A farewell, with sadness and laughter, to a legend in medicine
BY MCR STAFF
Norman Shumway, who died Feb. 10 of cancer, was best known for his pioneering work that made heart transplantation a reality, but to the nearly 500 people at his March 17 memorial service he was also a teacher, a mentor, a colleague and a charming down-to-earth friend.
About a half-hour before the 3 p.m. ceremony began, almost every pew in Memorial Church was filled. Among those in attendance were U.S. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, MD, (R-Tenn.), who did his surgical residency at Stanford, and University President John Hennessy, PhD.
Robert Robbins, MD, chair of cardiothoracic surgery, welcomed the audience to the service, and the crowd then listened, with tears in their eyes and with laughter, as tributes came from six speakers: William Brody, MD, PhD, president of Johns Hopkins University; William Hofmann, MD, professor of neurology and neurological sciences, emeritus; Sharon Hunt, professor of cardiovascular medicine; James Mark, MD, professor of surgery, emeritus; medical school Dean Philip Pizzo, MD, and Edward Stinson, MD, professor of cardiovascular surgery, emeritus.
The ceremony also featured the organist performing such favorite songs of Shumway's as "My Way" and "Non, je ne regrette rien," which captured his zest and optimism.
"He had a sense of what each one of us could achieve," said Stinson in his remarks. "He called himself our assistant."
The program offered a list of "Normisms," and Brody recounted one of them in his tribute: A patient about to undergo a heart valve replacement asked Shumway, "How long will the new valve last?" Shumway's reply, "It is guaranteed for life!"