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Robert A. Fishman M.D.

Death Notice
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Robert A. Fishman, MD Robert A. Fishman, MD of Tiburon, CA died on Tuesday, December 4 from complications of Alzheimer's disease. He was 88 years old. He is survived by his wife Mary C. Fishman and his three daughters, Dr. Mary Fishman of New York City, NY (husband Dr. Howard Fine), Alice Fishman of Oakland, CA and Elizabeth Near of Sierra Madre, CA (husband Dr. Michael Near) He is also survived by a stepson, Dr. Byron Wilson of Kingston, Jamaica (wife Suzette Wolfe Wilson), by 9 grandchildren, Matthew and Jessica Fine, Andrew and Rob Feldman, Emily, John and David Near, and Brittany and Adam Wilson. His first wife, Peggy Satz Fishman, pre-deceased him in 1980.
Dr. Fishman was born in New York City on May 30, 1924. His interest in science began in high school and he entered Columbia College at age 16. Because of WWII, he entered the US Navy V12 program at the University of Pennsylvania Medical School, finishing his accelerated coursework in three years, graduating in 1947. He completed his internship at Yale University, and then went to Massachusetts General Hospital for additional clinical training. Intent on pursuing a career in Neurology, he entered the residency program at the New York Neurological Institute at Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center. The doctor draft for the Korean War interrupted his career plans and he found himself in the Army Service Graduate School at Walter Reed Hospital. After his tour of duty was over in 1952, Dr. Fishman returned to Columbia where he was appointed Chief Resident. Upon finishing his residency, he joined the faculty at Columbia. Dr. Fishman began a productive research program studying the blood-brain barrier and cerebro-spinal fluid physiology and biochemistry. In 1966, he moved west after accepting the Chairmanship of the Department of Neurology at UC San Francisco, a position he held for 26 years until 1992.
Dr. Fishman's contribution to the development of Neurology in the Bay Area and to the field internationally is unquestioned. In addition, his peers and students recognized his qualities of leadership, his vigor in community activities, his productivity as an investigator and his great talent and resourcefulness as a teacher, administrator and clinician. Dr. Fishman's legacy includes the Neurology Library and Study Center at UCSF, a visiting lectureship in Neurology as well as a Distinguished Professorship in his name. He served as President of the Association of University Professors, the American Academy of Neurology, the American Neurological Association and the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology. He also served as Editor of the journal, Annals of Neurology and on various other editorial boards. He has received countless awards from universities and professional societies, including the George W. Jacoby Award from the American Neurological Association in recognition of his outstanding contributions in Neurology. He was a senior member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences.
In 1996, he was honored with the Distinguished Graduate Award from the University of Pennsylvania in recognition of his successful career-long efforts to enhance the study and practice of Neurology while serving as a dedicated educator and mentor to his students and residents. Despite his enumerable professional accomplishments and awards, Dr. Fishman's greatest legacy will be that of an outstanding teacher and superlative mentor to over two generations of academic neurologists, helping to pave the way for the current and future leadership in the field.
Beside his professional accomplishments, Dr. Fishman was a devoted friend and family man. All that knew him will forever miss and remember his unfailing good humor, wit, intelligence and kindness. A memorial service will be held at UCSF at a later date.
Donations in Dr. Fishman's memory can be sent to UCSF Neurology honoring Robert A. Fishman MD (UCSF Foundation Box 45339 San Francisco, CA 94145-0339) or Heartland Hospice (1015 Northg Blvd, Suite 300, San Rafael, CA 94903.)
Published in San Francisco Chronicle on Dec. 9, 2012
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