Below we pay tribute to recently deceased alumni, faculty, students and friends. Because we are not always aware of deaths in the larger UW Medicine community, especially those that take place outside Seattle, we rely on alumni, faculty and friends to notify us and send us obituaries. Our sincere condolences to those who have lost loved ones.
Elizabeth G. (Liza) Benson completed an undergraduate degree in biology at Colby College in Maine before she moved to Jackson, Wyo., and began working as a medical assistant at Teton Orthopedics. In 2011, she was accepted into the physician assistant training program at MEDEX Northwest, and she was completing a residency at Pinedale Medical Clinic. Benson died unexpectedly after she was caught in an avalanche during a back-country skiing trip. Admired for her adventurous spirit, sharp intellect and compassion for others, she is survived by her mother, Elizabeth, siblings Adrienne and Peter, and her boyfriend, Jason Ray.
The grandson of Snohomish County pioneer Judge Walter P. Bell and son of banker Harold C. Bell, Robert Clayton Bell, M.D. ’50, served in World War II as a naval pharmacist’s mate and in the U.S. Army during the Korean War as a captain in a medical unit. Dr. Bell was a graduate of the UW School of Medicine’s first class in 1950, and he practiced medicine for 44 years in Hawaii and Washington. His lifelong passions were reading, photography and bike riding. Dr. Bell loved people and was a compassionate and caring physician. He is survived by his brother, Walt, his first wife, Charleen, his children, Judith Lynn and Jeffrey Charles, three grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
A beloved husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather, John Elliot Nixon, M.D. ’55, touched many lives in his years as a family and emergency physician in Burien, Wash.; he also provided flight physicals. He was an accomplished musician and pilot and loved boating, skiing and scuba diving. Dr. Nixon retired to the Anacortes area, and he is survived by his wife, Sharon, four children, eight grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
Mary F. Bridge, M.D. ’56, Res. ’61, graduated from St. Nicholas School in Seattle and majored in Chinese studies at Stanford University. After receiving an M.D. from the UW School of Medicine, she practiced medicine in Washington, then moved to New York. She was affiliated with the pathology department of Long Island College and Lutheran College in Brooklyn, and she co-authored articles published in the New England Journal of Medicine. Her life was framed not only by her career in medicine but also by her patronage of the arts and her belief in the humane treatment of animals. Dr. Bridge was known for her kindness, generosity, intellect and curiosity — “everything from space, to computers, to philosophy, to watch repair,” read her obituary. She is survived by a niece, a nephew and their extended families.
Warren R. Fullington, M.D. ’56, graduated from the University of Washington School of Medicine and practiced obstetrics and gynecology in south Seattle until his retirement in 1989. He is survived by his wife, Lois, sons Rand, John, Mark and Craig, and 12 grandchildren.
Thomas James Huchala, Sr., M.D. ’56, served in the U.S. Army from 1943 until 1946. He was an expert marksman and was awarded many honors, including a Bronze Star, a Purple Heart, and a Presidential Unit Citation. After graduation from the University of Washington School of Medicine, Dr. Huchala practiced family medicine in Burien for more than 50 years. He was honored with emeritus status from Highline Hospital after 45 years of service and was a member of the Highline College Medical Advisory Group for more than 30 years. Dr. Huchala is survived by his son, Thomas Huchala, Jr., two grandsons and many nieces and nephews.
Stanley Dale Harmon, M.D. ’57, attended Luther College in Decorah, Iowa, and he received a B.S. in chemistry from the University of Washington in 1952. After teaching high-school biology, chemistry and physics in Washougal, Wash., for a year, he entered medical school at the UW. An internship in Denver, Colo., was followed by flight surgeon’s training in 1958, and Dr. Harmon was assigned to Patuxent River Naval Air Station in Maryland. This was followed by an assignment with a squadron at Whidbey Island Naval Air Station in Washington, then by an orthopaedic residency conducted in Maryland and California. Dr. Harmon completed a tour in Vietnam with the 3rd Marine Division, followed by more than nine years at the Oakland Naval Regional Medical Center in Oakland, Calif. He maintained a private practice in orthopaedics from 1977–2005 in Los Gatos, Calif. A member of several professional organizations, Dr. Harmon served on the board of directors of Santa Clara County Medical Association and as a delegate to the annual California Medical Association House of Delegates. He is survived by his wife, Bette, his siblings, Neva and Kenneth, two children, Tamara Pena and Tara Dee, and his granddaughter, Mariah.
