Ben Eiseman
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The family and friends of Ben Eiseman congratulate him on a long, productive, and adventurous life, well-lived. Born on November 2, 1917 in St. Louis, MO, his formal education was marked by degrees from John Burroughs School (1935), Yale University (1939), and Harvard University Medical School (1943). Self-education never ceased. He first served his country as a Lieutenant JG in the US Navy in 1943, on landing crafts as a beach battalion doctor and surgeon. He participated in the Anzio, Normandy, Peleliu, Philippines, and Okinawa actions. In the days before the Invasion of Normandy, he met a young Englishwoman, Mary Georgina Harding, in Falmouth, England. They were married December 22, 1945. He also served in Viet Nam, and Operation Desert Storm. He retired from the Naval Reserves as a Rear Admiral in 1974. As a surgeon, teacher, researcher, and mentor to generations of physicians, he led many and inspired others. He was the author or co-author of over 450 scientific papers and was principal editor of seven books on general surgery. He facilitated the training of medical students from many nations in American institutions, leading to the proliferation of medical knowledge throughout the world. For these efforts, he received numerous awards and honors, at home and abroad. Professional leadership positions included many with the American College of Surgeons, The American Surgical Association, and the Society of University Surgeons, in addition to being the founding Chairman of the Department of Surgery of the University of Kentucky. Honoraria included fellowships of the Royal College of Surgeons of Thailand and the Royal College of Surgeons of England. As a dedicated outdoorsman and community leader, his non-professional achievements included chairmanship of the Colorado Outward Bound School, the Kent School, and cofounding the Tenth Mountain Trail Association. The Ben Eiseman Hut outside of Vail was built in honor of his contributions to the Association. In lieu of flowers or gifts, the Eiseman Family suggests donations made to the Tenth Mountain Endowment Fund, Inc. 1280 Ute Ave Suite 21, Aspen CO, 81611.

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Published in Denver Post on Nov. 28, 2012.
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26 entries
December 4, 2020
I'm doing a search for families that came to the Mountain Chalet for Christmas. Naturally that includes the Eismans. I am so excited to see what a full life he had.

Mom and I are chatting on the phone about you all and the McNamaras, Hobsens, Perkins, Cabots

Merry Christmas to you all, if you see this.

AND - if any are willing to spend some time chatting about those days - go to the Facebook page for the Aspen Mountain Chalet and message me.
Julie Melville
November 2, 2020
Happy, Happy Birthday Dr. B.E.! Celebrate YOU - as we all do! Wish you were with us now - I would so much love to hear your analysis, comments, opinion, humor (!) and advice for these "trying times"!
I know Mrs. B.E. left us in September - a loss to your family - and a loss to Denver, and beyond. I remember she was such a "dragon at the gate" guarding Dr. B.E. from interruptions and needless stresses. HUGS to you and your family! GBC
Gail Buckley Crane
November 2, 2019
Dr B.E. would have been 102 years young today! His work and legacy go on.
November 2, 2018
Today would be 101 years young and still counting! His memory - and his legacy - lives on.

