Dr Richard Lillehei, Professor of Surgery at the University of Minnesota and one of three brothers who are widely recognized physicians, died April 1, 1981 while jogging in Florida.
Lillehei, 53, was a noted transplant surgeon. He participated in the world's first successful transplant of a pancreas in 1967 and the first known human transplant of the small and large intestines. He did pioneering work in shock treatment, organ preservation, open-heart surgery and kidney transplants.
Along with his older brothers, Lillehei belonged to one of the state's most famous medical families. His brother, C. Walton Lillehei was a pioneer in open-heart surgery. Dr James P. Lillehei was an internist and cardiologist in St. Paul, MN.
Lillehei was known by his colleagues and students for his affability, varied medical talents and devotion to his work.
Lillehei, son of a Minneapolis dentist, graduated from West Side High School in Edina and graduated magna cum laude from the University of Minnesota in 1948. He graduated first in his class from the University's medical school in 1951, spent two years at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research and received his PhD in Surgery from the University of MInnesota in 1960.
He was named the Outstanding Young Man of Minnesota and the Outstanding Young Man of Minneapolis in 1962 by the Minnesota Junior Chamber of Commerce.
He is survived by his three son, Richard C. Lillehei Jr., Ted Lillehei, MD, and John Lillehei, MD. His son James died in 2005. His wife B.J. (Elizabeth Jeanne) Lillehei past away in August 2015.