Harry Nelson Beaty, M.D. ’58, Res. ’63, put himself through college and medical school at the University of Washington. He served for three years in the U.S. Navy before returning to the UW for a residency in internal medicine with a specialty in infectious diseases. Dr. Beaty joined the faculty, becoming a professor of medicine, and in 1995, he received the University of Washington School of Medicine Distinguished Alumni Award. Dr. Beaty was a leading researcher in bacterial meningitis and Legionnaires’ disease, served as the chair of the department of medicine at the University of Vermont, then ended his career as the dean of the medical school at Northwestern University in Chicago. He was a born educator and a person of high integrity, teaching the values of hard work, education, service to others, and seeing the world through other people’s eyes. Dr. Beaty is survived by his wife, Georgia, his children, Chris Beaty and Kara Neary, and six grandchildren.
Richard W. Roberts, M.D. ’58, Res. ’62, received an undergraduate degree at Washington State University and completed both a medical degree and a residency at the UW School of Medicine before beginning private practice in 1962. He served as chief of a mental hygiene clinic for more than 30 years, and, in 1996, became a clinical associate professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences. Remembered for his dedication to his veteran patients, Dr. Roberts is survived by his wife, Beverly, his children, Jeanne, Mike and Brian, four grandchildren and his sister, Elizabeth. The family suggests that those who wish to make donations can contribute to UW Medicine; to learn more or to contribute, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or 206.543.5686.
Robert H. (Bob) Colfelt, M.D. ’59, received an undergraduate degree from the University of Washington. He went on to earn a medical degree and complete his residency at the UW School of Medicine, becoming a clinical associate professor in the Department of Neurology. Dr. Colfelt founded the Seattle Neurological Clinic in the early 1960s and maintained a private clinical practice until the late 1990s. From 1980–1982, Dr. Colfelt was chair of King County Medical Blue Shield, serving as a member of the board for more than 10 years. In 1987, he published a collection of essays titled Together in the Dark: Mysteries of Healing, which explores physician-patient relationships. Many of these essays were originally published in the King County Medical Bulletin, where Dr. Colfelt served as editor for 10 years. He is survived by four children, Kurt, Brenda, Colleen and Todd, 13 grandchildren and his brother, Bill.
After medical school at the University of Washington, Arden E. Evanger, M.D. ’60, Res. ’65, completed an internship at the Staten Island Public Health Hospital in New York City, then a residency in pathology at the UW. After his residency, Dr. Evanger was drafted into the Army and served two years at the 34th Army Field Hospital in Orleans, France, and a year in Würzburg, Germany. Upon returning to the United States, he was assigned to the Portland VA Medical Center in Oregon. In 1970, Dr. Evanger began work in private practice at Yakima Valley Memorial Hospital and St. Elizabeth Hospital in Yakima, Wash. In 1975, he moved to Missoula, Mont., where he served as a pathologist at St. Patrick Hospital until his retirement in 1995. After retirement, Dr. Evanger moved to Fairbanks, Alaska, for several years before moving back to Missoula. In Alaska, he worked as a docent at Gold Dredge No. 8, where he became highly skilled at gold panning; his family notes that was everyone’s favorite guide. He is survived by two sisters, Marlene Wills and Andrea Evanger, three sons, Andrew, Bradley and Rob, and nine grandchildren.
George M. Hall, M.D. ’60, Res. ’69, died at the age of 82. He received his undergraduate degree from the University of Washington before joining the U.S. Army, where he earned the rank of staff sergeant. He went on to receive a medical degree from UW Medicine, and, in 1965, he became an otolaryngology fellow at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. Shortly after, Dr. Hall returned to Seattle, where he was appointed chief resident of the Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery at UW Medicine. In 1969, he opened a private practice in Bremerton, Wash. Dr. Hall was very active in community organizations, serving as board president of the Central Kitsap School District, as a board member of the Olympic Educational Service District 114 and as a scoutmaster for the Boy Scouts of America Troop 552. In his personal life, Dr. Hall enjoyed being outdoors, especially with his children; he also enjoyed playing bridge and dancing. He began a very active retirement in 1991, volunteering his medical services at a Bremerton community clinic, St. Jude Hospital in St. Lucia, and Tripler Army Medical Center in Hawaii. Dr. Hall is survived by his wife, Elaine, three children, Tod, Susan, and Mason, four grandchildren and his sister, Sandra.
