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Frank Edward Johnson, Jr. M.D., 1943-2018

Frank E. Johnson, M.D., a professor emeritus at Saint Louis University School of Medicine, died Thursday, Aug. 9, 2018. He was 74. Dr. Johnson was a preeminent surgical oncologist and a member of the American Surgical Association since 2009. Dr. Johnson joined Saint Louis University School of Medicine as an assistant professor of surgery in 1979 and became a professor of surgery in 1989. He cared for patients at Saint Louis University Hospital and at the John Cochran VA Medical Center. He served as chief of surgery at the VA from 1990-2003. He retired in 2016. He is survived by his wife Tami Johnson; his sisters Theresa and Katherine; four children: Mariko, Michael, Eric, and David; as well as four grandchildren: Alex, Matthew, Emi, and Aya.

Dr. Johnson was born in Evanston, IL, on October 28, 1943 to Frank Edward Johnson, Sr. and Beryl Madeline Johnson. He received his undergraduate and medical degrees from the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis and completed his internship at the University of California Los Angeles. He then traveled around the world for one year prior to serving as a naval doctor during the Vietnam War. He was awarded the Bronze Star Medal for acts of valor and heroism. His time in Vietnam inspired him to work with his dad to create a charitable organization that continues to bring children with cardiac defects from around the world to the US for surgery. He began his residency training in general surgery at the University of Washington Seattle, and this is where he met his future wife, Tami. They were married on January 24, 1976, in San Francisco. Dr. Johnson was a research fellow at the University of California, San Francisco. He completed his residency training at the University of Colorado Denver, followed by a fellowship in surgical oncology at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City. He then moved to St. Louis, where he would start and complete his medical career at Saint Louis University and the John Cochran Veteran’s Affairs Hospital. Dr. Johnson was a well-respected scholar, clinician and teacher. He was the author of more than 250 peer-reviewed publications and numerous book chapters and served on the editorial board of at least eight medical journals. He was committed to the care of the veterans and believed strongly in providing the best medical care for those who served and sacrificed for our country and our freedom.

One of his greatest joys was mentoring medical students and residents. He inspired several generations of physicians with his contagious enthusiasm for science and medicine. He will long be remembered for his love of reading, learning, traveling, and the arts. He was an idealist and believed in helping others and standing up for what is right. The fact that all 4 of his children have become physicians conveys the level of enthusiasm Frank had for our profession and the importance of service. He will be missed dearly by those who truly knew him.