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GORDON KENNETH DANIELSON, JR., M.D.
1931-2017

GORDON KENNETH DANIELSON, JR., M.D., 1931-2017

Dr. Gordon Kenneth Danielson, Jr., 85, of Rochester died in his home on October 2, 2017, after a long illness. He was born December 5, 1931, in Burlington, Iowa and attended the University of Pennsylvania where he majored in chemistry, was elected to Phi Beta Kappa, and graduated summa cum laude. Gordon entered medical at the University of Pennsylvania and graduated in 1956 with the highest 4-year class standing. He was elected to Alpha Omega Alpha his junior year and received multiple awards for academic achievement including the Senatorial Scholarship, the Roche Award, and the Albert Einstein Award. Following an internship at the University of Michigan, he entered surgical training at the University of Pennsylvania Hospital and subsequently joined the faculty as an associate in surgery working with Dr. Julian Johnson. Gordon also was a visiting fellow at Thoraxkliniken, Karolinska Sjukhuset in Stockholm Sweden and was a Markle Scholar in Academic Medicine, 1962-1967.

He was recruited to the University of Kentucky by Frank Spencer, M.D. and served as Associate Surgeon and Chief of Cardiac Surgery at that institution from 1965-67.

In 1967, Dr. Danielson joined the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota and served on the medical staff and faculty of the Mayo Graduate School Medicine for 34 years. He received the Joe M. and Ruth Roberts Endowed Professorship of Surgery and was Chairman of Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery from 1986 to 1992.

Dr. Danielson was broadly trained in Thoracic Surgery and made contributions to many areas of cardiac surgery including valvular heart disease, surgical management of endocarditis, and pericardial diseases. But he was best known for his pioneering work in complex congenital heart malformations such as conduit operations (Rastelli) for right ventricular outflow reconstruction, the Fontan repair of univentricular heart, and repair of Ebstein anomaly.

Tall, reserved, and unfailingly polite, Gordon was a patient mentor to a generation of residents and fellows at Mayo Clinic and will be remembered for his scholarship and attention to detail in all aspects of patient care and professional life. He authored or coauthored over 450 peer-reviewed papers and 98 book chapters. Gordon lectured widely and particularly enjoyed foreign travel to historical sites.

Gordon was a member of First Presbyterian Church where he served as an Elder and Usher. He is survived by wife, Sondra, seven children, six grandchildren, and a brother.

Hartzell V. Schaff, M.D.