American Surgical Association Transactions

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1922 - 2011

ROBERT F. RYAN, MD, 1922 - 2011

Robert F. Ryan was born June 23, 1922, in Hoquiam, Washington, and graduated from Hoquiam High School in 1940. After completing undergraduate studies, he attended Stanford University School of Medicine and earned his medical degree. Dr. Ryan served as a Medical Officer in the United States Navy for three years. He completed residency training in Washington D.C., the Mayo Clinic and Tulane University in New Orleans. He joined the Faculty at Tulane under Dr. Oscar Creech and became chief of the section of Plastic Surgery. He retired from the Faculty of Tulane as Emeritus Professor of Surgery and Chief of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery in 1986. During his career, he became distinguished in both plastic surgery and oncologic surgery.

Bob Ryan along with Edward T. Krementz and Oscar Creech originated the technic of treatment of patients with malignant neoplasms with use of chemotherapeutic agents and a pump oxygenator. Thus, the concept of regional perfusion for malignancy was devised and developed in 1957 by a cardiovascular surgeon, an oncologic surgeon and a plastic surgeon. Both Creech and Krementz gave credit to Ryan for the idea. The development of regional perfusion with use of the pump oxygenator in malignant disease exemplified Dr. Ryan’s scholarly approach as a surgeon and as a scientist.

Bob Ryan had a special affection for antique automobiles, but his most widely recognized hobby was a collection of Clementine Hunter paintings. As an important Hunter Patron, he not only collected hundreds of her paintings but also influenced the artist’s painting technic and style. He became authoritative in evaluation and documentation of her work.

In 1987, Dr. Ryan moved to Perdido Key, Florida, where he continued to enjoy his many hobbies and interests until his death in 2011 at the age of 89.