American Surgical Association Transactions

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1938 – 2016

CHARLES B. ANDERSON, M.D., 1938 – 2016

Dr. Charles B. Anderson, a transplantation pioneer and master surgeon, died peacefully on November 7, 2016, of congestive heart failure surrounded by his three daughters. Dr. Anderson was the son of a Swedish immigrant steel mill worker and was born on May 24, 1938, in Clifton, New Jersey. Charlie's father, Bernie Anderson, died of renal failure when Charlie was a teenager, and he was raised by his mother, Georgia Binns, and his surrogate parents, Uncle Pat Wilson and Aunt Helen (his mother's sister). Dr. Pat Wilson was an osteopath who instilled a desire for learning into Charlie and advised him to become a medical doctor and not an osteopathic doctor because at that time the latter was not recognized.

Dr. Anderson attended Johns Hopkins University from 1956 to1959, graduating Phi Beta Kappa. He attended Yale University School of Medicine from 1958 to 1962 and was a Thomas and Goodrich scholar. He did his entire residency at the Department of Surgery at Washington University School of Medicine-Barnes Hospital from 1962 to 1969. Dr. Anderson's training was interrupted by military service from 1963 to 1965 in the Medical Corps of the United States Navy. He then returned to Barnes Hospital as a PGY-3. He became an American Cancer Society Fellow in Surgery from 1968 to 1969 when he was a chief resident in surgery.

Dr. Anderson had a close academic relationship with Dr. Loren Ackerman, the chief of surgical pathology at Barnes Hospital, who spent three months every couple of years in South Africa teaching and contributing to the field of surgical pathology. Due to Dr. Ackerman's influence, he interceded on Dr. Anderson's behalf with Professor Du Plessis who awarded Dr. Anderson a position at Baragwaneth Hospital in Johannesburg, South Africa. Throughout his career in St. Louis, Dr. Anderson always remembered this vast surgical experience as an important component of sharpening his surgical skills and enhanced his dedication to the arts and science of surgery.

When Dr. Anderson returned to St. Louis after his one-year experience in South Africa, he joined the faculty at Washington University School of Medicine in surgery as an Assistant Professor and was a very active clinical surgeon both at the City Hospital in St. Louis as well as the VA Hospital. It was this association at the VA with Dr. William Newton, Chief of Surgery at John Cochran VA Hospital, that began his interest in immunology and renal transplantation which eventually led to the formation of the transplantation program at Washington University-Barnes-Jewish Hospital in 1973.

Dr. Anderson had many academic responsibilities during his tenure in the Department of Surgery at Washington University School of Medicine and eventually became a Professor of Surgery and Chief of the Section of Transplantation and Chief of the Division of General Surgery. He founded the kidney transplant program at Barnes Hospital in 1973, and with his colleague, William Newton, helped create a kidney transplant program also at St. Louis Children's Hospital. His contributions to kidney transplantation also included a very active NIH-funded research laboratory for many years. He was a pioneer of donor-specific transfusion and immunologic tolerance in kidney transplantation which in the 1970’s and early 1980’s transformed the field of organ transplantation.

Despite his busy clinical practice, leadership role, and education responsibilities, he maintained a balanced life with his wife of 45 years, Marilynn Henderson, who died in 2003. He was an avid skier, racquetball player, and golfer. He was recognized by many students, residents, and fellows who felt Dr. Anderson impacted their careers as an outstanding technical surgeon with tremendous skills in teaching residents technical and professional skills. Dr. Anderson had an outstanding intellect and was a member of the MENSA Society which is awarded to the top 2% highest IQ of the population determined on a standardized exam.

As a colleague, mentor, and friend, Dr. Anderson had an impact on the lives of many students, residents, fellows, and faculty and was also instrumental in the creation of the Vascular Surgery program at Barnes Hospital in 1983 along with Dr. Gregorio Sicard. Dr. Anderson leaves a tremendous legacy with patients, students, and surgical residents as well as dedication to excellence in research, technical skills, and education. This legacy continues to be remembered with the Annual Anderson-Newton Lecture in Transplantation which was established nine years ago to honor their contributions to the field of transplantation.

Dr. Anderson is survived by his three daughters and eight grandchildren. He will always be remembered as a transplantation pioneer, a great surgeon, a colleague, and, most importantly, a dear friend. God-speed, Charlie.