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ASCRS Past President Dr. Malcolm C. Veidenheimer dies at 84

Dr. Malcolm "Mike" VeidenheimerDr. Malcolm C. (Mike) Veidenheimer, who served as ASCRS President in 1980-81, died July 30 at the age of 84. He was Chairman of the Section of Colon and Rectal Surgery at the Lahey Clinic from 1970-1987, after another ASCRS Past President, Dr. Neil W. Swinton, prevailed on him to switch from vascular surgery to colon and rectal surgery. In a very memorable Presidential Address, Dr. Veidenheimer named Sir William Lane and Drs. A.W. Martin Marino, Sr., Rupert B. Turnbull, and Harry E. Bacon as other leaders who had most influenced him.

Dr. Veidenheimer left the Lahey Clinic in 1993 and moved to Glasgow, Scotland as the Vice-chair of Surgery at Healthcare International. He retired from practice in 1997.

In his 1981 Presidential Address, Dr. Veidenheimer spoke of the Society’s significant growth as “a measure of good health.” He saw growth as necessary, but cautioned members not to lose sight of the importance of personal relationships. “Such growth has not been achieved with any loss of quality of our membership. It is, however, more difficult for us to maintain that close, warm personal relationship with each other when the numbers have become so large. I would urge each of you to build upon the common bond of professional activity that affords the opportunity to develop friendships within our Society.”

Dr. Veidenheimer is survived by his wife Sheila, their four sons and nine grandchildren.

Society leaders united in mourning Dr. Veidenheimer. ASCRS News reprints here only a few of the scores of eulogies received:

  • “Mike was very special, and we will miss him. My best memory of him was my first time as an associate examiner for the ABCRS. He was my senior partner/mentor. He was a superb examiner, and I have emulated many of the things that I watched him do that day.” H. Randolph Bailey, MD, ASCRS President 1999-2000

  • “He taught me a lot when I was at Lahey Clinic in training. He was a great personal friend of my other mentor, Rupert Turnbull.” Victor Fazio, MD, ASCRS President 1995-96

  • “Mike was a storyteller with unparalleled timing and phraseology, punctuated by the emerging grin near the end of his punch line which could lift a conference hall of his colleagues to memorable laughter. He operated effortlessly but was maximally invasive to the disease process. In the winter of 1980-81, he shepherded the Lahey Clinic from Boston to Burlington while President of the ASCRS.” Lester Rosen, MD, ASCRS President 2006-07

  • “I remember when I first met Mike during an interview for colon and rectal surgery residency at the Lahey Clinic in 1971. Even at that early point in his career, his friendliness, knowledge and charisma was evident, such that I knew that he was to be one of the great leaders of our medical discipline.” Lee Smith, MD, ASCRS President, 1998-99