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Grady L. Hallman, M.D., 1930-2017

On the 13th of January 2017, the Texas Heart Institute (THI) community said goodbye to one of its most cherished members and a pioneering THI surgeon, mentor, and friend. Dr. Grady Lamar Hallman was a native Texan born in Tyler, Texas on October 25th, 1930. He received his B.A. degree with honors from the University of Texas at Austin, where he was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa and where he indulged his passion for music by playing the trombone in the Longhorn Band and the euphonium in the UT Symphonic Band. While at UT, he was elected to the Kappa Kappa Psi Honorary Band Fraternity, and in recognition of his considerable musical accomplishments, he received the Outstanding Band Member Award. Later in life, in 1998, he was elected to the Longhorn Band Hall of Honor.

After graduation, he attended Baylor College of Medicine, where he received his medical degree with honors in 1954 and was elected to the Alpha Omega Alpha Honorary Scholastic Society. After completing a rotating internship at Chicago Wesley Memorial Hospital in Chicago, Illinois, from 1954 to 1955, Dr. Hallman pursued his surgical training under Dr. Michael E. DeBakey at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, completing a General Surgery Residency in 1961 and a Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery Residency in 1962. During his residency, he served in the Army Medical Corps from 1956 to 1958, and on completing his surgical training at Baylor in 1962, he joined Baylor's Department of Surgery at a time when cardiovascular surgery was in its infancy. Baylor College of Medicine named him Distinguished Alumnus in 2003. Dr. Hallman was a member of Baylor's Department of Surgery from 1962 to 1969. During this time, he was engaged in the clinical practice of surgery, teaching, and research.

In 1962, Dr. Hallman asked Dr. Denton A. Cooley, founder of the newly established THI, if he could join the practice and participate in the pioneering surgical cardiovascular work being done at Texas Children's Hospital. Dr. Cooley accepted Dr. Hallman as his first associate at THI. These surgeons collaborated on developing many innovative surgical procedures for children with congenital heart disease. Drs. Cooley and Hallman advanced the field and produced numerous publications, including the first comprehensive surgical textbook on the subject in 1966 titled Surgical Treatment of Congenital Heart Disease, and its revised editions published in 1975 and 1987. Ultimately, Dr. Hallman authored 309 peer-reviewed publications during his career. After 1969, Dr. Hallman became clinical Professor of Cardiothoracic Surgery at Baylor College of Medicine and at the University of Texas Medical School, both in Houston.

The Texas Heart Institute was one of the leaders in the explosive growth of cardiovascular surgery in the 1970s and 1980s. It was not unusual for the surgical team to perform 30 to 35 cardiovascular procedures in a day. Over the past 45 years, 136 surgical residents have completed training at THI, and 929 surgeons from 47 countries have participated in the THI Cardiac Surgery Fellowship program. Dr. Hallman mentored many, if not most, of these individuals, all of whom appreciated his willingness to teach and his emphasis on compassion, excellence, and technical precision. Dr. Hallman was a member of many professional societies, having served as president of the Houston chapter of the American Heart Association, and he was made a Medical Honoree of the American Heart Association (1993-1994). He was chairman of the Membership Committee of the Society for Thoracic Surgeons and was an advisor to the State of Texas' Crippled Children's Service Program. Dr. Hallman chaired St. Luke's Episcopal Hospital's Committee on Quality and Outcomes for 35 years.

Dr. Hallman was an avid musician throughout his life. While at THI, he founded and directed the Heartbeats, an all-doctor band that became successful and well known. In the Heartbeats, Dr. Hallman played the trombone, and Dr. Cooley played the bass fiddle. Proceeds from the Heartbeats' recordings were donated to charity. Dr. Hallman was a member of the Board of Advisors to the Houston Symphony and was a Chair Sponsor. For 40 years, he sponsored a brass ensemble concert as part of the Houston Friends of Music concert series at Rice University. He was a member of the Board of Governors of the Shepherd School of Music Society at Rice University, and he was Chairman of the Executive Board of Summit Brass. Between 1993 and 1999, Dr. Hallman toured each summer with the American Winds Concert Band and played solos in England, Scotland, Wales, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, the Czech Republic, Italy, and Greece. Of special interest were his solo appearances with the Dallas Wind Symphony at the Myerson Symphony Center, the Texas Wind Symphony at the Bass Performance Hall in Fort Worth, and the Doctors Orchestra of Houston at the Hobby Center.

Dr. Hallman and his family enjoyed spending weekends at their country place near Round Top, Texas. A favorite activity of Dr. Hallman's was hosting the THI family at his ranch for the Fourth of July, where he demonstrated his love of music by proudly performed medleys of John Philip Sousa's marches from the bandstand that he had built next to the swimming pool.

Dr. Hallman was preceded in death by his lovely wife of 62 years, Martha Suit Hallman. They are survived by a loving family that includes their son Daniel, their son David and his wife Kimmy, their son Charles and his wife Martha, 7 grandchildren, and a great-grandchild. A highlight of his career and a source of much pride was the fact that his son Charles shared his father's love for cardiovascular surgery, completed his thoracic and cardiovascular surgery residency at THI, and is now a highly skilled cardiothoracic surgeon on the Professional Staff at THI.

Dr. Grady Hallman's remarkable life spanned 86 amazing years. His passion for education was marked by the fact that even after retirement and through the last weeks of his life, he would come to THI at 6:00 AM once a week to lecture the new medical students on his favorite subject, cardiovascular surgery. He and the service he performed will always be remembered by his family, patients, students, colleagues, and of course THI.