Richards, Frank O.

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Richards, Frank O.

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1923-2014

History

Frank O. Richards was born in 1923 in Asheville, NC and attended Asheville public schools. He received his AB degree from Talladega College, Talladega, Alabama in 1944 and his MD degree from Howard University School of Medicine, Washington, DC in 1947. He completed his internship and surgical residency at Homer G. Phillips Hospital in St. Louis, after which he spent two years in the United States Air Force as chief of general surgery at the 36th Tactical Reconnaissance Air Force Base Hospital in Bitburg, Germany from 1952 to 1954. He returned to St. Louis in 1954 and served as supervisor of surgery at Homer G. Phillips. He entered the private practice of surgery in 1955.

Richards was certified by the American Board of Surgery in 1954. He was admitted as a fellow of the American College of Surgeons in 1957.

He was appointed to the clinical faculty of the Department of Surgery at Washington University School of Medicine in 1954. He served on the staff of Barnes and Jewish Hospitals, also on the staffs of St. Luke’s and DePaul Hospitals (the first African American surgeon to do so), and on the staffs of St. Louis Children’s, Bethesda, Deaconess, and Christian Hospitals.

In 1960, Richards received the William H. Sinkler, MD Award given by the surgical section of the National Medical Association. He has written scientific papers which report studies on intestinal obstruction, gastrointestinal bleeding, and wound healing. He also was a participating author of A Century of Black Surgeons, the U.S.A. Experience, a two-volume treatise about the training of African American surgeons in this country, edited by Claude Organ, Jr. and Margaret Kosiba (1987).

Richards was the first African American member of the St. Louis Surgical Society, later serving as its secretary and president. He was active in many civic endeavors and served on several hospital and community boards.

He was married to the former Ruth A. Gordon of Trenton, NJ. They were the parents of two children.

*Adapted from the donor’s own biographical statement, with his permission.

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