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Vol. 32, No. 2Summer 2009




Medical alumni and faculty remembered

Below we pay tribute to recently deceased alumni and faculty members. Because we are not always aware of these deaths, especially those that take place outside of Seattle, we rely on other alumni, faculty and friends to notify us. Please contact us or send obituaries so we keep our information current. Our sincere condolences to those who have lost loved ones.


Richard Powell Anderson, M.D. ’59, was born on June 1, 1934 and died on Jan. 18, 2009 of complications following surgery. He attended Roosevelt High School and the University of Washington, where he received his medical degree in 1959. After surgical training at Johns Hopkins and the National Institutes of Health, Anderson joined the faculty of the medical school of UC Davis. Then he joined the faculty at Oregon Health & Science University, where he rose to the rank of professor and served as chief of cardiac surgery at the Portland VA Hospital.

In 1974, Anderson returned to Seattle and joined Virginia Mason and the Mason Clinic; he was chief of the hospital’s cardiothoracic surgery section until his retirement from clinical practice in 1997. Throughout his career, he was active in professional organizations, serving as president of the Western Thoracic Surgical Association, secretary and president of the Society of Thoracic Surgeons, director and examination chairman for the American Board of Thoracic Surgery. Anderson also was a clinical professor of surgery at the University of Washington and on the editorial board of the American Journal of Surgery.

At the time of his death, Anderson was chairman of the Council on Quality, Research, and Patient Safety of the Society of Thoracic Surgeons. His recreational interests included skiing, fishing, music, golf, and getting away to a second home in Union, Wash., on Hood Canal. He is survived by his beloved wife of 50 years, JoAnne, two sons, Arlen and Alan, and three grandchildren.


John B. Coombs, Res. ’74 (pediatrics), Res. ’79 (chief, pediatrics), died at his Seattle home on Jan. 19, 2009 of melanoma. He was 63.

Coombs was lauded by his colleagues as a national leader in improving health care for underserved and rural populations through his work with the University of Washington’s rural-health program.

A past president of the Washington State Academy of Family Physicians, he was associate dean, and later associate vice president for medical affairs and vice dean for regional affairs for the UW School of Medicine’s student-training programs in rural health, primary care, and family medicine.

Coombs’s rural health career began in 1974 as a physician in Tonasket, Okanogan County, for the National Health Service Corp. He then practiced pediatrics and family medicine in rural Omak, also in Okanogan County, from 1979–1984, and he taught UW medical students community-based patient care.

With the Omak public schools, Coombs created a program to check all entering kindergartners for health problems that might hinder their learning. He later directed the Tacoma Family Medicine Residency, and, in 1987, was named vice president for medical affairs at MultiCare, a network of hospitals and clinics in the South Sound area.

Coombs created the Obstetrical Access Clinic, a project that lowered the once-high infant mortality in Pierce County. He also established the Pediatric Sexual Abuse Clinic at Tacoma’s Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital.

Coombs was named UW associate dean for regional affairs and rural health in 1993. In that post, he headed WAMI, an acronym for the states — Washington, Alaska, Montana, and Idaho — participating in the UW School of Medicine’s regional education programs. WAMI was renamed WWAMI in 1993 when Wyoming joined.

Paul G. Ramsey, M.D., CEO of UW Medicine, executive vice president for medical affairs, and dean of the School of Medicine, said Coombs worked alongside community leaders in Wyoming and in Spokane to obtain support to create new medical-student training sites.

In 1998, Coombs was the first holder of the Theodore J. Phillips Professorship in Family Medicine, funded by an endowment that supports medical-student training in family medicine, rural health and rural health-issues research. He also led the medical school’s graduate residency-training programs.

A 1967 UW zoology graduate, Coombs earned his medical degree from Cornell University School of Medicine, where he also earned a master’s degree in nutrition in 1972. Coombs completed his residency in family medicine and in pediatrics at the UW.

Besides his wife, Martha, he is survived by a son, Joshua, and a daughter, Maley.


Charles Allison Hammond, M.D. ’52, died peacefully in his sleep on Nov. 21, 2008 in Marysville, Wash. He was born in Tacoma, Wash., on July 1, 1918 and graduated from Stadium High School in 1936. Hammond graduated from the University of Puget Sound in 1940, and, in 1943, he married his college sweetheart, Margret Goodman. He enlisted in the U.S. Coast Guard in Jan. 1942 and served throughout the war.

He received his medical degree from the UW School of Medicine in 1952 and in 1954 started a family medicine practice in Marysville, Wash.

