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Dr. John M. Howard


1919 - 2011 Obituary Condolences
(News Article) A distinguished retired surgeon at the University of Toledo Medical Center who was known in medical circles around the world died of heart failure Wednesday in Hospice of Northwest Ohio, Perrysburg Township. Dr. John M. Howard was 91.

Dr. Howard arrived at the Medical College of Ohio, UTMC's predecessor, in 1973. He retired from surgery in 1993 but continued his research, teaching, and writing of journal articles at the institution.

Dr. Jeffrey Gold, the university's chancellor and executive vice president of health affairs, described him as "a prominent long-term member of the senior faculty of the department of surgery. He was a highly regarded biliary and pancreatic surgeon, and a world-renowned trauma surgeon. … He was an author, a benefactor, and a friend of the university."

Dr. Howard was a past director of the trauma center and a professor of surgery.

UTMC will hold a memorial service "in the relatively near future," said Dr. Gold, a cardiac surgeon, "to honor his memory and the achievements that he brought to the university."

Another friend and colleague, retired surgeon Dr. S. Amjad Hussain, said, "I would say I kept him on a very high pedestal. His contributions to surgery in general and military surgery in particular are monumental."

As a young Army surgeon, Dr. Howard served in a Mobile Army Surgical Hospital during the Korean War and directed the Army's Surgical Research Team, which developed a method of repairing injured blood vessels in the field hospital "instead of tying them off and amputating the leg," Dr. Hussain said.

The Army surgical team also established a renal care center that received all United Nations casualties with acute renal failure, the first time that had been done in combat medicine. President Dwight D. Eisenhower presented Dr. Howard with the Legion of Merit for his accomplishments during the Korean War.

Dr. Hussain said Dr. Howard was known around the world for his work in pancreatic surgery. More than once, he added, while attending international medical gatherings overseas, "the first thing they would ask was, 'Do you know John Howard?'?"

Dr. Howard attracted students from around the world, his son George said.

"And this wasn't just in the classroom. They went on rounds with him, they were in the lab, and in the classroom," he said. "They came from Egypt and China and Europe and from across this country."

After his discharge from the Army, Dr. Howard joined the surgical faculty at Baylor University College of Medicine, where the director was famed heart surgeon Michael DeBakey. There, he put together a four-volume archive on the injuries and care wounded U.N. soldiers received in Korea.

He went on to chair the departments of surgery at Emory University College of Medicine and Hahnemann University College of Medicine before arriving in Toledo.

Over the years, he wrote more than 400 journal articles and wrote or contributed to 12 books and 31 book chapters. He was the recipient of awards from the National Research Council, the American Trauma Society, the American Medical Association, and the Toledo Surgical Society. The U.S. Department of Transportation presented him with an award for "providing the vision that has become our nation's Emergency Medical Services."

Dr. Howard was born in Prattville, Ala., the third of Mary and Fountaine Howard's four children. He grew up on a farm where he picked cotton and pecans.

He and his first wife, Nina, were married for 57 years, until her death in 2000. In 2002, he married Sarah Shepherd Rice, whom he had known in college and reconnected with after many years.

He was a graduate of Birmingham-Southern College and the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine.

Surviving are his wife, Sarah; daughters, Nina Oakley, Susan Howard, and Laura Hickey; sons, John Jr., Robert, and George; sister, Mary Louise Jones, and 10 grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.

Services will be at 10:30 a.m. Monday in Hope United Methodist Church, Whitehouse.

Visitation will be from 4 to 8 p.m. Sunday in the Peinert Funeral Home, Whitehouse.

The family suggests tributes to the John H. Howard Endowed Professorship of Surgery Fund at the University of Toledo Medical Center.

Contact writer Carl Ryan at: [email protected] or 419-724-6050.
Published in The Blade on Mar. 19, 2011
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