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In Memoriam

Yale Medicine Magazine, 2004 - Summer


Martha Brochin, M.D. ’88, HS ’91, died at age 45 on January 22 in New Haven. Brochin was a clinical instructor in pediatrics at Yale from 1991 until her death. She also had a private pediatric practice in Hamden, Conn., for the past 12 years.

Jordi Casals-Ariet, M.D., a Yale epidemiologist who almost died of Lassa fever while seeking the virus that causes it, died in Manhattan on February 10. He was 92. Casals-Ariet established a taxonomy of more than 10,000 viruses. He came to Yale in 1964 when the Rockefeller Foundation moved its insect-borne infections program here. In 1969 he fell ill after working with Lassa virus, a hemorrhagic fever virus named for the Nigerian village where it was first detected. Although Casals-Ariet was saved by antibodies taken from a nurse who had survived Lassa fever in Africa, he stopped his research later that year after a lab technician on his team died. After his retirement from Yale in 1981 he worked at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in Manhattan. His last paper was published in 1998.

Allan J. Ersley, M.D., who while at Yale in the 1950s identified a hormone used in a synthetic form to treat anemic disorders, died on November 12 in Haverford, Pa. He was 84. Ersley was on the faculty of Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia for 43 years. His best-known finding occurred in 1953 when he was working at Yale. He found that the rate of red blood cell formation in normal animals increased after they were injected with blood plasma from rabbits that had been made anemic. He determined that the anemic condition led to an increase in levels of erythropoietin, a hormone that helps to generate new red blood cells. Years later the hormone was isolated from blood and genetically engineered to treat chronic anemia in chemotherapy patients and in people with kidney failure. It was also abused by athletes who took it to enhance their performance.

Helen A. Forbes, wife of the late Thomas R. Forbes, M.D., died on October 28 in Hamden, Conn. She was 97. Forbes came to Yale in 1945 with her husband, who served as the Ebenezer K. Hunt Professor of Anatomy and as an associate dean of the School of Medicine. She was best remembered for organizing weekday teas, a tradition that had faculty and students mingling over tea and snacks prepared by faculty wives. She also worked with first-year medical students to plan the annual variety show, Aesculapian Frolic.

Cornelius P. Frey, M.D., HS ’44, a general surgeon and plastic and reconstructive surgeon, died on January 22. He was 90. During his career Frey was associated with George Washington University Hospital and was a member of the American Society for Surgery of the Hand. From 1949 to 1953 he was the team doctor for the Washington Redskins.

Richard H. Greenspan, M.D., professor emeritus at Yale School of Medicine, died on February 28 after a long illness. He was 78. Greenspan graduated magna cum laude from Syracuse University College of Medicine in 1948. After training at Michael Reese Hospital and the University of Minnesota and a fellowship at the University of Minnesota Hospitals, he served as a captain in the U.S. Air Force. In 1960, he came to Yale as an assistant professor of radiology. Four years later he became professor of radiology and chief of chest radiology at the University of California, San Francisco. Returning to Yale in 1973, as professor and chair of diagnostic radiology, Greenspan served as associate dean for clinical affairs from 1986 to 1991 and was granted emeritus status in 1994. He retired from active practice in 1999. Greenspan was a founding member and president of the Fleischner Society and president of the Association of University Radiologists. He was an accomplished violinist and a member of the board of directors of the Neighborhood Music School in New Haven.

Frank D. Law, M.D. ’49, HS ’55, died on January 23 in Lewistown, Pa. He was 79. Law served in the V-12 Navy, a college training program that began in 1943 to meet the need for commissioned officers in World War II. He was a member of the First Unitarian Church, the American College of Surgeons, the Philadelphia Academy of Surgery and the Philadelphia Committee on Trauma.

Anthony B. Minnefor, M.D., HS ’65, an authority on infectious diseases, died on December 5 at his home in Morris Plains, N.J. He was 66. After a fellowship in infectious disease at Johns Hopkins, Minnefor joined the Air Force and reached the rank of captain. He worked as a pediatrician in upstate New York and from 1980 to 1992 he was director of infectious diseases at St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center in Paterson, N.J. He lectured throughout the United States and Europe on infectious disease.

Robert H. Owens, M.D. ’46, died on January 15 at the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale, Ariz. He was 81. A urologist, Owens practiced medicine for more than 40 years and worked with patients at the Veterans Administration hospital in Kansas City, Mo., until shortly before his death.

Elroy R. Peterson, M.D., HS ’46, died on October 7 at his home in Ames, Iowa. He was 85. Peterson served as a physician in the U.S. Navy during World War II, first on a landing craft during the Normandy invasion and later on an aircraft carrier in the Pacific. After the war he came to Yale for a residency in internal medicine. In 1952 he joined McFarland Clinic, a physician-owned multispecialty clinic in central Iowa. He was a diplomate of the American Board of Internal Medicine and a member of the American College of Physicians and Alpha Omega Alpha.

