Tom Russell

Thomas Russell M.D.

September 20, 1940 - August 4, 2014

Doctor Tom Russell went on ahead of us Monday, August 4, following a four year battle with cancer. Tom is survived by his loving wife of 35 years, Dr. Nona Chiampi Russell; his daughters, Dr. Katie Russell, a general surgery chief resident at the University of Utah, and Jackie Russell, a student in veterinary medicine at UC Davis; his sister, Susie Tompkins Buell, and nieces, Quincey Imhoff and Summer Tompkins Walker, as well as numerous other grand- nephews and nieces. Tom was the son of Floyd and Marianna Russell. A native of San Francisco, Tom attended Town School for Boys, The Thacher School, and the University of California, Berkeley. Tom received his medical degree from Creighton University and did his surgical internship at San Francisco General Hospital. His training was interrupted by service in the US Navy as a flight surgeon aboard the USS Ticonderoga in the Vietnam War and then aboard the USS Forrestal. He completed his surgical training at UCSF including a research year in pancreatic surgery under Dr. Maurice Mercardier in Paris, France. Upon completion of his training in 1975 he joined the practice of Drs Gallagher and Volpe in San Francisco specializing in general and Colon and Rectal Surgery. In 1979 he was appointed chief of surgery at Presbyterian Hospital which is now California Pacific Medical Center. He served in this capacity until 1999 when he was selected to serve as the Executive Director of the American College of Surgeons, a post he held until 2010. He will be honored by the ACS at their Clinical Congress in San Francisco in October with a Lifetime Achievement Award, only the third awarded in over 100 years of College history.

Tom's first interaction with the public was as a summer wrangler at the Tumbling McD Dude Ranch in Philo, CA when he was 15. He returned the next summer as chief wrangler, a position he held until his second year of medical school when he began living his motto "Take the stairs, be nice to the janitor, and the patient comes first." Tom was undeniably a surgeon first but also a cowboy at heart. He passed away at his ranch in Philo.

Tom was a devoted and loving husband, father and brother. He was a man of enormous integrity and generous spirit. He touched the lives of many people both as a surgeon and a friend. He remains an inspiration to all. The family will conduct a private service and would request any donations in remembrance of Tom be made to The Thacher School in Ojai, California, the SF Achievers, a San Francisco public high school mentoring and scholarship program, or the Thomas Russell Scholarship Fund at the American College of Surgeons, Chicago, IL.

Published in San Francisco Chronicle on Aug. 10, 2014