In Memoriam

Charles Bender photo in black and whiteCHARLES V. BENDER

Nov 20, 1949—May 24, 2021

Charles Bender made the NICU feel more like home. During his 25-year tenure as clinical director of the NICU at Magee-Womens Hospital, he spearheaded a ward design with private rooms.

“At the time, it was not necessarily felt to be the best approach to care and certainly presented new challenges to the staff, but he always put the babies and the families first in the decision-making,” says Jon Watchko, Pitt professor of pediatrics. Magee became the first NICU to provide private rooms for all their patients, with this standard being adopted across the country.

Born in Detroit, Bender earned his medical degree from Ohio State and served as assistant professor at the University of Cincinnati and Wright State in Dayton, Ohio, before coming to Pitt’s pediatrics department in 1990.

He’s remembered by colleagues not only as a compassionate neonatologist, but a good friend who donned his Santa suit for patients. “He was a very good listener. You could go to him and talk to him about different things, whether it was something at a personal level, something happening in your life, your family or something related to the NICU,” recalls Burhan Mahmood, medical director of the neonatal ECMO (extracorporeal membrane oxygenation) program.

As a teacher, Bender was known to be patient with his students. “He’d ask you something, and if you didn’t know it, he’d just tell you to look it up, and he’d discuss it with you the next day. He would never make you feel bad about not knowing something,” says Jennifer Kloesz, Pitt pediatrics professor and current medical director of Magee’s NICU. She says Bender was responsible for many of his residents and interns solidifying their paths in neonatology.  

—Hope Reveche


Gerald Levey photo in black and whiteGERALD S. LEVEY

Jan 9, 1937—Jun 25, 2021

When Gerald Levey chaired Pitt’s Department of Medicine, he hosted annual picnics for new interns and residents, taking his station behind the grill flipping burgers and rotating hot dogs until everyone ate. He took a keen interest in learning about these young doctors—like he did for faculty and staff.

“He had a way of making you feel alive,” says Linda Marts, who worked as an administrator with Levey for 10 years at Pitt. “He remembered everyone’s name and even details about their families.”

Born in New Jersey, Levey earned his MD at Seton Hall and trained at Harvard, Massachusetts General and the National Institutes of Health. In 1979, he came to Pitt as chair of medicine along with his wife, Barbara Levey, who was appointed associate dean and director of admissions. 

During a conversation with the late Thomas Detre, then senior vice chancellor for the health sciences, Gerald Levey expressed his aspiration to lead a major medical school. Detre advised him to hone his business management skills. In 1991, he took a job at Merck & Co. Three years later, UCLA recruited him.

Levey served as vice chancellor of medical sciences and dean of the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA from 1994 to 2010. His crowning achievements were the construction of the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center and the sealing of a $200 million gift to the school from film executive David Geffen. “It’s not possible to say in a short time what Jerry Levey means to UCLA,” says UCLA Chancellor Gene Block. “He left us with a state-of-the-art hospital, an endowed medical school, five new research buildings and 100 endowed chairs. Many generations will reap the benefit of his vision, leadership and dedication.”

Alan Robinson, former vice chair of Pitt’s Department of Medicine, worked with Levey for about 40 years, including at UCLA. “I have so many memories, but I can tell you that when I had to make a decision, I knew it would be the decision Jerry would make,” he says of Levey’s influence on him. 

—Michael Aubele


Nancy Tannery photo in black and whiteNANCY H. TANNERY

Jan 26, 1955—May 14, 2021

Nancy Tannery, whose 40-year Pitt career took her from researcher to senior leadership in the Health Sciences Library System to assistant provost, died in May. “She was just a consummate professional and added value to everything she got involved with,” recalled David DeJong, Pitt senior vice chancellor for business and operations.

Following a two-decade career in medical technology and research, at both Pitt and local hospitals, Tannery earned a master of library science degree from Pitt in 1995. She then joined the Health Sciences Library System (HSLS) as a faculty librarian and rose through several management positions. As senior associate director, she helped shape the programs and future direction of HSLS while supervising more than 20 librarians and staff members. She also was coinvestigator of the HealthCAS project, a year-long, online post-master’s degree Certificate of Advanced Study in Health Sciences Librarianship.

In addition, she held a secondary Pitt appointment as affiliated faculty in the Department of Biomedical Informatics in the School of Medicine. She served on the Provost’s Advisory Committee on Women’s Concerns and the School of Medicine’s Curriculum Committee.

Through the years, she authored or coauthored numerous peer-reviewed articles, abstracts and presentations on the development of clinical information tools for the electronic health record, clinicians’ use of knowledge-based information resources, the design of library-based information services in molecular biology and other topics. In 2011, she was awarded the Medical Library Association’s Estelle Brodman Award for the Academic Medical Librarian of the Year.

Tannery served on the National Institutes of Health’s Literature Selection and Technical Review Committee from 2012 to 2016 and chaired from 2015 to 2016.

“She was a caring, empathetic person,” DeJong says, “with a great sense of humor—just brightened any room she walked into and left a positive impression with absolutely everybody she interacted with.”  

—Marty Levine


John R. Orie MD ’47
June 25, 2021


Ronald F. Kettering MD ’58
April 7, 2021

Thomas E. Piemme MD ’58, Res ’60, ’64
April 17, 2021

David S. Rauschenberger MD ’58
May 25, 2021


Harvey M. Rosenbaum MD ’61
June 1, 2021

Garry S. Brody Res ’64
April 29, 2021

James T. Brown Jr. Res ’63
April 24, 2021

David Ryan Cook MD ’66
June 20, 2021

G. David Gardner MD ’67
May 28, 2021

Robert R. Cope Jr. MD ’69
April 15, 2021


Philip J. Le Fevre Res ’70
Feb 8, 2021

Lee W. Gould MD ’76
April 17, 2021

Stanley D. MacMurdo MD ’76
June 10, 2021

William P. Aull MD ’77
July 28, 2020

Larry R. Mastrine MD ’79
Jan. 2, 2021


Michael J. Daly Res ’86
May 29, 2021

Dean J. Rotondo Res ’86
April 28, 2021


Leon L. Haley Jr. MD ’90
July 24, 2021


Tara Cook MD ’18
May 31, 2021


Joseph J. Cottrell Jr. Fel ’14
Oct. 29, 2020

Duane A. Dreyer PhD ’71
April 22, 2021

© 2021 University Times. Reprinted with permission and adaptations.