Friday, July 22, 2011

In Memoriam: George S. Richardson, MD


George S. Richardson, MD, a longtime MGH surgeon and former acting chief of Gynecology, died of cancer July 1 at age 89. Richardson was a staff member at the MGH for more than 50 years.

Richardson’s family legacy at the MGH can be traced back to the late 19th century. He was born in the Phillips House on Dec. 1, 1921. His mother, Clara, was the daughter of well-known physician Francis Cheever Shattuck, MD. His father, MGH surgeon Edward Pierson Richardson Sr., MD, was the son of MGH chief surgeon Maurice Howe Richardson, MD. He also had two brothers, one who would become an MGH neuropathologist and the other an MGH trustee.

Joining the long line of family members before him, Richardson graduated from Harvard Medical School in 1946. After completing a fellowship in physiology and spending two years in the Army, including a tour in Japan, he returned to Boston to serve his residency at the MGH. In 1955 he became a staff member of the Vincent Memorial Hospital, the MGH division for women’s health. At the Vincent, Richardson focused on how hormones work in women, and he dedicated his career to researching and performing surgery on various reproductive cancers. From 1985 to 1988 he served as acting chief of the Vincent.

Although he retired in 1995, Richardson stayed connected to the hospital through his work on the Vincent Quality Assurance Committee and the Ethics Committee as well as the Treadwell Library Committee. He also was active outside the MGH, writing for and editing various Harvard alumni publications, returning to school to study physics and poetry, and joining a local church choir. In 2010, he published a book of poems, “Dance with Me.’’

“He was a true renaissance man,’’ says Isaac Schiff, MD, chief of Vincent Obstetrics & Gynecology. “He knew the arts; he knew the humanities; he knew medicine; he knew science; he knew how to speak to people. Being in his presence and listening to him talk about anything was just a joy … I’ve never met anybody like him and probably never will.”

Richardson is survived by his wife, three sons and their wives, three grandchildren, and his sister-in-law.

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