SOUTH WOODSTOCK, Vt., and WALTHAM, Mass. - World-renowned neurologist and Professor of Neurology Emeritus at Tufts University School of Medicine Dr. Theodore "Ted" Leon Munsat died on Friday, November 22, 2013, at home in Waltham, Mass. He was surrounded by his loving family.
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Ted received his M.D. from the University of Vermont in 1957. After completing his internship at Mount Sinai Hospital in Manhattan, Ted went on to complete a neurological residency at Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center in New York. In 1963, after two years in the Navy, he accepted a position at UCLA Medical Center, Los Angeles, where he developed his interest in neuromuscular disease. While there, he worked with Carl Pearson, the eminent rheumatologist and neuromuscular physician. Ted quickly became one of the leaders developing the new science of histochemistry of skeletal muscle. In 1970, he moved across town to become director of the University of Southern California Muscle Disorders Clinic and Professor of Neurology. At USC, he expanded his work with ALS patients and quickly established a team committed to increasing the understanding of the disease.
In 1975, he took a 12-month sabbatical in Newcastle upon Tyne, UK, with Professor John (now Lord) Walton and shortly thereafter, accepted the chairmanship of the Department of Neurology at Tufts-New England Medical Center. He stepped down from the chairmanship in 1982 to concentrate on his ALS research and his broader educational interests.
Ted was president of the American Academy of Neurology (AAN) 1989-1991 and chairman of the Continuing Educational Committee of the AAN. He co-founded CONTINUUM, a continuing education publication of the AAN. He was particularly proud of CONTINUUM and of his work with the World Federation of Neurology (WFN). He was chairman of the WFN ALS Research Group, and the Research and Education Committees, and traveled to many countries to advance the mission of the WFN to improve the teaching and the practice of neurology in developing countries.
He authored more than 200 scientific articles and books, including widely used textbooks on ALS, the post-polio syndrome and quantification of neurological deficits. He received many honors during his long career, including the A.B. Baker Award for Education of the AAM, the Sheila Essey Award for ALS Research, and the Lifetime Achievement Award of the WFN Research Group on Neuromuscular Diseases.
Ted was born in Portland, Maine, in 1930, to Leo and Ethel Munsat. When he was a child, the Munsat family moved to Rutland, Vermont. He graduated from Rutland High School in 1948. "Tiger Ted" was co-captain of the All-State football team in the same year. He then went on to study chemistry at the University of Michigan. He was passionate about Michigan football and all sporting events. Throughout the duration of his life, he pursued many interests. He loved being in the outdoors where he enjoyed sailing, skiing and camping. He was passionate about his love for his home state of Vermont. He taught himself how to tap maple trees on his property and made his own maple syrup and apple cider. He also raised sheep, made furniture and enjoyed tending to his vegetable garden. Ted was also a devotee of Robert Frost. Though he lived in many parts of the country, he always considered Vermont his home and maintained a residence there for many years.
He is survived by his loving wife, Carla Munsat; his daughter, Amy Munsat and husband Harry Flamm; his son, Peter Munsat and wife Lisa; his brother, Stanley Munsat; his sister, Michelle Munsat and husband Rick Foard; six grandchildren, Lucy, Lila, Jesse, Alex, Hallie and Jake; and many nieces and nephews.
He touched many lives through his willingness to give generously of his time and knowledge.
Ted believed each day to be an adventure.
A memorial service will be held at a later date. Details will be communicated to family, friends and colleagues in advance of the date. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that contributions be made to the World Federation of Neurology (email firstname.lastname@example.org">email@example.com">firstname.lastname@example.org">email@example.com) or the Vermont Land Trust (http://www.vlt.org/support).
Arrangements are under the direction of the Clifford Funeral Home in Rutland.
Clifford Funeral Home
2 Washington St Rutland, VT 05701
Published in Rutland Herald on Nov. 25, 2013