Hammond enjoyed family activities such as boating, skiing, summers at the beach house, winters at the ski cabin at Stevens Pass, tinkering with old sports cars, photography, and his early use of computers in the 1980s. He served on the boards of Everett General Hospital, Bank of Everett, the Boy Scouts, and the YMCA. He also was the president of medical staff at Everett Medical Association, a member of the American Medical Association, Academy Family Practice, and the Snohomish County, Washington State, and American Medical Associations.

He is survived by his wife of 65 years, Margret, two sons, Curtis and Craig, one daughter, Gretchen, and six grandchildren. The Hammonds’ son Whitney preceded him in death.


Thelma “Temy” Kennedy, professor emeritus of physiology and biophysics and one of the first tenured women faculty at the UW School of Medicine, died on Jan. 10, 2009, at the age of 83. After receiving a doctoral degree from the University of Chicago in 1955, Kennedy was admitted to the then-new postdoctoral program in physiology and biophysics at the UW in 1956 and joined the faculty of that department in 1957. She remained in the department until her retirement in 1988. Kennedy was the graduate program advisor throughout her tenure in the department and headed the department’s postdoctoral neurophysiology training program. Her own research dealt primarily with the cerebral and cerebellar cortices.

In 1969, she was appointed associate dean of the UW graduate school, to that date the highest administrative appointment for a woman in the UW’s history. She also played an active role on campus with respect to women’s issues and served on the UW Women’s Council, an advisory body to the provost on opportunities for UW women in employment, education, and extracurricular activities in accordance with federal and state affirmative action guidelines.

In 1972 she returned to her home department, the Department of Physiology and Biophysics. Upon the retirement of the chair, Harry Patton, she became acting chair until the appointment of Wayne Crill in 1983.

In addition to her university service, Kennedy served on several national committees, including the Experimental Psychology and Biopsychology Study Sections of the National Institutes of Health, the Veteran’s Administration Merit Review Board in Neurobiology, and the evaluation team of the Western Association of Schools, Colleges and Universities.

Kennedy was married for 45 years to Richard Berner, former University Archivist, and together they explored the mountains and trails of the Pacific Northwest and enjoyed good food and music.

Rodney M. LaViolette, M.D. ’55, age 78, died March 12, 2009 after a long illness associated with cerebral atrophy in Oak Harbor, Wash. He was born in Seattle on Oct. 30, 1930. He graduated from the UW School of Medicine in 1955 and did his internship at the Fresno County Hospital in Fresno, Calif. Following his internship, he married Carolyn Augustine in 1956, then served two years in the U.S. Navy as a ship physician.

LaViolette did his family practice residency at Pierce County Hospital in Tacoma in 1957 and maintained a family practice from 1959 to 1984 in Burien, Wash. He was a fellow diplomate in family practice, owned two medical office buildings in south Seattle, and was an active member of the First Methodist Church.

He and Carolyn divorced in 1994, and LaViolette retired in 1995. Upon retirement, he moved to Mount Vernon, Wash., and was a private pilot and avid mountain climber, having climbed all the major peaks in the Pacific Northwest.

LaViolette is survived by his three children, Randall, Karen, and Francine, and two grandchildren. His son Stuart died in 1972.


Thomas Y. Locke, M.D. ’50, died suddenly of congestive heart failure on May 24, 2008, at his home in Los Gatos, Calif. He was forever grateful for being part of the UW School of Medicine’s first class. Following his medical-school graduation in 1950, he moved to San Francisco, Calif., for his surgical residency at Hahnemann Hospital. He had just started a family practice in Richmond, Calif., when he was drafted by the U.S. Navy and stationed in San Diego. In addition to caring for 10,000 advanced recruits in his second year, he began working as a supervised anesthesia apprentice. Locke then returned to the Bay area to begin a two-year formal anesthesia residency in Oakland.

He received his board certification in 1961, and he and his family moved to Los Gatos, Calif., to establish a practice. He became the first head of anesthesiology at Good Samaritan Hospital and was on the staff of Los Gatos Hospital, Campbell Community Hospital, and O’Conner Hospital.

After retirement in 1995, Locke continued to pursue his passion for learning, whether the focus was on his beloved game of golf, world history, or new developments in anesthesiology. He and his wife, Mae, traveled extensively and indulged their seven grandchildren.

Locke had several pieces of advice for medical students. First, find a specialty that fits your personality — something that you love doing every day. Choose a specialty that is in demand. There is nothing more frustrating and demoralizing than to be underutilized. Be proficient in your line of work. And finally: be humble.


William J. Medlicott M.D. ’59, died  December 21, 2008 in Port Townsend, Wash. He was the former chair of orthopedics at St. Luke’s Hospital in Kansas City, Mo.


