American Surgical Association Transactions

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1930 - 2017

EDWARD P. PASSARO, JR., M.D., 1930 - 2017

Edward P. Passaro Jr. MD was born in Newark, NJ on April 12, 1930 and after his life moved peacefully to its close on the evening of November 8, 2017, his last wish to be buried in the Pacific Ocean was honored and attended and by his immediate family. Dr. Passaro graduated from New York University in 1951, the University of Rochester Medical School in 1955, completed internship at Kings County Hospital Center in 1956 and advanced to residency in general surgery at Ohio State University. In Columbus he came under the powerful influence of Robert Zollinger, developing a lifelong interest in peptic ulcer disease and neuroendocrine tumors. In 1961, Dr. Passaro began a Fellowship with Dr. Morton Grossman at the time the nation's leading gastrointestinal physiologist and founder of the Center for Ulcer Research and Education (CURE) at the Wadsworth VA Medical Center. His academic career progressed rapidly to appointment as Chief of the Surgical Service at the Wadsworth VA and Professor at UCLA, positions he held for 21 years. Ed published more than 200 scientific articles always reaching beyond the accepted dogma. He encouraged his faculty to become members of the ASA and PCSA and present their best work at our meetings.

Even though born in urban New Jersey, Ed referred to himself in his writings as a "country boy" by which he meant embracing a down-to-earth philosophy and straight forward approach to unraveling complex clinical problems. During the decades of the 1970s and 1980s, Ed's charismatic leadership led to the informal Wadsworth Group of young academic surgeons who would leave their mark on basic and clinical research and assume leadership positions at the various University of California medical centers.

Ed was the eternal Trevi Fountain of enthusiasm. Who could forget Ed returning from a long weekend in his vineyard in Napa or an international lecture tour? The surgery group would be summoned to assemble in his office, and Ed, shirt sleeves rolled up, standing by his easel gripping his pointer, would roll out the plan for his next term in residence. "I want you all to learn molecular biology; surgeons will need to know this!" Indeed, living up to his words later in his career Ed employed molecular biology to investigate the gene associated with ZE Syndrome.

Ed retired in 1997 to his beloved Agira Vineyard and Winery on the gentle slopes of Diamond Mountain near Calistoga in northern California. His realized ambition was the reintroduction and cultivation of Brunello grape. We who have enjoyed the privilege and honor of working with Dr. Passaro are eternally grateful and we can only say a heartfelt, "Thanks, Ed!'