A Vanderbilt University Medical Center Alumni Publication

Vanderbilt Medicine

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In Memoriam

Remembering those who have passed

July 2011

Georgina Abisellan, M.D., HS ‘70, died May 19 in Thomasville, Ga. Dr. Abisellan was an ophthalmologist in her native country of Cuba. In the late 1960s she immigrated to the United States with her family and did a residency in Psychiatry at Vanderbilt and then entered private practice in the Donelson/ Hermitage area of Nashville. She was instrumental in the creation of the Psychiatric Unit at Donelson Hospital/Summit Medical Center, where she served as its director for many years. Dr. Abisellan is survived by children, Raulie, Georgina and Maria; and four grandchildren.

*Jeff Barrett, M.D., HS ‘80, FE ‘80, died March 29. He was 59. He was the first fellow in Maternal-Fetal Medicine at Vanderbilt from 1980-1982. He then continued his academic career at Indiana University School of Medicine as assistant professor. In 1986 he moved to Lakeland, Fla., joining Watson Clinic. In Lakeland he delivered 8,428 babies at Lakeland Regional Medical Center, where he was also president of the medical staff for two years. Dr. Barrett is survived by his wife, Diana; and children, Matthew, Samuel, Alison and Emily.

Claude C. Cowan Jr., M.D., HS ‘58, died Nov. 23, 2010. He was 89. He served in the Medical Detachment III Corps Headquarters in Europe during World War II. Dr. Cowan was a member of the Christie Pediatric Group in Greenville, S.C., until his retirement. He worked part-time with the Beaufort County Health Department. He was a resident of the Foothills Presbyterian Home and a member of Easley Presbyterian Church. He is survived his wife, Katherine; and sons, Samuel and Walter.

Daniel L. Dolan, M.D., MD ‘55, HS ‘60, FE ‘60, died May 26 in Asheville, N.C. He was 80. He was a captain in the U.S. Air Force, based in Japan. He practiced Internal Medicine in Springfield, Mo., from 1961 to 1977. He moved to Asheville in 1977 and accepted the role of director of Continuing Medical Education at the Mountain Area Health Education Center (MAHEC). Dr. Dolan was also a professor of Medicine with the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He retired in 1995.
He is predeceased by his wife, Betsy, who died in 2010. He is survived by his son, David, and one grandchild.

Ernest W. Eberling, M.D., MD ‘44, HS ‘45, died in January. He was a U.S. Air Force veteran, serving in World War II in the Philippines. He did his residency in New Orleans and began medical practice in Starkville, Miss. He then moved to Tucson, Ariz., where he was in private practice for 40 years. He is predeceased by his first wife, Judy, and survived by his wife Elsa; children Gayle and Edward; stepsons Winthrop and Sean; two grandchildren; and three step-grandchildren.

Paul C. Ellzey, M.D., MD ‘51, died Jan. 15. He was 89. He honorably served in the war as a pilot, bombardier and navigator. Upon completing his tour of duty in the military, he remained in the Air Force Reserves. In 1953 he established his medical practice in Booneville, Miss., and opened the Booneville Medical Clinic. As a family practitioner for 44 years, he deeply cared for his patients, their family members and his clinic staff. Dr. Ellzey retired from his medical practice in 1997 at the age of 76 and moved to Tupelo. He was preceded in death by his wife, Dena, and is survived by children, Paula, Elta, Marla, Michael and Rex; eight grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.

*Willard R. Faulkner, Ph.D., VU ‘56, Emeritus Professor of Biochemistry, died April 7. His major research interest was in the development and evaluation of new techniques of clinical chemistry and their significance to clinical evaluation of health status. He spent several years at the Cleveland Clinic and returned to Vanderbilt in 1968 as a member of the Biochemistry Department and an associate professor of Biochemistry. His many duties included acting director of Clinical Laboratories, director of the Clinical Chemistry Laboratories, and director of Research and Development in Clinical Chemistry. In 1980, he became a Professor of Biochemistry. Dr. Faulkner is preceded in death by his wife, Louise, and is survived by his sister, Louise, and his brother, Donald.