John R. Davies, M.D. ’61, Res. ’63, attended the University of Montana before enlisting in the Air Force during the Korean War. He subsequently enrolled in the University of Washington, where he graduated from the UW School of Medicine in 1961 and started further studies in psychiatry. In 1964, he changed his career focus to family medicine and had a thriving family practice at Aurora Village Medical until his retirement in 1999. Dr. Davies also served as the chief of staff elect at Stevens Memorial Hospital in 1977. He was preceded in death by his first wife, Angela, and is survived by his wife, Leah, his children, Jennifer Redinger, Kim McKisson and Dan Davies, and grandchildren Cole, Analise and Danica.
A love of the sciences led Theodore Hubert Rudd, M.D. ’63, to fulfill his dream of becoming a physician. After an internship at Hennepin County Medical Center in Minneapolis, he completed a tour in the U.S. Air Force as a captain in the medical service at Malmstrom Air Force Base in Great Falls, Mont. Returning to Yakima, Wash., he entered practice as a family physician. Dr. Rudd elected to pursue further training and completed a residency in obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Utah. He practiced in Yakima until his retirement in 2006. Dr. Rudd served as president of the Washington State Obstetric Association and the Yakima County Medical Society. He supported the Yakima Valley Farm Workers Clinic and Planned Parenthood, and he taught residents in the Yakima Valley Family Practice residency. Dr. Rudd is survived by his wife, Joan, children Ted, Eric and Holly, and grandchildren Megan, Katie, Eric, Bailey, Tyler, Erin, Katya and Joe.
A Seattle native, Harry Monroe Weitlauf, M.D. ’63, loved nature and the outdoors. Following his graduation from West Seattle High School, he went on to complete a bachelor of science in zoology, a bachelor of arts in literature, and a medical doctorate from the University of Washington. He served as a physician in the U.S. Navy during the Vietnam War and went on to develop a prolific career in basic science research, having served as the chair of cell biology and biochemistry at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center for more than 30 years.
Dr. Weitlauf was an avid cyclist, and he also enjoyed travel, skiing, hiking, camping and photography. He liked to read and work with bonsai, and he was a member of the Southcrest Baptist Church. Dr. Weitlauf was a passionate champion of cancer research and was instrumental in bringing the American Cancer Society Hope Lodge to Lubbock, Texas. His friends and family will remember his work, philanthropy, kindness, thoughtfulness and compassion. Dr. Weitlauf was preceded in death by his wife, Kayla, and he is survived by his daughter, Julie, his granddaughter, Sofia, his sister, April, and other family members and friends, including Pamela Roddy.
After graduation from the University of Washington School of Medicine, Michael John Murphy, M.D. ’67, interned at Los Angeles County Hospital and did residencies in otorhinolaryngology at Long Beach Memorial Hospital and the University of Iowa. He was a member of the Yakima County Medical Society, the Washington State Medical Society, the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, the American College of Surgeons, the American Academy of Otolaryngology Allergy, the Yakima Surgical Society, the American Cleft Palate Association and the Alliance of Continuing Medical Education. Dr. Murphy participated in numerous professional boards, including serving as a reviewing member of the Washington State Department of Health Medical Quality Assurance Committee. Community service was his passion. Dr. Murphy travelled worldwide on behalf of the Boy Scouts of America to encourage youth to commit to a life of service and citizenship, and he served twice as president of the Grand Columbia Council. He also served on the Boy Scout’s Western Region Board and received numerous awards; in 2006, he became a Baden-Powell fellow, an honorary position granted by the World Scout Foundation. As a Yakima Rotary member since 1976, Dr. Murphy served as president from 2001–2002. He is survived by his wife of 43 years, Diane, and his children, Shawn and Megan.
M. Alan Permutt, M.D., Res. ’67, Fel. ’69, graduated from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Md., and Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Mo. He joined the Washington faculty in 1970, serving as a professor of medicine and cell biology and physiology, as well as the director of the Diabetes Research and Training Center.
Dr. Permutt’s interest in diabetes was personal as well as professional. He was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes (T1D) as a teenager, and went on to become a leading diabetes researcher, focusing much of his work on investigating the genetic and physiological bases of diabetes. JDRF (formerly known as the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation) supported Dr. Permutt’s research, and, in 1995, awarded him the David Rumbough Award for Scientific Excellence.
