In Memoriam, Winter 21/22

Ake Grenvik

July 10, 1929—Sept. 5, 2021

Ake Grenvik, founding chief  of critical care medicine at Pitt, created one of the first critical care training programs in the world, innovating his field, says his protégé, Derek Angus, who’s now Distinguished Professor and Mitchell P. Fink Professor of Critical Care Medicine at Pitt and executive vice president and chief innovation officer at UPMC.

Angus recalls Grenvik’s kindness and generosity. In the summer, Grenvik welcomed his fellows into his home, threw pool parties and made Swedish meatballs. “Ake was a tireless supporter,” Angus says. “We were all his family. He was a second father to us.”

Born in Sweden, Grenvik graduated from the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm and, after studying mechanical ventilation, received his PhD from Uppsala University in 1966. He then moved to the United States and became a professor of anesthesiology at Pitt in 1968. Grenvik’s tenure as critical care chief lasted 30 years; he remained a leading faculty member and mentor until he retired as Distinguished Service Professor of Critical Care Medicine.

Throughout his career, Grenvik trained generations of critical care physicians, established standards of ethical and humanitarian care in medicine and produced an influential body of work on defining such terms as “brain dead” and “critical care triage.” He was a driving force behind the development of Pitt’s Winter Institute for Simulation, Education and Research (WISER).

Angus says, “There is a sense that we don’t make people like Ake anymore. I hope that’s not true. His was a life lived. Oh, that the rest of us could be so lucky.”   —Kari Villanueva

Leon L. Haley Jr.

Nov. 6, 1964—July 24, 2021

In December 2020, Leon Haley Jr. (MD ’90) rolled up his sleeve and received the first COVID-19 vaccine administered in the state of Florida. This was typical Haley, his friends and colleagues say. He believed it’s not enough to simply treat patients; a physician must truly empathize and understand them.

Haley, dean of the University of Florida College of Medicine and CEO of UF Health, Jacksonville, was a prominent figure in the vaccine rollout in his local area. He administered 15 vaccines to colleagues at UF Health before leaving work on July 23, 2021.

The following day, he died in a jet ski malfunction in West Palm Beach. He was 56.

Haley offered mentoring and guidance locally for students at Edward Waters University, a historically Black institution. He had been a champion of diversity, equity and inclusion efforts dating back to his med school days.

Chenits Pettigrew, director of the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at Pitt Med, recalls, “No matter how busy his schedule was, he always found 30 minutes of his time to give to you, even if it was just a ‘How are you?’”

Haley is remembered by friends and family not only as a talented physician, but also as a dedicated father to his three children, Nichelle, Wesley and Grant. All three played sports, and Haley made a point to never miss a game. (Grant Haley now plays for the Los Angeles Rams.) “That can’t have been easy with his schedule,” says Pettigrew. “It was important to him.”

At Leon Haley’s funeral, which was live-streamed from Pittsburgh’s Wesley Center A.M.E. Zion Church, where he was baptized in 1965, Grant Haley said his father was “the greatest man I’ll ever know.”
Six days after Haley’s death, 152 UF Health Jacksonville staff were vaccinated in Haley’s honor.   —KV


Richard V. Skibbens, MD ’49
Oct. 17, 2021


Henry C. Lewis, MD ’53
Sept. 29, 2021

Maurice E. Rougraff, MD ’54
Aug. 12, 2021

Gene R. Bouch, MD ’55
July 30, 2021

Edwin S. Kremer Jr., MD ’55
July 18, 2021

Kenneth I. Ranney, MD ’55
Nov. 17, 2021

David E. Brougher, MD ’56
Sept. 23, 2021

Henry E. Simmons, MD ’57
July 16, 2021

Alvin Markovitz, MD ’58
Aug. 30, 2021

Lawrence M. Gilford, MD ’59
Aug. 25, 2021


Bernard B. Davis Jr., MD ’61
Sept. 4, 2021

Joel Safier, MD ’64, Res ’66
Oct. 28, 2021


Bernard L. Rottschaefer, MD ’71
Aug. 25, 2021

Richard G. Cassoff, MD ’73
Nov. 14, 2021

Marvin A. Rachelefsky, MD ’74
July 24, 2021

Rebecca J. Caserio, MD ’75, Res ’83
July 12, 2021

Hugh James Francis Robertson, Fel ’75
June 1, 2021


Betty B. Chidester, MD ’80
Sept. 1, 2021

Richard A. Shubin, MD ’82
July 1, 2021


Russell Rule Rycheck, MD ’57, Res ’61, Fel ’62
Dec. 17, 2021