Robert G. Parker, M.D.
Professor of Radiation Oncology, Emeritus
Dr. Robert G. Parker, a pioneer in the field of radiation oncology, died Thursday, March 31, 2005, at the UCLA Medical Center, Los Angeles, California as a result of a traumatic head injury. He was 80.
He had a distinguished career in medicine, beginning his education at the University of Michigan and later receiving his M.D. degree (1948) from the University of Wisconsin. He interned at the University of Nebraska, fulfilled a residency in pathology at Western Reserve University, and a residency in radiology at the University of Michigan. During his training, he served in the military from 1943 to 1945 and again from 1950 to 1952. He completed postdoctoral work at the Tumor Institute of the Swedish Hospital, Seattle, Washington as a National Cancer Institute Fellow. He pursued further postgraduate education in nuclear medicine at Columbia University.
From 1958 to 1977, he was Director of Therapeutic Radiology at the University of Washington School of Medicine. In 1977, he was recruited to the University of California at Los Angeles as professor of radiological sciences and became the founding chairman of the Department of Radiation Oncology, a position he held until 1994. Thereafter, he continued to practice medicine in the department until his retirement in January, 2005.
He was a member of all significant educational and scientific cancer organizations in the United States. He was president of the American Society of Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology (ASTRO), the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA), the American Board of Radiology (ABR), and the American Radium Society (ARS). He was honored with Gold Medals from ASTRO in 1989, RSNA in 1996, the American College of Radiology in 2001, and the Janeway Medal of ARS in 1997. He received the Medical Alumnus of the Year citation from the University of Wisconsin in 1990 and the UCLA Medical Alumni Association Distinguished Service Award in 2000.
He held visiting professorships at many of the major universities in the United States and abroad. He presented the first annual Franz Buschke Lecture in 1973, the Isadora Lampe Memorial Lecture in 1984, the first William Caldwell Memorial Lecture in 1984, the Ethel N. Ruvelson Memorial Lecture in 1985, the Arthur W. Erskine Lecture in 1986, the John Maier Lecture in 1989, the Peter A. Lake Lecture in 1991, the 4th Annual Vaeth Lecture in 1994, the Gilbert H. Fletcher Lecture in 1998, and the Ruvelson Lecture in 1999.
He published more than 155 articles in peer-reviewed journals and 43 book chapters. He authored the textbooks Radiation Therapy in Cancer Management and Radiation Oncology for Cure and Palliation.
In addition to his academic and professional accomplishments, he once scrimmaged with the Detroit Red Wings, played trombone in the Woody Herman Orchestra, led the University of Michigan marching band, was a gourmet cook, and continued to take jazz piano lessons.
He is survived by his wife of 27 years, Diana, two sons and their wives and six grandchildren: Tom and Tami, Alexa, Eric, Robert and Sarah of Issaquah, Washington and Jim and Vawn, Rachel and Alyssa of Tacoma, Washington.
Dr. Luther Brady
Dr. Seymour Levitt