E. Stewart Taylor, MD

E. Stewart Taylor, MD

E. Stewart Taylor, MD (February 5, 2014)

E. Stewart Taylor lived a long, rewarding, and extremely productive life. He died on February 5, 2014 at the age of 102 years in Denver, Colorado. He was a gentle and soft-spoken individual, however strangers quickly realized that he had a keen intellect and was a true scholar. His peers and students revered him as a brilliant clinician, highly skilled surgeon and a superb diagnostician.

Dr. Taylor was raised in the small town of Highmore, South Dakota. Dr. Taylor attended the University of Iowa for college and medical school. His undergraduate degree was received in 1933 and his medical degree awarded in 1936.

While Dr. Taylor was a pre-med student at Iowa he met Ruth Fatherson. They were married during his residency training program. They were happily married for 65 years until her death in 2005. His wife skillfully copy edited each and every scholarly paper and book during Dr. Taylor’s entire career. Dr. Taylor completed a rotating internship at the Hurley Hospital in Flint, Michigan. Subsequently, he became an obstetrics and gynecology resident at the Long Island College Hospital in Brooklyn, New York during the time that Alfred C. Beck M.D. was the Chairman. Dr. Beck was a mentor for Dr. Taylor and extended his residency- informal fellowship to four and a half years. Several years later Dr. Taylor assumed the editorship of Dr. Beck’s classic textbook “Obstetrical Practice” for three editions.

After finishing his residency, Dr. Taylor worked in a small clinic in Worthington, Minnesota. He was awaiting his army orders, which arrived in the summer of 1942. Dr. Taylor was Assistant Chief of Surgery of the 400 bed, 107th Evacuation Hospital. His unit landed at Omaha Beach in July of 1944 five weeks after D-Day. When disembarking from the landing craft the other officers carried their gear in duffle bags. Dr. Taylor, always the gentleman, carried a suitcase so that he would have a pressed pair of pants for any important occasion. Dr. Taylor performed more than 1,000 operations during the war from July 10th 1944 to June 25, 1945. After the war in Europe was over, one of the nurses cataloged all the surgical

operative records. Dr. Taylor was given a book with a copy of the data dedicated to Dr. Taylor, the “Dean of Women”. His nickname resulted from the hospital commander assigning Dr. Taylor to provide medical care for all of the nurses. The commanding General of the U.S. Third Army throughout the European Theater was General George Patton. Dr. Taylor never met General Patton but his reputation was constantly present in the thoughts of his troops. The members of the 107th Evacuation Hospital were awarded five battle stars: Normandy, France, Ardiens, Rhine, and Germany. Several years after the war Dr. Taylor wrote the following “My war experiences made me see life differently. I believe deeply and still do, that the risk and mortalities of war are unequal and the poor carry the biggest part of the risk. I felt guilty then and I still do. It has made me much more sympathetic to those less fortunate.”

After World War II, Dr. and Mrs. Taylor decided to move to Denver. He joined the private practice of Dr. Clarence Ingraham who was the part-time, volunteer Chair of the Obstetrics and Gynecology Department at the University of Colorado School of Medicine. One afternoon, while Dr. Taylor was teaching in the clinic, Ward Darley, the Dean of the School of Medicine, offered him the position of becoming the first full-time Chair of Obstetrics and Gynecology in the history of the school of medicine. Dr. Taylor was only 38 years old at that time but he accepted the offer. His tenure as Chair was from 1947 to 1976. By the mid 1960’s the residency program had trained approximately one third of the obstetricians and gynecologists in Denver and its suburbs. At the same time the department had become recognized as one of the best in the country.

Dr. Taylor was a prolific author and editor. He was a member and director of the leading organizations of our specialty. His most rewarding and enjoyable venture was being one of the co-editors for the Obstetrical and Gynecological Survey. With his co-editors, Georgiana and Howard Jones they convinced the publisher to expand the “Survey” to a monthly journal. During his 25 years as a co-editor he wrote over 3,000 editorial comments for the abstracted articles in the journal. Dr. Taylor alone was the single author for two popular textbooks, Essentials of Gynecology and he revised and updated Dr. Beck’s book Obstetrical Practice. Dr. Taylor was a founding member of the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology. In 1986 he received their distinguished service award. He was President from 1974-1975 of the Association of Professors of Gynecology and Obstetrics. He was a member of the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology for eight years and an examiner for more than fifteen years.

Dr. Taylor’s initial research interests were premature birth and low birth weight infants and their relationship to complications of pregnancy and poor socio- economic factors. Dr. Harry Gordon, the Chairman of Pediatrics shared Dr. Taylor’s interests and together they developed one of the first divisions of Perinatal Medicine in the country. Subsequently, Dr. Taylor and Dr. Paul Bruns recruited to Denver a team of senior investigators to study fetal physiology and fetal growth using sheep as their experimental model. These efforts were supported by a large program grant. The department quickly became a center for research in prematurity and fetal physiology. Dr. Joseph Holmes of the Department of Medicine collaborated with Dr. Taylor in the initial development of obstetrical ultrasound. Dr. Taylor with colleagues, Horace Thompson M.D. and Ken Gottesfeld M.D published several of the early papers concerning the use the ultrasound in obstetrics.

Dr. Taylor cared deeply about all who worked with him and took a personal interest in each of them. At his 100th birthday celebration he welcomed individual residents who he had trained decades before by name and remembered their spouses names as well. Dr. Taylor was an active mentor for many of his trainees through out their careers.

Dr. Taylor had multiple hobbies. His favorite was riding horses preferably Tennessee Walkers At the age of 80 he was bucked off a friend’s horse that would not pass through a gate. He was not injured however he decided abruptly to abandon his hobby of riding horses. He was in excellent health but he wanted to eliminate the possibility that his obituary would have a simple statement such as,” Dr. Taylor died of injuries received after being thrown from a horse.”

In 1988 the University of Colorado School of Medicine bestowed upon him the distinguished honor of establishing the E. Stewart Taylor Endowed Chair in Obstetrics and Gynecology to perpetuate his contributions.

Dr. Taylor’s leaves a brilliant and lasting legacy of excellence in care, teaching, research, and professionalism. He cherished his life’s work. He was a devoted husband, father and grandfather.

He will be missed by all and will be remembered for his kindness, good humor and caring for all people regardless of their social or economic status. Dr. Taylor showed exceptional character. He was a man of humility, integrity, dignity, grace and courage. He was revered and respected by his friends, patients, colleagues, faculty, students, residents and fellows.

Submitted by Ronald S. Gibbs and William Droegemueller

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