Robert B. Fisher, M.D., died May 4 in Portland, Maine. He was 74. He served in the U.S. Air Force during the latter part of the Korean War. Dr. Fisher earned a master’s degree in Public Health from the University of Washington. From 1992-1997 he was employed by Vanderbilt University School of Medicine serving as medical director for the Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Mental Retardation, and from 1998- 2006 by Tulane University’s Medical School as medical director for the Louisiana Office of Mental Health. Most recently he was employed by the Dartmouth Medical School working at the Riverview Hospital in Augusta as a Forensic Psychiatrist. Dr. Fisher is survived by his wife, Diane; daughter, Chloe; two step-sons, Nicholas and Daniel; and a step-grandson.

Samuel H. Hay Sr., M.D., MD ‘40, died Feb. 15. He was 96. He served in the U.S. Army and was honorably discharged as a Major. In 1950, Dr. Hay returned to Murfreesboro, Tenn., to private practice and was former president of the hospital staff at Middle Tennessee Medical Center. In 1981, he completed the Preceptorship Program in Nuclear Medicine at Vanderbilt University. For the past five years, Dr. Hay had lived in a retirement home in Huntsville, Ala. He was preceded in death by his wife, Katheryn, and a daughter, Sarah. He is survived by children, Samuel, Mary and Katheryn; 13 grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.

Joel Levinson, M.D., HS ‘68, died Feb. 3. He was 72. He served in the U.S. Air Force during the Vietnam War. He later opened a practice in Mountainside, N.J., and worked at Overlook Hospital, where he served as chief of Gastroenterology, chief of Medicine, vice president and then president of the medical staff at the hospital. Outside of medicine, Levinson was an avid sports fan, particularly baseball and long-distance running. Dr. Levinson was predeceased by his son, Kipp, and is survived by his wife, Bobby; children Marcy and Dana; and nine grandchildren.

Robert J. Maciunas, M.D., FE ‘88, FAC ‘87-’89, died March 1. He was 55. He joined Vanderbilt University in 1986 and directed a brain tumor clinic and a surgical program here. He also became chief of Neurosurgery at Nashville’s VA Hospital and led work to use imagery to guide surgery, a common practice today. In 2004, he became the first surgeon in North America to implant a deep brain stimulator to treat Tourette’s syndrome. He was vice chair of Neurological Surgery at Case Western Reserve University and director of programs at University Hospitals Case Medical Center. He is survived by his wife, Ann Failinger, M.D., and children, Nicholas and Joseph.

Robert A. Neal, Ph.D., VU ‘63, died March 3. He was 82. He served on active duty with the U.S. Air Force for 10 years. Upon graduating from Vanderbilt, he undertook a post-doctoral year at the University of Chicago in the research specialty of toxicology. He returned to Vanderbilt where he continued his research in toxicology and was a member of the teaching faculty of the medical school. During his tenure at Vanderbilt, he served on a number of committees for the federal government, academic institutions and industry. In 1981, he became the president of the Chemical Industry Institute of Toxicology (CIIT) in the Research Triangle Park, N.C. This institution conducted research into the possible harmful properties of industrial chemicals. He retired from CIIT in 1988 and returned to Vanderbilt University where he was awarded the title of Professor Emeritus. Dr. Neal was preceded in death by his son, Paul. He is survived by his wife of 52 years, Patricia; daughters, Julie and Stacey; and five grandchildren.

William R. Nelson, M.D., HS ‘46, died Dec. 31, 2010. He was 89. He graduated from the University of Virginia School of Medicine, and served as an Army Air Force doctor in California, Hawaii, Virginia, and Japan. A fourth-generation physician, he specialized in cancer surgery. He taught surgery at both the Medical College of Virginia (1958-1962) and the University of Colorado School Of Medicine (1955-1957 and 1962-1987). Dr. Nelson traveled the world and was a student of history. He was predeceased by his son, John, and is survived by his wife, Pamela; children, Robin, Kim and Anne; stepdaughters, Heather, Sharon and Melinda; and six grandchildren.

