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RENE MENGUY, M.D.
1926-2019

On April 7, 2019, ASA Member, surgeon, scientist and teacher Rene Menguy passed away at the age of 93. His life and career spanning the globe, he was born in Prague in February 4, 1926 and spent most of his early years in French Indochina, where he would serve in the French Expeditionary Corps after the Japanese invasion, earning a citation for his service. While still in Indochina, Dr. Menguy earned his B.A. from the University of Hanoi. After his service ended, he received his M.D. from the University de Paris V in 1951.

Leaving Europe, Menguy arrived in the Unites States with a Fulbright Travel Grant in 1952 and began a Surgical Fellowship at the Mayo Clinic. Concurrently, he was enrolled as a PhD candidate at the University of Minnesota. In, 1957, he finished his surgical training, was awarded his PhD and he became a naturalized citizen of the United States. Menguy then began an academic surgical career that placed him with many of the titans of 20th century American surgery as they all rose to prominence. His first faculty position was at the University of Oklahoma in 1957, joining John Schilling, G. Rainey Williams, Merlin Duval and Gilbert Campbell. Including Dr. Menguy, there were four John and Mary Markle Scholars on that University’s first full-time surgical faculty.

While in Oklahoma, Dr. Menguy was recruited by Ben Eiseman to join the faculty of a new medical school at the University of Kentucky in 1961 as head of gastrointestinal surgery. This nascent department would soon include Benjamin Rush, Frank C. Spencer, Lester Bryant, Loren Humphrey, Gordon Danielson and Ward O. Griffin. Each of these men would become Chairs of Surgical Departments later in their careers. That time came for Dr. Menguy in 1965, when he was recruited as the Chairman of the Department of Surgery at the University of Chicago. Here, as at each previous stop along his rise in American academic surgery, he continued his research particularly in the study of gastric and biliary pathophysiology. To a major degree, he advanced the understanding of the complex milieu of the gastric mucosa and the exogenous and endogenous factors that influenced peptic ulceration. He published and lectured widely on these topics.

In 1971, Dr. Menguy moved on from Chicago to Rochester, NY where he was Chief of Surgery at The Genesee Hospital. There he continued his research activity and later would focus on clinical practice and surgical resident training. He continued as a faculty member of the University of Rochester, Department of Surgery, spending his final years in practice at Highland Hospital. In 1998, after a career that spanned 57 years, he left practice and enjoyed a robust retirement for 20 years.

Dr. Menguy is correctly remembered by his colleagues and all residents who trained under him as a master technician in the operating room, but those who knew him well also remember a kind, brilliant generous man and teacher.

William O'Malley, M.D.