Gail Buckley Crane

Albuquerque NM
November 2, 2017
November Second. Cannot let the day pass without remembering Dr BE. He was my "boss" at Rose Medical Center. my most admired person, and, I am proud to say - he called me his friend! Today he would be 100 years young! Thank you for your teaching and your life lessons. Miss you! Love, GBC
Gail Crane
July 6, 2017
Like many other surgeons who have posted here, Dr. Eiseman was my first mentor and for whom my son Ben Rose is named. I was a somewhat uncertain college pre medical student at The University of Wisconsin when I had the good fortune of working in Dr. Eiseman's surgical research labs in 1972. I was star struck by his mere presence. Here was a role model, man of steely determination, and Colorado outdoorsman par excellence all rolled up into an individual without peer. And he was simply brilliant. His greatest joy was either skiing or mountain climbing the medical students (I later entered University of Colorado School of Medicine with great encouragement from Dr. Eiseman) and surgical residents into a near panic. The last time I saw Dr. Eiseman was skiing with Robert McNamara, the former U.S. Secretary of Defense, about 15 years ago in Aspen. But mainly Dr. Eiseman taught me perseverance, the ability to complete surgical or laboratory tasks to fruition, and simply how a surgeon should conduct ones self. A breed of surgeon no longer minted! Franklin A. Rose, M.D
Franklin Rose, M.D.
November 15, 2016
Remembering Dr BE again this year. He had an enormous influence on my life, and I am glad I had the opportunity to know him.
Gail Crane
November 2, 2015
Although I haven't worked for Dr Eiseman since the 1980's I would send him a Birthday Card every year, and was always thrilled to get back a personal response from "Dr BE" with updates about his year and his family. I couldn't let this November 2 go by without acknowledging him and the immense impact he had on me and on my family! I am proud that he always referred to me as his friend. We miss him!
Gail Crane
December 15, 2014

