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Gerald Rainer


1927 - 2017 Obituary Condolences Gallery
Gerald Rainer Obituary
Dr. Gerald Rainer, renowned Denver heart surgeon, died suddenly of natural causes on November 14, 2017, one day after his 90th birthday. Jerry Rainer was born November 13, 1927 in Gordo, Alabama to Jamie and Lula Rainer. He attended Emory University and University of Alabama and earned his medical degree in 1948 at the age of 21 from the University of Tennessee. His medical internship was in Chicago, Illinois at Wesley Memorial Hospital, where he met his beloved wife, Lois Sayre. He then served in the Korean War as first lieutenant in the Army Medical Corp, receiving the Bronze Star and Combat Medical Badge. In 1954 he and his young family moved to Denver. He served his surgical residency at the Denver VA Hospital under Ben Eiseman, his esteemed mentor. In 1959, he was the first to complete a fellowship in thoracic and cardiovascular surgery at the University of Colorado. He practiced thoracic and cardiovascular surgery for 50 years, with St. Joseph Hospital in Denver as his professional home, and was a respected leader, researcher, and educator, helping and mentoring countless residents, fellows, and many other healthcare professionals. One of St. Joseph's greatest supporters, he initiated many educational programs and, with his wife Lois, built the Rainer auditorium, in which frequent cultural, musical and medical programs have been presented. Dr. Rainer joined the Board of Directors of Saint Joseph Hospital Foundation in 1982 and later became Director Emeritus. Dr. Rainer masterfully blended private practice with a strong academic involvement, striving to bring together "town and gown". He made significant contributions doing groundbreaking research, which were instrumental in the development of the field of cardiac surgery. Among Dr. Rainer's numerous academic accomplishments, he served as a distinguished clinical professor of surgery at the University of Colorado School of Medicine and served on many important University boards and committees. He published prolifically in nearly all of the respected surgical journals. He was the first Colorado surgeon to serve on the American Board of Thoracic Surgery. Through the years he was president of many organizations including the Denver Medical Society, Denver Academy of Surgery, Denver Clinicopathological Society, Colorado Medical Society, Rocky Mountain Vascular Society, American College of Chest Physicians, and Society of Thoracic Surgeons, and was actively involved in international professional organizations. During his distinguished career, Jerry traveled extensively with his wife Lois and was a visiting lecturer and professor at many universities and prestigious institutions around the world. He was a great Colorado philanthropist who enjoyed and supported music, art, and culture. He served on the board of the Colorado Symphony Orchestra and was a member of the Denver Art Museum and the Denver Botanic Gardens, and many other Denver cultural institutions. He was also a valued member of the Cactus Club. Dr. Rainer was a dedicated surgeon and will always remain the model of how one can combine a successful clinical practice with an insatiable professional curiosity, pursuit of knowledge, and love of life. Dr. Rainer is survived by his wife of 67 years Lois, sister Gypsy Richards, children Pat Rainer, Vickie Canan, Bill Rainer, Julia Rainer, and Leslie Rainer, grandchildren Christopher and Charles Canan, Will, Jay, Orion and Noah Rainer, Alli Rainer, and Ruslan Heginbotham, and great grandchildren Madeleine and Maxwell Canan, and Morgan Rainer. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the St Joseph Hospital Foundation, Colorado Symphony Orchestra, or University of Colorado Department of Surgery or a .
Published in Denver Post from Nov. 19 to Nov. 26, 2017
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