Uncle Bob Rutherford (November 22, 2013)

On November 22, 2013, Dr. Robert B. Rutherford, 82, passed away at his home in Boerne, Texas surrounded by his wife and several members of his immediate family.

Dr. Rutherford was born in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.  His youth was spent there, in Vancouver and Toronto, and in Australia, where he was for 4 years during World War II.  He left Edmonton for New York in 1947, finishing high school at McBurney School in Manhattan before attending Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, where he received his BA and MD degrees in 1952 and 1956.

Dr. Rutherford’s surgical education began in 1956 with a surgical internship at the Johns Hopkins Hospital, but was completed in Denver at the University of Colorado in 1963, with an extra clinical fellowship year spent in Sweden.  This lengthy training gained him certification in general surgery, cardiothoracic surgery, and later, vascular surgery.  Two years of military service were spent at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, before his first faculty position at Johns Hopkins in 1965.  In 1970, he accepted similar responsibilities at the University of Colorado, where he remained during the rest of his active career.

Although initially pursuing research in shock and trauma and circulatory physiology, Dr. Rutherford’s interest in vascular disease steadily took over his research, clinical and societal activities.  He published over 400 articles and book chapters and 6 textbooks, two of which went on to 4 and 6 editions.  In addition to his well-known text, “Vascular Surgery”, Dr. Rutherford edited the quarterly review “Seminars in Vascular Surgery” from 1988 to 2012, and was co-editor of the Journal of Vascular Surgery from 1996 to 2003. A frequent speaker at vascular meetings here and abroad, Dr. Rutherford was best known as an educator and journal editor, and for developing standards for uniform reporting practices in vascular surgery and disease specific severity scoring as a basis for comparing treatment outcomes. He co-chaired the original Transatlantic Consensus on Peripheral Arterial Occlusive Disease, in 2000.

Dr. Rutherford was a member of close to twenty professional societies, and was president of four, most notably the International Society for Cardiovascular Surgery, now known as the Society for Vascular Surgery (SVS). He served as a director of the American Board of Surgery for 6 years and was chairman of the Vascular Surgery Committee of that board.  In 1996, at the time of his delivery of the Lister lecture in Glasgow, he was honorary fellowship in the Royal College of Surgeons, Glasgow.

Dr. Rutherford was appointed Emeritus Professor of Surgery at the University of Colorado Health Science Center, School of Medicine on retirement from active clinical practice, moving at that time with his wife to Silverthorne, Colorado in order to enjoy their love of Colorado Mountains. Eventually they moved to Texas, splitting time between their home on North Padre Island, Corpus Christi, and their home on Salmon Lake, in Oakland, Maine where the family gathers every summer.  They both enjoyed outdoor sports such as downhill and cross-country skiing, wind-surfing, sailing, tennis, biking and in more recent years he enjoyed bird photography, piano, fishing and golf.

Dr. Rutherford is survived by his wife of 58 years, Kay, and their 5 children: Scott and his wife Kathryn, grandchildren Frances and RJ;  Lori Thomas, her husband Gus, grandchildren Lindsay Walker, her husband Mike, great-grandchildren Ayden, Rinoa and Sutton, and Andrew, his wife Ashley; Holly Bukacek, her husband Bill, granddaughter Alison;  Trudy Rutherford, her ex-husband Javier Sansierra, grandsons Scott and Borja; and Wilson Rutherford, his ex-wife Roberta, daughter Brandi who preceded him in death.

The Rutherford family would like to recognize the dedicated and exceptional care given by Hospices in Maine and Texas. A private memorial service will be held by the family at a later date.

Any memorial donations may be awarded to the following organizations; The Brandi Rutherford Memorial Fund at Johns Hopkins (John Hopkins, Office of Annual Giving, P.O. 17073, Baltimore, MD 21297-0509), the HealthReach Hospice of Kennebec Valley, (PO Box 828, Waterville, Maine, 04903-0828), and the Cristus Home Care of San Antonio, (4241 Woodcock Drive, Ste. A-100, San Antonio, Texas, 78228-1337).