American Surgical Association Transactions

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1928 - 2020

Robert P. Leather, MD, 1928-2020

Dr. Robert (Bob) P. Leather, age 92, passed away in Chatham, NY on February 4, 2020. Born in Brooklyn, he attended RPI for his BS in mechanical engineering in 1948 and worked at Grumman Aircraft for two years before attending medical school. He graduated from Albany Medical College with his MD in 1954. He then enlisted in the US Army and served in Germany from 1955 to 1957. Dr. Leather spent most of his academic life at Albany Medical Center and was a general and vascular surgeon until his retirement in 1999.

Dr. Leather helped develop the trauma unit at Albany Medical Center and attained the positions of Chief of General Surgery and Chief of Vascular Surgery during his tenure. He was an internationally renowned vascular surgeon who helped create the in-situ technique for distal revascularization as well as innovations in carotid and aortic surgery. Coming from an engineering background, his methodical, analytic and data driven approach allowed the technique of in-situ vein preparation to be accepted by even the greatest skeptics. His knowledge of equipment design, biophysics of arteries and veins and the development of microsurgical techniques has been passed along to many of his students. In his work with Drs. Alistair Karmody and Dhiraj Shah he developed a world-renowned center of vascular surgery. Dr. Leather was a gifted surgeon with a unique set of skills that positively influenced not only his fellows and residents but also many vascular surgeons around the world. His innovations were always well thought out, meticulously performed and objectively analyzed. His strengths were his technical skills and his intellectual approach to vascular surgical problems and caring for his patients. He will be sorely missed, not only for his expertise but his sense of humor, dedication to vascular surgery and his obsession with technical perfection. As Bob would say "Cut well, sew well, get well."