In 1992, Dr. Permutt discovered the gene that could cause type 2 diabetes, the culmination of years of study by diabetes investigators. In 1998, his research team discovered the Wolfram syndrome (WFS-1) gene, the genetic cause of a disease characterized by insulin-dependent diabetes and serious neurologic disorders. In 2010, Dr. Permutt’s JDRF-funded research provided insights into beta cell survival and regeneration relevant to T1D.
Among his many accolades, Dr. Permutt was a two-time recipient of the MERIT Status Award from the National Institutes of Health. He also served on the board of directors for JDRF’s Metro St. Louis/Greater Missouri Chapter, and on JDRF’s Medical Science Review Committee. Dr. Permutt contributed to more than 200 publications on the genetic and physiological bases of diabetes. He was a Howard Hughes Medical Investigator, and, in February 2011, he received the prestigious Daniel P. Schuster Award for Distinguished Work in Clinical and Translational Science from the Washington University School of Medicine, among the highest honors the school bestows on faculty.
Dr. Permutt is survived by a sister, Patti Wainger, two daughters, Joelle Mumford and Robin Winer, stepbrother Maury Shevin and stepsister Jann Shevin, four grandchildren and long-time friend Reah Oeleaum.
Gregory Max Engel, M.D. ’74, Res. ’79, loved baseball; he was a star pitcher at Rainier Beach High School. He continued his studies at the University of Washington, majoring in zoology and oceanography, where his ambidexterity helped him become a collegiate handball champion. After college, Dr. Engel attended the UW School of Medicine, graduating with honors. In 1979, he started a private practice, Bellevue Bone and Joint Physicians, where he developed his passion for healing patients. He continued practicing in Bellevue for 35 years, and he served as chief of staff at Overlake Hospital from 2009–2010.
Dr. Engel loved to ski (both water and snow), hiked throughout the Cascades, reached the top of every volcanic peak in the Pacific Northwest, and rode his bike around Mt. Rainier and from Seattle to Portland. His travel adventures included fly-fishing in remote Alaska, going on safari in Africa, skiing every resort in the western United States, and scuba diving in Fiji, Belize and the Great Barrier Reef. Engel loved his hometown and avidly attended Seattle sporting events with his friends and son. He is survived by his children, Gregory “Max” Engel, Jr., and Madeline Engel.
A Seattle native, Joyce Kiyoko Kikuchi, B.S. ’77, graduated from Franklin High School in 1974, received a degree in medical technology from the University of Washington in 1977, and a B.A. and an MBA from Seattle University in 1987 and 1991, respectively. Ms. Kikuchi worked at the Eastside Medical Lab in Bellevue from 1977–1979 and at Group Health Cooperative from 1979–2011. Every year, she participated with her Group Health co-workers in the American Cancer Society’s Relay For Life. Ms. Kikuchi is survived by her mother, Marian Kikuchi, her brothers, Frank, George and Jim, and her nephews and niece, Marc, Michael and Jennifer.
Karla M. Espinosa, M.D. ’84, was raised and educated in Seattle. She attended the University of Washington, where she received a bachelor’s degree in molecular biology and an M.D. from the UW School of Medicine. Dr. Espinosa did a residency in family medicine at Hennepin County Hospital in Minneapolis, Minn., and she was board certified in 1987. She practiced in the Seattle area until an early retirement. Dr. Espinosa is survived by her son, Nickolas Anthony Nicoloudakis, her parents, Dr. and Mrs. Espinosa, her siblings, André and Maura, and her niece, Alexandra. Gifts may be made in her name to the UW School of Medicine; to learn more or to contribute, contact 206.543.5686 or email@example.com.
Kalynne Harris, M.D. ’07, was a National Merit Scholar and an exchange student in Belgium before receiving her undergraduate degree at the University of Chicago. She went on to attend the UW School of Medicine, where she graduated as a member of the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society. After completing a residency in dermatology at the University of Utah, Dr. Harris returned to Idaho to work in private practice. An advocate of public service throughout her life, Dr. Harris was an AmeriCorps volunteer and a fellow at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, where she focused on improving public health. Known for her curiosity, compassion, sense of humor and intellect, Dr. Harris was interested in politics, art, the outdoors and travel. She is survived by her husband, Darin, her parents, Brent and Paula, and three sisters, JuNelle, LaDonne and MarLee. The family suggests that memorial contributions can be made to the UW Medicine Scholarship Fund; to learn more, contact 206.543.5686 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Robert Goodkin, M.D., UW professor emeritus in the Department of Neurological Surgery, did
undergraduate work at the College of William and Mary and New York University, received an M.D. from the Chicago Medical School; further training at Bellevue Hospital Center and New York University Medical Center followed. Prior to joining UW Medicine’s neurological surgery faculty in 1987, he was on the faculty of several prestigious institutions, including the Barrow Neurological Institute Residency Training Program, the University of Florida, the University of Miami School of Medicine and the USC School of Medicine.
