January 5, 2012

Memorial service set for Dr. Ernest Crow, co-founder of KU med school in Wichita

Friends and family of Ernest W. Crow remember the doctor as the elder statesman of Wichita’s medical community.

Friends and family of Ernest W. Crow remember the doctor as the elder statesman of Wichita’s medical community.

Dr. Crow, a retired cardiologist and professor at the University of Kansas School of Medicine-Wichita, died late last month. He was 91.

A memorial service is scheduled for 3 p.m. Saturday at University Congregational Church. An additional reception is planned that evening from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at Larksfield Place Auditorium for residents, staff and family.

“A very competent physician and well respected among his peers and patients,” said John Rosell, executive director of the Medical Society of Sedgwick County.

Dr. Crow was born Jan. 6, 1920, in Wichita. He was a graduate of North High School, Friends University and the University of Kansas Medical School. He served in the Army Medical Corps from 1946 through 1948, attaining the rank of captain.

In high school, he was a dance band musician and played the trombone. When he went on to medical school, he continued playing the trombone to help finance his education until his junior year. That’s when he sold the trombone to pay for an engagement ring for his wife, Bernie Sullivan, whom he married in 1943.

In 1949, he started his own internal medicine practice in Wichita and practiced medicine with Internal Medicine Associates.

“I joined him as a partner in 1957,” said Harvey Tretbar, an internal medicine and endocrinologist specialist. “He became the best friend I ever had.”

Along with Cramer Reed, Dr. Crow founded the University of Kansas School of Medicine-Wichita in 1973. Crow was the school’s first chairman of the Department of Medicine.

In 1985, he was recognized as Alumnus of the Year by the University of Kansas Medical Alumni Association. On accepting the award, Dr. Crow said:

“What pleased me the most when the medical school was established in Wichita was the phenomenal cooperation of all the physicians in the area. We started the Department of Medicine with no full-time faculty other than the chairman. I sent letters to all the area physicians asking for their help as clinical faculty. Nobody turned me down. Every physician volunteered to help in any way he could.”

Dr. Crow also was an adjunct professor of health education at Wichita State University until recently.

“Even after he retired he kept that going,” said Pat MacDonald, past director of health education for the Wichita/Sedgwick County Health Department.

“He was friendly even to the lowest of staff members. He always had a greeting and a smile.

“Doctors can sometimes be abusive and aloof; Ernie never met a guy he didn’t like. He never said a bad word. He was none of that.”

In his spare time, he was one of the earliest supporters of Music Theatre of Wichita, and served on the original boards of Exploration Place and Larksfield Place.

Memorial contributions may be sent to the Ernest W. and Bertha M. Crow Scholarship Fund at the University of Kansas School of Medicine-Wichita, ATTN: Heather Clay, 1010 N. Kansas, Wichita, KS 67214, or the Circle of Friends Fund at Larksfield Place, 7373 E. 29th St. North, Wichita, KS 67226.

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