The best medical teacher I ever had. Inspired me to go into surgery and do my internship inKY, where he founded the surgery department. He also taught me what Viet Nam wasn't about as an Admiral in the Navy reserves. Truly a man of many talents and interests. I owe him a lot. Gene pflum
September 1, 2014
I never knew him personally but his texts on surgical decision making introduced me to this iconic surgical educator. His surgical texts describing diseases and disorders in an algorithmic fashion were ground breaking and were able to instill a clarity so much required when dealing with complex issues. All have to leave this stage, the world one day but he was truly a great surgeon.
Luqman Osman
July 22, 2014
I knew him for several years since I worked at the VA where he sent his time teaching. I told me things that were interesting and I was glad to learn it. He was likeable to me, being one of the secretaries when he was at the University. I knew he was strict with the student doctors. I liked him alot. I just found out that he passed away after checkin his name on the internet.
Ruth Harper (Huffman)
January 9, 2014
I met Dr. Eiseman in unusual circumstances. I was a freshman in med school in Denver going through orientation . In the cafeteria line I saw a man who turned out to be a navy corpsman in my outfit in Vietnam . He was working in his lab. He asked me what I wanted to do, and I told him surgery my interest having come from calling med-Evacs in Vietnam . He told me to introduce myself to dr. Eiseman without giving me an explanation. So I found his lab in the bowels of the medical school. His secretary invited me in, and there he was with his piercing grey eyes. Behind him on the wall was a poster that said the marine corps needed a few good men. I stood at attention. He grilled me for a bit recognizing I was older than most freshmen. He asked me if I had served in the air force , army, navy, or coast guard. No I said. I was a marine in 3rd battalion 3rd marines, mike Co., a company commanders radio operator. He welcomed me into his lab where I learned so much.i published my senior honors thesis from work he let me do.
My first rotationship as an intern in 1974 was general surgery at DG. He was hard on me expecting more than others, and I gave it back. There I met 2 people: Ronda belf, his secretary who would become my wife a few years later, and Story Musgrave the astronaut . Ronda and I would ride our bikes to the Eiseman compound and play tennis on the courts. Mary would bring us lemonade.
Finished residency then moved to Washington state where I had a successful private practice for nearly 25 years. Moved to tucson in 2001 and began working on the Navajo reservation month on month off until retiring in 2012. Have done a million lap choles.
Regret not pursuing an academic career, but I'm happy with what I have done for people, and value my experience with native Americans. Hope that would make my mentor proud of me.
I admired and respected him maybe more than anyone else I have ever known. I will always remember my climb up Mt. bierstadt with him in the lead doing what he loved.
Robert S Richardson, M.D. F.A.C.S.
November 21, 2013
I worked as his secretary. I remember bringing him some get well cards when he was a patient, he would read them, and throw them in the trash, what a hoot. Mary Converse
November 18, 2013
When Jim Anderson and I were second year surgical residents assigned to the plum 4 month trauma rotation at "the Old Denver General Hospital" in 1969, Dr. Eiseman accompanied us on early AM rounds virtually every day. His intense curiosity about everything, his mirroring of his own self-discipline, and beyond all else, his support for his troops has never been forgotten. I just listened to the University of Kentucky Medical Center's archived 1987 interview with Dr. Eiseman. What memories come flooding back!
I "hold" him in high esteem. There was nothing perfunctory about any of the roles he assumed, nor the missions he pursued. He was a great surgical educator, and inspired us all, in his adherence to scientific principles, without any dilution of the humanitarianism we are all called to share. We were blessed.
William Palmer
October 6, 2013
Big BEN! Thanks for inspiring my mother. With love and admiration. Aaron, Gail's kid!
Aaron Buckley
October 1, 2013
I was a young faculty member at the University in 1974, fresh out of my residency, when Dr. Eiseman took me under his wing. He taught me what it meant to be an "academic surgeon". He always remained in my thoughts as a role model, a mentor and a good friend. He will be sorely missed. You have my deepest condolences!
Richard Kempczinski
September 18, 2013
Sincere condolences to Dr. Eiseman's family and friends, his influence and enthusiasm led me to surgery. First,as a UK medical student working in his lab on liver perfusion studies and later being visited at Vandegrift Combat Base in RVN on one his many advisory visits. His spirit still is alive and is being passed on to students and residents as part of my effort to keep the surgery profession true to the principles he demanded. May God bless all.
Phillip "PK" Blevins
September 3, 2013
Ben was a hugely significant figure in my life. Such a strong personality with an irrepressible spirit for life. Of the many people who have walked through my life, his footprints have remained with me over the years and the lessons he taught me about myself and about life speak to his incredible talent for mentoring.
July 15, 2013
I worked for Dr. Eiseman for five years in the early seventies - in one of my first real jobs. He has always been an inspiration to me. Sometimes hard to work for but always driving for greater things. A great man. I was fortunate to have known him.
Eric Jorgensen
March 22, 2013
My deepest sympathies to his family. I worked as his secretary at Rose for 2 years. He had a gruff exterior, but I was able to see another side of him and am ever grateful for having known and worked with him.
Mary Riedesel Doshay
January 31, 2013
O M G !!!! Dr. B. E. was my touchstone and mentor. I worked with him at Rose Medical Center in the early 80's... and we had a yearly contact process at his birthday for the next 30 years,,,I miss him!
Gail Crane
January 28, 2013
I feel very fortunate to have spent four years as Dr. Eiseman's resident in the early seventies. He was a unique personality and a giant amount surgical educators. I doubt we will ever see any one like him again. The photo tribute to Dr. Eiseman on the University of Colorado web site gives a feeling for all he accomplished. He lived long and well and will certainly be missed.
Larry Leonard
November 29, 2012
It is always sad to see the name of an old friend under these circumstances. He, Jack Reeves and I had many interests in common. Recall that Ben and Jack coauthored papers when they were both in Kentucky in the 1960s before they both returned to Colorado. Wonderful memories.
Bob Grover, Arroyo Grande, CA
November 28, 2012

You have my deepest sympathy. May good memories provide solace for your family during this challenging time; and may God provide you with the assurance that you will see your loved one again in Paradise. John 17:3
November 28, 2012
Doc Ben was a hoot. One day he came up to me and described doing some research on transducing a patient's temporal artery as an alternate means of invasive monitoring when radial, femoral and other means were unavailable. I pointed out that there is usually access to at least one artery listed. He said, "you never know, so, you have to be ready for the worst case" as he always was. His humor and tone of life is already missed. AIRBORNE! Ben.
Mac MacGonegal
November 28, 2012
Ben Eiseman was an amazing man. I was his go to person for the computer at the Denver VA surgery office. I enjoyed his stories of coming to Wyoming as a young man to cowboy and wanting to make a career of it.
Carol Ratcliff
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