Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Obituary Archives

December 15, 2013

Dr. George W. Hambrick Jr.

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — Dr. George W. Hambrick Jr., died at his home with his family by his side on Tuesday, December 10, 2013; six days after his 91st birthday.

Dr. Hambrick, born on December 4, 1922 in Charlottesville, Virginia, was the son of a veterinarian and a nurse. He was preceded in death by his parents George Walter Hambrick, DVM and Anna McCallum Hambrick, and his sister, Anne Hambrick Uzmed.

His mothers' and fathers' families were descended from early settlers in Virginia. He believed himself to be one of the oldest survivors in his generation of the Coleman and Harris families of Virginia, both originally from England. His mother was also a descendant of those families although she herself was a member of the McCallum family of Scotland.

Dr. Hambrick was a Virginian by birth and graduated from Concord College in Athens, West Virginia. He received his MD degree from the University of Virginia School of Medicine and remained there for his first year of dermatological training. Following an internship at the University of Iowa Hospital, he trained in Dermatology at Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center and Duke University in North Carolina. From 1948 to 1950 he served in the United States Army in Georgia and Okinawa, Japan.

Beginning in the early 1950's George launched an academic career, equaled by few in his field, in which he rose through the ranks at Columbia University, the University of Pennsylvania, and Johns Hopkins University, where he served as Professor and Chairman of Dermatology for nearly ten years, until 1976. He then directed the Department of Dermatology at the University of Cincinnati for five years before moving to Cornell University in New York, where he co-directed the Division of Dermatology for an additional 12 years, until 1993 and established Dermatology as full Department status. Dr. Hambrick was a Professor Emeritus at Cornell and Senior Lecturer at Columbia. His appointments have included editorial journal responsibilities as well as a variety of committees with the National Institute of Health.  

In 1987, together with Rockefeller University's Martin Carter, MD, PhD and Herzog Foundation President Peter Bentley, Dr. Hambrick founded the American Skin Association to represent the interest of skin disease victims and their families. At the age of 85, Dr. Hambrick would leave his home in Charlottesville, drive to Richmond, Virginia and fly to New York City. There he would stay Monday through Thursday to fulfill his duties as President of the American Skin Association. The American Skin Association remains a singular voice dedicated to overcoming the most serious forms of skin cancer and disease through research and education.

In 1993, the Weill Cornell Medical College honored him by establishing the George W. Hambrick, Jr. Professorship in Dermatology. The Hambrick Professorship, is currently held by Dr. Richard Granstein, chairman of the Department of Dermatology at Weill Cornell.

Most recently The George W. Hambrick Jr., a M.D. leadership fund in Oncological Dermatology was initiated by the Johns Hopkins Department of Dermatology in recognition of Dr. Hambrick's great contributions to Johns Hopkins and to the field of Dermatology. This endowed professorship honored Dr. Hambrick's record of excellence in promoting healthy skin through skin cancer research and exemplary leadership in the field of Dermatology. Among his countless other accolades is the Dermatology Foundation's first Lifetime Career Educator Award for his service as a mentor, role model, and inspiration to students and residents.

He served as president of both the Dermatology Foundation and the Society of Investigative Dermatology and, for 11 years, as a delegate to the American Medical Association. With more than 75 publications to his credit, he was an advisor to Skin & Allergy News and a member of the editorial board for the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology.

As an academic administrator, investigator, author and thoughtful leader, George influenced generations of dermatologists. Nothing, however, conveys his contributions as a formative teacher of young dermatologists more eloquently than the words of a former student. “I wish to convey the compassion he exemplified to his patients while also imparting his wealth of knowledge to the residents. He worked tirelessly to stress excellence and to make sure we were performing to the best of our abilities.”

In addition to Dr. Hambrick's professional credentials, his primary devotion was to his family and friends. Known affectionately as Dee Dee, his passion was nurturing relationships. As a visionary he took great pride in watching people grow, mentoring many throughout his long life. Dee Dee read constantly, his magnifying glass always in hand. He was an avid genealogist with an impressive memory for details, never forgetting a person or a name. Hours were spent researching his lineage, looking up Hambricks in phonebooks, leading to connections with newly found relatives, which became life-long kinships. History, opera, music, gardening, and travel were among his interests. He was also trained as a classical pianist. He has been called a gifted soul with a brilliant mind. What a wonderful life.

He is survived by his niece, Anna “Terry” Bruce Columbus and her husband Marc and their children Jillian A. Columbus and Cole M. Columbus of Charlottesville, Virginia.

A funeral service will be held at 11:00 a.m. Thursday, December 19, 2013 at Westminster Presbyterian Church in Charlottesville, VA with the Reverend Dr. Laura S. Sugg and the Reverend Dr. John G. McFayden of Philadelphia, PA officiating. Interment will follow at Monticello Memory Gardens.

Visitation will be held 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Wednesday, December 18, 2013 at Hill and Wood Funeral Home in Charlottesville.

In lieu of flowers, if one wishes, memorial contributions may be made to the American Skin Association, 6 East 43rd Street, 28th Floor, New York, NY 10017.

Friends may send condolences to his family at www.hillandwood.com

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