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Fischer M.D., PhD Ronald Fischer died Friday, January 25th after a long illness. He was surrounded by loving family members and passed away peacefully. He is predeceased by his parents, Irene and Albert and his brother Al.
Ron was born January 29, 1936 in Philadelphia, PA and grew up in the Cincinnati, Ohio area. Having competed in the hurdles at Mariemont High School and making it all the way to the State Championships, Ron was awarded a full athletic scholarship in track and field from Ohio State where he graduated with a BS in Biology in 1957. Ron went on to medical school at University of Cincinnati during which time he met his beloved wife of 51 years, Nancy.
Ronald Fischer received his surgical and scientific training at the University of Minnesota, receiving his PhD in 1967. In 1968, Ron was sent to Vietnam and served as Chief of Surgery at the Saigon 3rd Army Field Hospital, receiving a Bronze Star for his service. While in Vietnam, Ron performed the first U.S. Army organ transplant (kidney). It was also the first to be performed in wartime and the first in Asia. He was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel while finishing his tour at Walter Reed Hospital in Washington, D.C.
Ron went on to a distinguished career as a general surgeon in academic medicine, starting as Assistant Professor of Surgery at the University of New Mexico Medical School in Albuquerque, NM. He then became Associate Professor of Surgery at University of Minnesota Medical School, in St. Paul, MN followed by Chairman of the Surgery Department at University of Arizona Medical School in Tucson, Arizona. His next position brought him to Houston as Director of Trauma Surgery at University of Texas Medical School. Some of the highlights of his career were establishing the first Trauma center in the state of Arizona, and along with Dr. Red Duke, established Hermann Hospital's Life Flight Program as the country's first and leading helicopter-based trauma center.
Ron's final position was as Chief of Surgery at the newly established Lyndon Baines Johnson County hospital. Under his guidance, the hospital grew into a full service hospital, providing medical care for the underprivileged in Harris County.
In addition to his success as a professor and surgeon, Ron was very involved in medical research, publishing 125 research papers over his career, serving on numerous surgical committees including the Board of Regents for the American College of Surgeons, and holding editorial positions for various medical journals.
After his retirement in 1996, Ron's hobbies and family occupied his time. During his illness, surgeons trained by Ron paid respect, many remarking that he was a dedicated advocate for excellence in medical care, an enthusiastic and entertaining teacher of the art of surgery, and a man of honor who put the needs of others before his own.
To family and friends he will be remembered not only for his work and countless lives saved because of it, but even more so for his compassion, love, and epic humor.
Ron is survived by his wife Nancy Marie Fischer of Houston, TX , his son Dr. Craig Peter Fischer of Houston, TX, and his daughter Shannon Fischer Ware of Belleair, FL.
A funeral service will be held at Wade Chapel in Lakeview Cemetery, Cleveland, Ohio on January 31, 2013 at 12pm . A memorial service will also be held in Houston, TX at the Rothko Chapel, 1409 Sul Ross Street on February 9, 2013 at 2pm.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations be made to the Wounded Warrior Project, P.O. Box 758517, Topeka, Kansas 66675 (www.support.woundedwarriorproject.org) OR The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston
Published in Houston Chronicle on Jan. 30, 2013