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Ralph H. Kellogg

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Ralph H. Kellogg Obituary
Ralph H. Kellogg Former professor at UCSF Medical School in San Francisco was primarily a physiologist, active as a research scientist and teacher rather than a physician. He enjoyed wonderful personal and professional friendships and was dearly loved by a large family. Born in 1920, the youngest of 6 children, Ralph was educated in the public schools of Saratoga Springs NY. He went to college and medical school at the University of Rochester. By Dec. 1944 he was one of 3 Navy doctors providing medical care on an attack transport, which crisscrossed the Pacific Ocean during World War II. He then turned his attention to training for the sort of scientific career he wanted at the Dept. of Physiology of Harvard Medical School, where he became a half-time instructor helping teach first-year medical students while enrolled as a graduate student. He received his Ph.D. degree in Physiology in 1953. He then moved to what proved to be a lifetime job on the Physiology faculty of UC Medical School, first in Berkeley and the in San Francisco in 1958. Both as a teacher and in research, he specialized in renal and respiratory physiology. Perhaps his most unusual research concerned the physiology of high altitude. He and a few students worked each summer between 1955 and 1965 at 14,250 feet in the university's White Mountain Research Station near Bishop, CA. Facilities were primitive, and they were subjects for their own experiments. Their measurements yielded additional information about the control of breathing that helps people adjust to the lack of oxygen pressure in the air. Very few physiologists in the world had laboratory facilities to work at such high altitude, and Ralph came to know most of them. He was invited to International Symposia and Congresses all over the world and definitive reports of his original research were often published. He was able to spend sabbatical years working with colleagues in Oxford and Strasbourg. His collection of rare mountaineering books is now in UCSF Library's Historical Collection. He retired as Professor Emeritus in 1990. Documentary photography (not artistic) was a favorite hobby. He enjoyed fine wine, good music, Shakespeare, and preferred reading non-fiction. He accumulated many family photos and photos from his travels. When he moved to the Sequoias in 1998, he assumed responsibility for bi-weekly Hi-Fi concerts there for over 10 years and assembled an impressive CD collection. Ralph loved gatherings with friends and family and was a wonderful teacher and storyteller. He was always welcoming and interested in everyone he met. As a family member expressed recently " If there were more Uncle Ralphs in the world, the world would be a better place". We'll miss him. Family, friends and colleagues are welcome to join a gathering to celebrate his life on Saturday, Dec. 12, 2009, 1:30 - 3:30 at 1400 Geary Blvd. San Francisco, CA. Gifts in Dr. Kellogg's memory can be made payable to: UCSF Foundation- Dept. of Physiology, 220 Montgomery Street San Francisco CA 94104
Published in San Francisco Chronicle on Nov. 22, 2009
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