James Radcliffe Jr., M.D. ’38, died at his home in Fairhaven, Mass., on January 27. He was 93. Radcliffe served in the Navy during World War II and was among the first physicians to arrive in Luzon in the Philippines after Allied forces retook the islands. After his honorable discharge as a lieutenant in 1946, he became the first board-certified specialist in internal medicine in New Bedford, Mass. He founded the New Bedford Diabetes Association and served on the personnel board of the Fairhaven Visiting Nurse Association. He was chief of staff at St. Luke’s Hospital in New Bedford from 1968 to 1972.

Richard H. Rapkin, M.D., HS ’63, vice chair of pediatrics at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ), died of brain cancer on November 19. He was 68. As a captain in the Army Medical Corps, Rapkin treated children of soldiers at Fort Leonard Wood in Missouri. He taught pediatrics at Rutgers Medical School, which subsequently merged with New Jersey College of Medicine and Dentistry to form UMDNJ. He was a practicing pediatrician in Somerville and pediatrician at the Somerset School in Warren for more than 30 years.

Franklin H. Schaefer, M.D., HS ’49, died on February 2 in Elyria, Ohio, after a brief illness. He was 83. After serving in the U.S. Army Medical Corps during World War II, Schaefer trained in pediatric diseases at Yale. In 1955 he became the first pediatrician serving Elyria, where he practiced medicine until his retirement in 1985. He was a member of the Lorain County Medical Society and Elyria American Legion Post 12.

Cecil G. Sheps, M.D., M.P.H. ’47, professor of social medicine and epidemiology and vice chancellor for health affairs at the University of North Carolina, died at his home in Chapel Hill of pneumonia on February 8. He was 90. Sheps was a founding member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences and a member of the New York Academy of Medicine. He was former director of Beth Israel hospitals in New York and Boston and a professor at Harvard Medical School. He also taught at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine. Sheps served with the Royal Canadian Medical Corps during World War II.

Robert E. Shope, M.D., an authority on infectious diseases and professor emeritus in the Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, died on January 19 in Galveston, Texas, of complications from a lung transplant. He was 74. At the time of his death Shope was working at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston. He went to Texas in 1995 after a 30-year career at Yale. One of the leading virologists of his generation, he led or participated in investigations of Rift Valley fever, Lassa fever, Venezuelan hemorrhagic fever, yellow fever and other diseases. He served as president of the American Society for Tropical Medicine and Hygiene and received the Bailey K. Ashford Award, the Richard M. Taylor Award, the Walter Reed Medal and numerous other prestigious awards and citations. Shope came to Yale in 1965 as an assistant professor of public health. He was director of the Yale Arbovirus Research Unit, director of medical education and head of the Division of Infectious Disease Epidemiology. His travels took him to almost every part of the world where mosquitoes or rodents harbor viruses.

Lawrence C. Sylvia, M.D., HS ’65, former medical director of the Central Jersey Blood Center, died on November 15 at his home in Ocean, N.J. He was 70. During his career Sylvia held faculty appointments at Tufts, Yale, Harvard and Hahnemann universities. He was director of laboratories at Monmouth Medical Center in Long Branch, N. J. He was also a fellow of the College of American Pathologists and a member of the National Board of Medical Examiners.

Arthur A. Terrill, M.D. ’48, died at age 79 on January 13 at the Army Residence Community in San Antonio, Texas. A colonel in the Marine Corps, Terrill was on active duty until 1982. He was a diplomate of the American Board of Surgery and a fellow of the American College of Surgeons.

William P. Walsh, M.D. ’46, who maintained a private medical practice in New Bedford, Mass., died on December 25 at his home. He was 81. Walsh served in the Navy during World War II. He was a member of the American Medical Association, the Massachusetts Medical Society and the New Bedford High School Football Fathers Club and a former board member of the New Bedford Boys & Girls Club.

Myron E. Wegman, M.D. ’32, HS ’36, M.P.H., professor and dean emeritus of the University of Michigan School of Public Health, died on April 14 in Ann Arbor, Mich., of congestive heart failure. He was 95. For more than 40 years, starting in 1949, Wegman conducted an annual summary of vital statistics. The report, published every December in Pediatrics, the journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics, is a compendium of government records on births, fertility rates, infant mortality and other data. Wegman was an early proponent of broad training programs to modernize maternal and child health care. To combat infant mortality he taught rural doctors about advances in pediatrics. Before arriving at Michigan, he spent eight years with the Pan American Health Organization, a regional office of the World Health Organization. He served as president of the American Public Health Association, the Association of Schools of Public Health and the Pan American Health and Education Foundation.

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