It is with great sadness that I write to inform the Medical School community of the passing of Dr. Elwin E. Fraley on July 31, 2014. Dr. Fraley was the second Chairman of the Department of Urology at the University of Minnesota and served from 1969-1993 Dr. Fraley was an alumnus of Princeton University and Harvard Medical School and completed his residency at the Massachusetts General Hospital. He was recruited to Minnesota after completing a fellowship at the NIH as one of the youngest chairmen of urology in the country at that time. During his tenure, he took over the reins of a fledgling Department of Urologic Surgery and nurtured it to international prominence. The department is credited with great accomplishments during the time of Dr. Fraley. Several advances in testicular, prostate and bladder cancer care – including facilitating the establishment of PSA as a marker for prostate cancer – were accomplished.
Frederic J. “Fritz” Kottke, M.D., Ph.D., a past chair in the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (PM&R) at the University of Minnesota passed away at the age of 96 on May 23, 2014. Dr. Kottke helped establish PM&R at the University of Minnesota in 1952. He was the first chair of the department and remained so until his retirement in 1982.
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Robert L. Vernier, M.D., a distinguished member of the Medical School faculty in the Department of Pediatrics for four decades, passed away on May 2, 2014. He died peacefully of heart failure at his daughter's home. Dr. Vernier made historic clinical and scientific contributions to pediatric nephrology research and patient care. His collaboration in the 1950s and 1960s with Marilyn Farquhar and Robert Good established percutaneous kidney biopsy as a diagnostic tool in pediatric nephrology and created the foundation for our understanding of the ultrastructure of normal and diseased kidneys. His early leadership in national and international organizations played an important role in establishing a specialty position for pediatric nephrology. Working with Dr. Alfred Michael, Dr. Vernier established the Division of Pediatric Nephrology at the University of Minnesota and trained over 100 pediatric nephrologists, most of whom went on to full-time faculty positions.