Dr. Alan P. Thal, MD, 88, a resident of Golondrinas since 1972 passed away on Friday, March 14, 2014.
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He was born on July 15, 1925 in Cape Town, South Africa to Alexander Thal and Bess Clouts.
He was united in marriage with Felicia Jacobs on Dec. 14, 1949 in Durban, South Africa.
He is survived by his wife, Felicia Thal, of the family home in Golondrinas; daughter, Alyson P. Thal, of Corrales; sons, John S. Thal and wife, Gayla, of Albuquerque, and Doug O. Thal and wife, Kristin, of Santa Fe; grandchildren, Adam Gonzales, Owen Thal, Kevin Gonzales, Amy Gonzales, Kelly Gonzales, Alex Thal, Alistair Gonzales, Carson Thal, Kathryn Gonzales and Russell Thal; great-grandchildren: Malayna, Aiden, Anthony, Avery, and Mayson; caregivers, Randy and Monica Taylor, and Richard Lau.
Dr. Thal earned his medical degree at the University of Cape Town, South Africa in December 1949. He did his internship at Cornell University in pathology 1950 to 1951 and another internship at Johns Hopkins 1952 to 1953 in surgery. He completed his residency in surgery at the University of Minnesota, where he also finished as a Ph.D. He was a member of the original Open Heart Team at the University of Minnesota from 1953 to 1960. He then moved to Detroit, where he became chairman of the Department of Surgery at Wayne State University, continuing his research. This culminated in his well-known book published in 1971, "Shock, A Physiologic Basis for Treatment." He then moved on to the University of Kansas Medical Center where he was professor of surgery and obtained research grants from the NIH and the National Academy of Science. His extensive research in thoracic and esophageal surgery led to the publication of more than 150 publications from 1966 to 1972.
In 1972, Dr. Thal developed an interest in ranching and raising purebred Hereford cattle, so he searched for a location where he could ranch and raise cattle, as well as serve as the local surgeon. They found their dream ranch outside of Las Vegas where he ultimately served as a surgeon from 1972 to 1994. So many families were touched by the high quality surgery he was able to provide to Las Vegas. In 1994, Dr. Thal was forced to retire after a serious illness, but continued his research and invented several new surgical instruments and procedures which still bear his name. For the remainder of his life, he developed a keen interest in oil painting, and had several gallery shows. His paintings reflected his love for the New Mexico landscape and his love for his ranch. He will be remembered for his amazing love of life and commitment to family and his dogs.
Graveside services will be held at 11 a.m. Wednesday at The Thal Ranch in Golondrinas.
In lieu of flowers, memorial may be made in his recognition for the love of dogs and animals to Humane Society, 100 Caja Del Rio Rd., Santa Fe, N.M. 87507.
Visit Rogers Mortuary's website at www.rogersmortuarynm.com to sign the online register book.
Arrangements are under the direction of Rogers Mortuary; 600 Reynolds Ave, Las Vegas; 1-800-479-3511 or 425-3511.
Rogers Mortuary - Las Vegas
600 Reynolds Avenue Las Vegas, NM 87701
Published in Las Vegas Optic on Mar. 17, 2014