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The newspaper of The Johns Hopkins University October 16, 2006 | Vol. 36 No. 7
Obituary: Gardner W. Smith, 75, Surgical Leader at Bayview Medical Center

By P. Susan Davis and Neil Grauer
Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions

Gardner W. Smith, who served as chair of surgical sciences at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center from 1985 until his retirement in 1996, died of small-cell lung cancer on Oct. 5 at his home in Maine. He was 75.

"Gardner Smith was a surgical leader who was devoted to his patients and the institutions he served," said Ronald R. Peterson, president of The Johns Hopkins Hospital and Health System, and former president of Hopkins Bayview.

Peterson, who led the transition of Hopkins Bayview from its previous status as the municipally owned Baltimore City Hospitals, remembers Smith as "an invaluable ally for me, particularly in my early days as president of Johns Hopkins Bayview. He provided great insight regarding the institution and helped me immensely as I attempted to navigate the challenges of transitioning Bayview from the public sector to the private sector," he said. "It was a privilege to work by his side for so many years."

Peterson noted that Smith's service at Hopkins Bayview was "a second tour of duty for him: He had served at the former Baltimore City Hospitals as the surgeon in chief from 1970 to 1979 and then went to be the deputy director of surgery at The Johns Hopkins Hospital."

Smith received his medical degree from Harvard in 1956 and served his internship and a fellowship in surgery at Johns Hopkins from 1956 to 1959. He completed his surgical residency in cardiovascular and thoracic surgery at the University of Virginia Hospital in Charlottesville, where he remained until 1970. His UVA career led progressively to appointments as surgeon at the hospital and associate professor at the University of Virginia School of Medicine. Smith returned in 1970 to Hopkins as a professor of surgery, an appointment he also held at the University of Maryland School of Medicine.

A U.S Naval Reserve captain for 39 years, Smith was known in Newport News, Va., as "the sailing doc." During duty in the Reserves, he served as a consultant for Veterans Administration hospitals in Virginia, Baltimore and Washington, D.C. He also was a consultant at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center and the National Naval Medical Center.

His membership in professional societies involved numerous leadership roles and committee appointments, one of which was to the Committee on Medical Motion Pictures for the American College of Surgeons.

With physicians Phil Zieve, Frank Kaltreider, Gaylord Knox and Sylvester Sterioff, he served on the Baltimore City Hospitals task force that led to the creation in 1972 of Chesapeake Physicians, PA, a national model for faculty practice plans in academic medical centers.

John Burton, former director of the Division of Geriatric Medicine and Gerontology at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, said of his longtime friend and colleague, "Gardner was one of the greats of our institution. He taught me and many others wisely. He was among the finest consultants with whom I ever worked. Patients loved him. He was kind, considerate, compassionate and outstanding at follow-up, checking often to be certain things were on course. He was a very fine man who over the years helped many, many people. I will miss him greatly."


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