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Thomas Bruce Ferguson, MD, 1923 – 2013

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Thomas Bruce Ferguson, MD was born on May 6th, 1923 in Oklahoma City, OK. He was the grandson of Thompson Benton Ferguson and Elva Shartell Ferguson, pioneer Oklahomans, founders and publishers of the Watonga Republican newspaper, and the sixth territorial governor of Oklahoma. He was the third child of Walter Scott Ferguson and Lucia Loomis Ferguson, who was a syndicated Women’s Viewpoint columnist for many years with the Heart Newspaper chain.

His interest in medicine was sparked by his maternal grandfather, Dr. Enos Loomis, who was a horse and buggy doctor in Boggy Depot, OK, at the turn of the century. Dr. Ferguson attended Duke University and Duke University School of Medicine, graduating in 1947. At Duke he met Elizabeth Shanley, and they were married in 1948, remaining together until his death 65 years later. He was a Distinguished Alumnus of the Duke Medical School.

Dr. Ferguson began a life-long association with Washington University School of Medicine in 1951 when he came to St. Louis to train under Dr. Evarts Graham in thoracic surgery. In 1958, Dr. Ferguson and his colleagues brought the first heart-lung machine to St. Louis for open heart surgery. Except for a brief stint in Florida from 1960-1964, he was a Clinical Associate Professor and then Professor of Surgery in the Cardiothoracic Surgery Division until 1985, when he became a full Professor and then Emeritus Professor. He was directly involved in training residents and fellows in the specialty of cardiothoracic surgery for over 37 years, and served for a decade on the American Board of Thoracic Surgery as a Member and then Chairman.

Nationally Dr. Ferguson achieved a unique level of prominence, respect and service over his career. He is only one of 6 and the last cardiothoracic surgeon to be president of both the American Association for Thoracic Surgery, and the Society of Thoracic Surgeons, of which he was a Founding Member. He served as Editor in Chief of the largest cardiothoracic surgical journal, the Annals of Thoracic Surgery, for 16 years, and then was Founding Editor of CTSNet, the specialty’s first multi-society internet platform, for 10 years. He was also President of the American Board of Medical Specialties, and of the Council of Medical Specialties.

At Washington University School of Medicine, he served on the Admissions Committee for 26 years, and he and his wife were Lifetime Members of the Eliot Society. He was a member of the Vestry at St. Michael’s and St. George’s Episcopal Church in St. Louis.

He was a beloved husband, father, and grandfather. He is survived by his wife and three children, Linda Benoist (Elliot), Bruce (Candice), and Scott (Laura), six grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

A memorial service will be held at St. Michael’s and St. George’s Episcopal Church at 4 PM on Friday, May 31st, 2013.

In lieu of flowers please make donations to the Ferguson Clinical Research Fund in Cardiothoracic Surgery, Washington University School of Medicine, 660 South Euclid, Campus Box 8234, St. Louis, MO 63110.

T. Bruce Ferguson, Jr.
Carol Blasberg
G. Alec Patterson

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