Lowell Mickelson, M.D. ’73, of Detroit Lakes, Minn., died Feb. 11, 2009 at his home. He was 62. Mickelson was born on March 1, 1946 in New Rockford, N.D., where he attended high school, graduating in 1964. After graduating from the University of North Dakota, he earned his medical degree from the UW School of Medicine in 1973. Mickelson began his general medicine practice on the Rosebud Indian Reservation in Winner, S.D. In 1975, he entered into an emergency medicine practice. Mickelson established Lakes Emergency Physicians, providing physician coverage for area emergency departments.

He married Celes on June 16, 1990, at their home on Lake Sallie in Detroit Lakes. Mickelson was an avid golfer and played at some of the most renowned golf courses in the world. His insatiable curiosity, zest for life, and love for travel took him and his wife to many parts of the world. Surviving Mickelson are his wife, Celes, a daughter, Breah, and two sons, Kurt and Ross.


Allen Norman, M.D. ’58, 80, of Long Beach, Wash., died April 4, 2009. He was born on June 26, 1928 and graduated from the UW School of Medicine in 1958.

From 1946 to 1948, Norman served as an Army medic in Japan. He lived in the Longview-Kelso, Wash., area for 25 years, where he also had a family practice. He later served as an emergency room doctor in Longview and Port Angeles, Wash. He retired in 1994, then moved to Long Beach, Wash., in 2000.

Norman was a gourmet cook and an avid outdoorsman. He enjoyed fly-fishing, boating, hunting ducks, and crabbing. He married Shirley Russell in 1951, and they divorced 20 years later. Norman married his second wife, Jeanne, in 1979 and she preceded him in death in 2000.

He is survived by six children — Jerry, John, Carla, Gigi, Allen, and Leslie — as well as 10 grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.


Joe Lease Sellers III, Res. (emergency medicine), of West Plains, Mo., died Sunday, Dec. 21, 2008 at his home. He was 42. Sellers was born March 26, 1966 at Loring Air Force Base, Maine. In 1984, he graduated from high school in Grand Saline, Texas, and on May 24, 1986, he was married to Rebecca DeAnn Stovall. 

In 1988, Sellers received a B.S. in biochemistry from Texas A & M University; in 1993, he graduated from the Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine. He did his internship at the Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, Texas, and his residency in emergency medicine at the University of Washington and Madigan Army Medical Center, Seattle, Wash.

Sellers was a veteran, having served with the U.S. Army. His assignments included serving as a member of the emergency department at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, Landstuhl, Germany, as battalion surgeon on a United Nations Task Force in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, and as a staff emergency medicine physician in Fort Leonard Wood, Mo. He was the medical director of the emergency department at Ozarks Medical Center, West Plains.

Sellers was a member of the American Academy of Family Physicians, the American Academy of Emergency Medicine, the American College of Emergency Physicians, and the Government Services Chapter of the American College of Emergency Physicians. He enjoyed hunting and traveling and loved being with his family. Sellers also was a member of the First Baptist Church of West Plains.

He is survived by his wife, DeAnn Sellers; five sons: Joe IV, Lance, Wyatt, Nate, and Gabe; his parents, Joe Lease Sellers, Jr., and Charlotte Gilbreath Sellers of Grand Saline, Texas; and other extended family.


Nicholas G. Ward, a University of Washington professor emeritus, died in Seattle, Wash., on October 28, 2008 after a seven-year battle with Parkinson’s disease and dementia. He was born the fifth of five boys on Nov. 8, 1947 in Green Village, N.J. Ward graduated from Cornell University and completed his medical degree at Cornell Medical School. He then moved to Madison, Wis., where he completed his psychiatric residency.

Ward moved to Seattle in 1975 and started his career as a psychiatry professor at the UW School of Medicine. He was a practicing psychiatrist at UW Medical Center and Harborview Medical Center, and he also served as chair of the second-year medical school course in psychiatry for many years. While teaching at the UW, Ward was honored with a University of Washington Distinguished Teaching Award in 1983 and was the recipient of the UW School of Medicine Outstanding Teacher Award in 1997 and 1999. Medical and physician assistant students repeatedly honored him with Excellence in Teaching Awards.

Ward co-authored two books on psychiatric treatment and psychiatric drugs and was recognized nationally and internationally for his academic work and research. His mind was always active, and he would get up enthusiastically at 5:00 a.m. each day and spend several quiet hours writing.

Ward was devoted to his family and loved hiking, camping, and backpacking with them in the Cascades; he recorded all their adventures in photographs. Ward’s interests were varied; he read voraciously, wrote poetry, and enjoyed traveling, swimming, and skiing. He was most happy spending time with his family, his beloved pets, and friends, and he will be remembered by all who knew him as consistently smart, kind, thoughtful, and funny. Ward is survived by his wife of 30 years, Jean, and their children, Galen and Joanna.


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