Richard George Sanderson M.D. (1933 - 2020)

  • "As a new nurse at TMC I watched as Dr Sanderson did a..."
    - Mary Russo
  • "Tucson has lost a real gem when I read that Dr. Sanderson..."
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    - Heidi Pfeiffer Guyton
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Service Information
Angel Valley Funeral Home & Old Pueblo Crematory
2545 N. Tucson Blvd.
Tucson, AZ

SANDERSON MD, Richard George

Born to Harold and Adeline Louise Sanderson in the Massachusetts General Hospital on July 25, 1933, Dick (aka, Sandy) passed from this life on March 10, 2020, in Tucson. Dick grew up in Abington, MA, with older brother, Paul and numerous cousins. He graduated from The Phillips Academy at Andover (1951), Wesleyan University in Middletown, Conn (1955), and Harvard Medical School (1959). Upon completion of his internship, general surgery and cardiothoracic (CT) surgical training at The University of Oregon in 1966, Dick and family moved to San Francisco where he became the Chief of Cardiothoracic Surgery at the SF VA Hospital. In 1971, the family moved to Tucson where Dick was one of the first formally trained cardiothoracic surgeons to establish a practice here; his arrival ushered in a new era in CT surgery in Tucson. Dick had a wonderful memory and could remember patients, their lives and details of their operations for years afterward. He used to wear lively colored jackets to the hospital that often had his patients chuckling. In addition to serving on Tucson hospital committees, Dick was also actively involved in national CT surgery organizations. In 2002, he was awarded The Society of Thoracic Surgeons' Distinguished Service Award for his chairmanship of the STS Standards and Ethics Committee and its innovative work. Dick was also active in all areas of The Western Thoracic Surgical Association, where he was described as someone who ascended to the 1995-96 presidency "the old-fashioned way - he earned it." He authored a textbook, "The Cardiac Patient, A Comprehensive Approach" in 1972 and a revision in 1983 as well as many CT articles. Dick was also active in the Tucson Conquistadores and was their 1979 President and chairman of the LPGA tournament in 1985.After his retirement in 1996, Dick became a member of The Rotary Club of Tucson and assisted with their annual car show. He was a member of the Graduate Club and Foothills Forum. He was a reading mentor to students at Robison Elementary School for many years. Dick was also a supporter of the Arizona Friends of Chamber Music and its programs. He continued his long-time membership at Tucson Country Club, playing tennis and golf often (and where he delighted in shooting his only hole-in-one). A natural athlete, he also enjoyed many sports, including SCUBA diving, fishing, boating, and skiing; he was an avid UA fan. Dick was an expert rock mover and landscaper. Together with his wife, Judy, he traveled to various parts of the country and the world, including all 7 continents. They also had a home in Pinetop and were members of the White Mountain Country Club. Dick became known for his sourdough pancakes. Working with a 100+ year old Alaskan sourdough starter, he cooked pancakes for family, friends, and colleagues as well as for the Conquistadores with Bucky's Culinary Crew during the PGA Tournaments. Dick had a rich and fruitful life - he treasured every moment of it.Dick was preceded in death by his parents and brother. He will be greatly missed by his loving wife of 35 years, Judy (Kedersha), his four children, Thomas (Donnette) of Georgia, Suzanne (Thomas) Malisewski of Tucson, Timothy (Jen) of Louisiana, and Gregory (Sara) of Colorado - as well as the nine children who knew him as their beloved "GranDad," and by one little guy who stole his great-grandad's heart. The family would like to thank Dick's wonderful caregivers - Ignacia (Jane) Aguilar and Frank Dominguez, along with Michelle Burns; we consider them part of our family. Plans for a celebration of Dick's life will be announced at a future date. Until then, we encourage you to take a moment to reflect on your own blessings and do a heartfelt act of kindness in Dick's memory. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to . Arrangements by ANGEL VALLEY FUNERAL HOME.

Published in the Arizona Daily Star on Mar. 22, 2020
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