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Albert B. Ferguson Jr., MD1919-2014

Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery - American Volume: 3 December 2014 - Volume 96 - Issue 23 - p 2023
doi: 10.2106/JBJS.N.00951

Albert B. Ferguson Jr. passed away on August 20, 2014. Dr. Ferguson was a legend in orthopaedic surgery in America. He was born in New York City on June 10, 1919. He was classically educated and graduated from Dartmouth College in 1941 and from Harvard Medical School in 1943. He served in the Marines during World War II. He trained in surgery and orthopaedic surgery in Boston. In 1953, he was named the Silver Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery and the first full-time professor and chairman of the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery at the University of Pittsburgh. He remained in this position until his retirement in 1986.

Dr. Ferguson was an early ABC (American-British-Canadian) Traveling Fellow, served as the president of the American Orthopaedic Association and the president of the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery, and was a founding member of The Hip Society. He was distinguished by the British Orthopaedic Association and the Japanese Orthopaedic Association with honorary memberships. He received the Distinguished Contributions to Orthopaedics Award from the American Orthopaedic Association in 2004 and the Distinguished Service Award from the Pennsylvania Medical Society in 2007. Dr. Ferguson authored many publications related to the care of children and adults with musculoskeletal conditions and several orthopaedic texts on orthopaedic surgery, materials in orthopaedic surgery, and the treatment of athletic injuries.

Dr. Ferguson had a major influence on modern orthopaedic surgery. He created an environment for learning for several generations of orthopaedic surgeons, many of whom became chairs of academic departments and orthopaedic training programs. He directly or indirectly influenced the training, behavior, and accomplishments of thousands of orthopaedic surgeons around the world. Dr. Ferguson established one of the first orthopaedic basic science research facilities in this country, and that facility has continued to be highly innovative and productive. Some of the adjectives that have been used to describe Dr. Ferguson are kind, courageous, charismatic, cool, soft-spoken, humble, and dignified. He was a natural “Level-5 leader” and was also a mentor and friend to his trainees and employees. A large part of his legacy was his uncanny ability to identify, train, develop, and counsel future generations of orthopaedic leaders. His favorite saying was: “Do the right thing, and take good care of your patients.”

Outside of orthopaedics, he was an accomplished landscape painter and farmer. Dr. Ferguson was married to the late Louise Enequist Ferguson for more than sixty years. He was predeceased by his daughter Laurie and is survived by his three sons Sanford, Bruce, and Gary and by his thirteen grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

Those who knew him viewed him as a great influence in their life and one of the major influences in orthopaedic surgery in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. We feel fortunate to have been in his presence.

—E.N.H. and F.H.F.

Copyright 2014 by The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, Incorporated