Gardner W. Smith, who served as chair of surgical
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
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
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