Robert E.L. Nesbitt Jr., M.D., MD ‘47, died May 25. He was 86. He served as professor of Medicine 36 years, 24 of those at State University of New York Health Science Center at Syracuse as professor and chairman, retiring as professor emeritus. Prior to that, he served as professor and chairman, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Albany Medical College of Union University; professor of Surgery, University of South Florida at Tampa; and chief of Gynecology and assistant chief (also acting chief) of Surgery, Veterans Administration Hospital at Bay Pines, Fla.

Vijay Misra, M.D., FE ‘93, died June 4. He was 51. Dr. Misra was a professor of Medicine and director of the cardiac catheterization lab at the University of Alabama-Birmingham. He also held faculty appointments in the Department of Neurology and the Comprehensive Diabetes Center. Prior to joining UAB Dr. Misra was an assistant professor of Medicine and director of Interventional Cardiology at Vanderbilt. He is survived by his wife, Mary Jo; and children, Drisana and Jivin.

Yeshawant B. Paranjape, M.D., FAC ‘82–’00, died Jan. 9. He was 76. He practiced Ophthalmology in Hermitage, Tenn., for 28 years. He is survived by his wife, Pushpa; and children, Sachin and Shefalie.

Milton B. Peeler, M.D., MD ‘53, HS ‘56, died March 18. He was 84. He served two years in the U.S. Army Air Forces during and after World War II. Following internship and residency at Vanderbilt, Dr. Peeler returned to Huntsville, Ala., in 1956 to establish his practice. For a time he was Huntsville’s only pediatrician. He and Dr. Richard Lester formed Huntsville Pediatric Associates, where he practiced until his retirement in 1988. He is survived by his wife of 61 years, Betty; children, Patricia, David, Virginia, Betty and Sarah; and six grandchildren.

*Julia E. Sawyers, M.D., MD ‘60, HS ‘64, died Jan. 1. She was 79. Dr. Sawyers grew up in Nashville and graduated from Randolph Macon College in 1952. Following graduation, she worked in the clinical laboratory at Johns Hopkins medical school. She was one of four women in her class at Vanderbilt Medical School. A founding partner in the Anesthesia Consultants of Nashville, she practiced until her retirement to Mountain Lake, Fla. Dr. Sawyers is survived by her husband of 53 years, John L. Sawyers, M.D., former chair of the Department of Surgery at Vanderbilt; children, Charles, Al and Julia; and eight grandchildren.

Winborn B. Willingham Jr., M.D., HS ‘70, died Jan. 19. He was 72. He graduated from the University of Tennessee Medical School in Memphis. He began his surgical practice in Urology in 1970 and continued until 1986 in Chattanooga, Tenn. Although his primary hospitals of practice were Erlanger, Memorial and Park Ridge, Dr. Willingham had hospital privileges at every hospital in the city. He is survived by his wife, Shirley; children, Winborn, Tatia and Anthony; stepdaughters, Christina and Jean; seven grandchildren; and five stepgrandchildren.

Leon P. Woods Jr., M.D., HS ‘64, died Jan. 2. He was 78. Dr. Woods graduated from the University of Oklahoma School of Medicine in 1956. He served from 1956 to 1959 in the U.S. Public Health Service, including an internship at the Marine Hospital in San Francisco and service at the Indian Hospital in Claremore, Okla., with the rank of senior assistant surgeon. He served as chief resident in thoracic and cardiac surgery at Vanderbilt. In 1966, Dr. Woods joined Holt Krock Clinic in Fort Smith, Ark., until retirement in 1992 and participated in the development of the cardiac surgery program at Sparks Regional Medical Center. He is survived by his wife, Ann; children, Nancy, Julie, Evelyn and James; and seven grandchildren.

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