American Surgical Association Transactions

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1927 - 2018

J. ALEX HALLER JR, MD, 1927 - 2018

Jacob Alexander Haller Jr., M.D., passed away peacefully in his home in Glencoe, Maryland on June 13, 2018. His wife of 67 years, Emily, and his family were at his bedside. Alex was 91. He will be remembered as an outstanding pediatric surgeon, an innovative clinician scientist and an outspoken advocate for children and the specialty of pediatric surgery.

Alex grew up in Pulaski, Virginia, where his father was a dentist. He received his undergraduate degree from Vanderbilt in 1947 and earned his MD degree from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in 1951. Following a year of pathology in Zurich and two years in the Coast Guard, Alex returned to Baltimore as a Halsted resident under Alfred Blalock. Following residency in 1959, he took a position as chief of cardiac surgery at the University of Louisville.

In 1963, Alex was once again recruited back to Hopkins by Dr. Blalock to develop and lead pediatric surgery in the newly opened Children's Medical & Surgical Center (CMSC). For the next 28 years, Alex was the chief of pediatric surgery and children's surgeon-in-charge in the CMSC. During this period, Alex developed outstanding clinical, research and teaching programs in pediatric surgery, especially in the areas of thoracic chest wall procedures, trauma and critical care. He was also an early advocate for fetal surgical intervention for anomalies. Alex made many other contributions to pediatric surgery with over 400 publications. He was also a leader, officer or honoree for numerous national and international organizations.

Following his retirement, Alex continued to be an advocate for improving children's healthcare services, served on the Johns Hopkins Ethics committee and remained active with the Children's Center and Garrett Board, a philanthropic group that funds the surgical care for children. Alex was also a devoted husband, father, grandfather and community leader. He and Emily had four children, all accomplished in their professional lives, and 16 grandchildren.