HS ’55, died of cancer at the Connecticut Hospice in Branford on March 17. He was 83. Petrie served in the Army Air Corps during World War II. He received his medical degree from Temple Medical School. In 1955 he entered private ob/gyn practice in the Naugatuck Valley. For many years he was chief of staff and chief of ob/gyn at Griffin Hospital in Derby, Conn. He was a fellow of the American College of Gynecology and the American College of Surgeons. He published three books about medicine during the Civil War.

Ernest L. Sarason, M.D. ’39, died on November 28, 2006, in Syracuse, N.Y. He was 92. After a residency at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York and three years in the U.S. Army, Sarason returned to his home town of Syracuse in 1947. He was known as an outstanding surgeon and as a fundraiser and philanthropist whose efforts supported the Syracuse Symphony, the Syracuse Jewish Federation, the United Way and local hospitals.

William J. Wedemeyer, M.D. ’46, died of cancer on November 25, 2006, in Walnut Creek, Calif. He was 84.Wedemeyer served as chief pathologist for the Atomic Bomb Casualty Commission in Japan, where he met his wife, Midori. In 1960 he accepted a position at Herrick Memorial Hospital in Berkeley, where he stayed for 25 years. In 1985 he left to work at the VA hospital in Martinez, Calif. He retired in 1994.

Paul W. Weld, M.D. ’48, died on January 16 in Mendon, N.Y. He was 82.Weld was a diplomate of the American Board of Internal Medicine. He was a physician at Rochester General Hospital for 33 years and served as director of medical education, chief of physical medicine and director of the division of diagnostic ultrasound. He retired in 1991. He was an avid birdwatcher and passionate climber in the Adirondack Mountains.

Asa J. Wilbourn, M.D., HS ’71, died on February 6 in Cairo, Ill. He was 68.Wilbourn had been a staff neurologist at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation since 1973 and for more than 33 years directed the electromyography laboratory. He received his medical degree from the Northwestern University School of Medicine in 1964, and after an internship in Dallas joined the U.S. Air Force. As a flight surgeon during the Vietnam War he received two Distinguished Flying Cross awards and the Airman’s Medal. At the Cleveland Clinic he became an internationally recognized expert in electromyography and neuromuscular diseases.

Send obituary notices to Claire M. Bessinger, Yale Medicine Publications, 1 Church Street, Suite 300, New Haven, CT 06510, or via e-mail to

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