In addition to taking on significant administrative and academic responsibilities, Dr. Goodkin was active in supporting the work of neurological surgery professional societies. He was president of the Neurosurgery Society of America (NSA) from 1997–98, served as an NSA delegate to the World Federation of Neurological Surgeons and was chairman of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons’ surgical liaison committee. He contributed to the growth and development of the field in other ways, authoring dozens of book chapters and articles in peer-reviewed journals. Dr. Goodkin made a major contribution in the analysis of intraoperative complications and resultant litigation, contributed to the understanding of MRI changes in damaged peripheral nerves and muscle, and developed a research program in the surgical management of movement disorders. Dr. Goodkin also played an instrumental role in starting Surgical Neurology International, an open-access, internet-only journal; he saw this as critical to advancing neurosurgical education on a global basis.
Richard G. Ellenbogen, M.D., the chair of the Department of Neurological Surgery, remembers Dr. Goodkin as a superb teacher who contributed to the education of residents, fellows
and medical students. This legacy will linger through an endowed lectureship, named after Dr. Goodkin, established in 2011. “Bob Goodkin was a man of great integrity,” Ellenbogen and his colleague, Richard L. Rapport II, M.D., Res. ’78, write. “He was a model spouse, father, and mentor. He was incorruptible, bright, honest, outspoken, dedicated, and forever a great friend and supporter to those worthy of his impeccable honor. He will be sorely missed by us and remembered in perpetuity by our department.” Dr. Goodkin is survived by his wife, Sandra, and his sons, Jared and Howard. Contributions can be made to the Robert Goodkin, M.D. Endowed Lectureship in Neurological Surgery; to learn more, contact 206.543.5686 or email@example.com.
Warren G. Guntheroth, M.D., UW professor in the Department of Pediatrics and nationally known cardiologist, was 85 at the time of his death. Dr. Guntheroth joined the faculty at the UW School of Medicine in 1957. During his career, he made many contributions to the field of congenital cardiac disease and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Dr. Guntheroth and emeritus faculty member Philip Spiers, M.D., were co-authors of a seminal study on SIDS, published in the April 2001 edition of Pediatrics. They found that infants who became overheated from too many covers or other heat sources and who slept on their stomachs were at greater risk of the syndrome. Their work led to a national “back to sleep” campaign that urged parents to place their infants on their backs. The campaign resulted in a 50-percent decrease in SIDS cases per year. Dr. Guntheroth is survived by his wife, Sally, and three sons.
Maureen McGrath Henderson, M.D., was a world-famous epidemiologist and expert on cancer prevention. She died at the age of 86. After earning degrees in medicine and public health at the University of Durham, she emigrated to the United States in 1960 and held faculty positions at the University of Maryland and Johns Hopkins University. Dr. Henderson became a professor of epidemiology and medicine and associate vice president for health affairs at the University of Washington in 1975. She also founded the Cancer Prevention Research Program at Fred Hutchinson Research Center and served as its director for 11 years. Dr. Henderson co-directed two major cancer prevention trials, including the Women’s Health Initiative, and was active on many federal advisory panels. Among many honors, in 1997 she was awarded the Order of the British Empire, presented to her by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth in a ceremony at Buckingham Palace. Henderson retired in 1998. She is survived by two brothers, Michael and Kevin.
John A. Maxwell, M.D., completed an undergraduate degree at Harvard College before joining the U.S. Navy as a line officer. After two years of service, he returned to Harvard to earn a medical degree, and he completed his residency at the University of Michigan. In 1973, he became an associate professor in the Department of Neurosurgery at the University of Kansas, where his research interests focused on lung and fluid balance complications resulting from head injuries. In 1975, Dr. Maxwell and his family moved to Medina, Wash., where he established a private practice in clinical neurosurgery. Known as a gifted physician and trusted colleague, he became a clinical professor in the Department of Neurological Surgery at UW Medicine in 2004. Dr. Maxwell is remembered for his dedication to the neurosurgery service at the VA, where he mentored residents for several years. He is survived by his wife, Margaret, and his son, John, Jr.
