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John Buesseler

John Aure Buesseler LUBBOCK- John Aure Buesseler, M.D., Emeritus Founding Dean of the Medical School and Emeritus Founding Vice President for Health Affairs and Health Sciences of Texas Tech Health Sciences University, in Lubbock, Texas, died on March 7, 2013 at the age of 93 years. He was born on Sept. 30, 1919, to John Xavier and Gerda Aure Buesseler of Madison, Wisconsin. He married Cathryn Anne Hansen of Waupaca, Wis. on Dec. 26, 1959. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a Bachelor of Philosophy degree with Honors in 1941 and a Doctor of Medicine degree in 1944. He ranked third in his class and was elected to the academic medical honor societies of Sigma Sigma (Wisconsin) and Alpha Omega Alpha (National). He attended the Harvard University Graduate School of Medicine in Ophthalmology and the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Medicine in Ophthalmology in 1947 and 1948, and served as a Resident Physician in Ophthalmology at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, 1948-1951. He was in private practice of Ophthalmology in Madison, Wisconsin, for six years where he performed the first human corneal transplant in that city and, reportedly, in that state. He was appointed Founding Chief of Ophthalmology at the University of Missouri Medical Center in Columbia in 1959. While at the University of Missouri, he also attended its Graduate School of Business and Public Administration and earned the degree of Master of Science in Business Administration in 1965. While on sabbatical leave in 1966 from that institution, he attended the Cornell University Graduate School of Business and Public Administration where he studied for a Ph.D. degree (all but dissertation) in Business and Public Administration. He served as Executive Director of Kansas City General Hospital and Medical Center in 1969-1970 in the establishment of the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Medicine. In 1970 he moved to Lubbock, Texas where he was appointed founding Dean of the School of Medicine, Founding Vice President for Health Affairs, Founding Vice President for Health Sciences of the Texas Tech Health Sciences University, and founding Chief Executive Officer of the Texas Tech Health Sciences University and Center. He also served as Professor of Ophthalmology and as Founding Professor and Chairman of Health Organization Management, a joint-venture department between the School of Medicine and the College of Business Administration of Texas Tech University. In 1973 he was appointed to the rank of University Professor (Distinguished and Multidisciplinary) by the Board of Regents and by their Resolution of Congratulations for his achievements as Founding Dean of the Medical School. In 1973 and 1987 the State of Texas House of Representatives awarded him with Certificates of Citation for his contributions in Medicine, Civic Leadership, and Service to Community, State, and Nation. He retired from the faculty in 1998. Dr. Buesseler was honored in May 2000 by being named Founding Dean and Founding Vice President for Health Affairs and Health Sciences Emeritus. In 2005 he was awarded the degree of Doctor of Humane Letters (Honoris Causa) by Texas Tech University at its December graduation exercises. As a second-year medical student in June 1942, Dr. Buesseler volunteered for the U.S. Army and served on active duty in World War II as a Private First Class (PFC) enlisted medical student in the Army Specialized Training Program (ASTP). As a 1st LT, Medical Corps, he subsequently served as a Hospital Train Commander in the 1960th Hospital Train (Rail Road) Unit. In Europe, toward the end of World War II, he served as Battalion Surgeon with the 1st Bn, 30th Inf. Regt., 3rd Infantry Division and, later as Regimental Surgeon with the 6th Armored Calvary Regiment (Constabulary). He again served on active duty with the Pennsylvania Air National Guard in the Korea Conflict as Commander of the 11th Medical Group in the 111th Bombardment Wing (B-29s), and later as Chief of Ophthalmology in the Air Materiel Command. In the Army in the Vietnam Conflict in 1970, he was an Army Senior Flight Surgeon and Special Forces Colonel (Green Beret) serving as Special Project Officer in South Vietnam for the United States Secretary of Defense. While in Vietnam, he was the Senior-Ranking Special Forces Officer in the theatre. He was the Emeritus Founding Chairman of the Texas Aviation Heritage Foundation, Inc., which organization initiated and supported the relocation to Lubbock of the Silent Wings Museum memorializing the WWII Combat Glider Pilots. He was also Emeritus Founding Chairman of the Silent Wings Museum Foundation, Inc., a charter member of the Vietnam Center Advisory Board, a life member of both the Dustoff Association (Army helicopter ambulance), and the Special Forces Association. He was also the Founding Member of the Missouri Ophthalmological Society, Inc., Co-founder of the Joint Commission on Allied Health Personnel in Ophthalmology, Inc. and Co-founder of the Charles Russell Bardeen, M.D., Founding Dean, Memorial Fund at the University of Wisconsin Medical School. He was also the Ophthalmologist member of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's Space Medicine Advisory Group (SPAMAG) that developed the safety, research, and life support requirements in 1963-1966 for the NASA Orbiting Research Laboratory. As a consultant to the healthcare industry, he was the Founder, Chief Executive Officer, and Senior Consultant of Health Organization Management Systems International. He is survived by his wife, Cathryn Ann Hansen Buesseler of Lubbock, Texas; a son, John of New York; a granddaughter; and two great-grandchildren. At the request of the deceased, there will be no services. Burial of his cremains will be at the Lakeside cemetery in Waupaca, Wis. In lieu of flowers, please make contributions to the Vietnam Center and Archive at Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas; the Charles Russell Bardeen, M.D., Founding Dean Memorial Fund, School of Medicine and Public Health at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, Wisconsin; or to the Vernon Earl Wilson, M.D., Medical School Dean Memorial Scholarship Fund at the University of Missouri in Columbia, Missouri.

Published in The Lubbock Avalanche-Journal on Mar. 10, 2013
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