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The newspaper of The Johns Hopkins University June 7, 2004 | Vol. 33 No. 37
Obituary: J. Richard Gaintner, 68, Former SOM Dean and Longtime Hospital Administrator

J. Richard Gaintner, former associate dean of the School of Medicine and deputy director of The Johns Hopkins Hospital, died of pancreatic cancer on May 25 at his home in Gainesville, Fla. He was 68.

After earning his undergraduate degree from Lehigh University, Gaintner received his medical degree in 1962 from Johns Hopkins. As a captain in the U.S. Army Medical Corps, he served as an internist at U.S. Army Hospital in Fort Carson, Colo., and as assistant chief of staff at the 85th Evacuation Hospital in Qui Nhon, Vietnam. He returned to Johns Hopkins as a fellow in hematology from 1966 to 1967.

On May 19 of this year, Gaintner was inducted into the Johns Hopkins Society of Scholars, an honor bestowed upon former postdoctoral fellows and junior or visiting faculty who have gained marked distinction in their fields of physical, biological, medical, social or engineering sciences or in the humanities. He was nominated for the honor by Dean Emeritus Richard Ross, who last week told the Baltimore Sun, "He was a very precise, strong, decisive administrator."

Gaintner held positions of leadership in a number of academic medical centers. After spending several years at the University of Connecticut, he joined Johns Hopkins in 1977 as associate dean for administration in the School of Medicine and in 1981 was named vice president and deputy director of The Johns Hopkins Hospital. Under his leadership, ties between the hospital and School of Medicine were strengthened. Two years later, he joined Albany Medical College as president and CEO, then moved on to the Harvard School of Medicine and its affiliated Deaconess Hospital in Boston, where he again served as president and CEO. After serving as clinical professor at the University of Florida College of Medicine and CEO of Shands Hospital for four years, he went into a brief retirement but returned to the medical field as executive vice president for health sciences at Georgetown, where he was responsible for all educational and research functions at the medical center. Illness forced him to end his illustrious career in 2002.

He is survived by his wife, the former Suzanne Butler; daughters Wendy Holcomb of Tacoma, Wash., Sally G. Hess of Phoenix, Md., and Jenny Gaintner of Freeland, Md.; and seven grandchildren.

A memorial service was held on June 4 at Johns Hopkins' Evergreen House.


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