Jay Donald Ostrow, M.D., died unexpectedly Jan. 10, 2013. A clinician, gastroenterologist, research scientist, veteran, family man, musician, Democrat, and lover of nature, Dr. Ostrow was educated at Yale University, Harvard Medical School, Johns Hopkins Hospital, Peter Bent Brigham Hospital, and Boston City Hospital. He held many faculty positions: at Harvard Medical School (1961–1962), Case-Western Reserve University (1962–1970), the University of Pennsylvania (1970–1978), Northwestern University Medical School (1978–1995), and Albert-Ludwig’s Universitat Freiburg, Germany (1988–1989). He was awarded emeritus status by Northwestern University in 1995. After retirement, he continued research and teaching opportunities at University of Amsterdam (1995–1998), and the University of Washington (1999–2013).
Dr. Ostrow’s impact on the field of medicine is extensive. He served as chief of the gastroenterology section at Northwestern University and at two Veterans Administration Medical Centers. He served as president of the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases (1986–1987), and he served on the editorial board for five journals and many committees and review panels. He authored 78 research articles, 28 editorials and review articles, and 32 book chapters. He remained academically active at the University of Washington, organizing and teaching the gastroenterology pathophysiology course until his death.
Dr. Ostrow believed in service. He served two years in the Navy and six years in the Naval Reserve. As a doctor, he saved many lives, and as an educator, he trained many scientists. Dr. Ostrow was involved with the Boy Scouts, the Audubon Society, the Sacred Music Chorale, St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church in Evanston, and Christ Episcopal Church in Seattle. In addition, Dr. Ostrow loved to travel. He visited all seven continents, and he lived in New York, New Haven, Newport, Boston, Cleveland, London, Philadelphia, Evanston, Amsterdam and Seattle. He could talk with anyone, and he often struck up conversations with fellow passengers when traveling.
Don is survived by his wife of 57 years, Judy, his brother, Stephen, his children George, Bruce and Margaret (Ostrow) Murray, his niece, Michelle Ostrow, and four grandchildren.
E. Donnall Thomas, M.D., an emeritus faculty member at the University of Washington School of Medicine and member of Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, died at the age of 92. Thanks to Dr. Thomas, thousands of people have recovered from advanced leukemia, aplastic anemia and other blood cancers and diseases and have gone on to live full, productive lives.
Dr. Thomas’ interest in leukemia and bone marrow began during his medical training at Harvard Medical School. He received an M.D. in 1946, and, after completing an internship, a hematology fellowship and duty in the Army, he returned to Boston to complete residency training and pursue research. Dr. Thomas then became physician-in-chief at Mary Imogene Bassett Hospital in Cooperstown, N.Y. There, he began bone marrow transplantation experimentation with dogs, looking to replace diseased marrow with healthy marrow from a donor as a possible cure for leukemia. Through continued experimentation, Dr. Thomas found that matching donors to patients was critical to successful transplantation.
The University of Washington School of Medicine was fortunate that Dr. Thomas accepted an offer to move to Seattle in 1963. Here, he developed a system for matching the tissue types of dogs and showed that irradiated dogs that received marrow from matched donors had good long-term survival. In 1969, he began transplanting the marrow of matched siblings in patients with advanced leukemia. Over time, Dr. Thomas began working with patients with less advanced leukemia, and in 1979, he reported cures among half the leukemia patients given transplants during chemotherapy-induced remission. Bone marrow transplants now cure 70 to 80 percent of the healthiest children and teenagers with leukemia. Thousands of lives have been saved as a direct result of his work.
Dr. Thomas became a member of the National Academy of Sciences in 1982, and he received the National Medal of Science in 1990 — the same year that he, along with Joseph E. Murray, M.D., received the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine.
In addition to his outstanding scientific career, Dr. Thomas served as head of UW Medicine’s Division of Oncology from 1963–1985. He also served as director of medical oncology at Fred Hutchinson Center from 1974–1989 and as associate director of the center’s clinical research programs for seven years. Dr. Thomas is survived by his wife, Dottie, who worked alongside him throughout his career, by two sons, E. Donnall, Jr., and Jeffrey, and by his daughter, Elaine Thomas.