Association of University Cardiologists

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George G. Rowe, M.D.

1921 - 2000

On July 24, 2000, Dr. George G. Rowe, emeritus professor of medicine, died peacefully at his Madison home of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.

Dr. Rowe was born to James G. and Cora Blotz Rowe in Alberta, Canada, on May 17, 1921, the fifth of their six children. The family returned to Iowa County Wisconsin in 1930 where their immigrant ancestors had arrived in the mid 1840's. George attended the Dodgeville schools, graduating from Dodgeville High School in 1938, as president and salutatorian of the senior class. He had been a participant in band, debate, plays, and chorus. He was tenor in a popular quartet.

He received his BA degree from the University of Wisconsin in 1943 and his MD also from the University of Wisconsin in 1945 as a member of an accelerated war-time class. During Medical School he received the Bardeen Award in Anatomy, 1943; Sigma Sigma Freshman Medical Honorary Fraternity, 1943; Phi Beta Kappa, 1943; and Alpha Omega Alpha 1944. Following an internship at Philadelphia General Hospital, he spent two years as general medical officer of the United States Army at the Veterans Hospital in Wichita, Kansas. Then he spent two years teaching anatomy at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri. While there he also did a major study on the anomaly of lumbar vertebrae–his first research project.

Dr. Rowe returned to the University of Wisconsin Medical School for residency in 1950 and continued his medical career at this school with the exception of a year spent at Hammersmith Hospital in London, England.

Dr. Rowe was research fellow of the American Heart Association, 1952-54; research associate of the American Heart Association, 1954-55. He was awarded the school’s very first Markle Scholarship, 1955-60, was made assistant professor of medicine 1957, associate professor medicine 1959; and professor of medicine in 1964.

He was named director of the Cardiovascular Research Laboratory in 1969. He was instrumental in developing cardiac catheterization at the University of Wisconsin and did more than 10,000 catheterizations on humans.

His academic productivity included 200 papers, 14 book chapters, and 4 invited editorials published. An excellent speaker, he was invited nationally and internationally. He was listed in Who’s Who and was a member of the American College of Physicians, American Federation of Clinical Research, American Heart Association, American Physiological Society, American Society for Clinical Investigation, American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics, Association of University Cardiologist, Central Society for Clinical Research, NIH, and American Medical Association. He served terms as president of many of these organizations.

After retiring as a practicing cardiologist in 1989, Dr. Rowe was elected mentor to the medical school class of 1989-93 and made 140 new friends. He then taught anatomy to the freshmen medical students on a voluntary basis from 1993-2000.
Dr. Rowe was a man of deep dedication, immense curiosity, and great joy. These traits were so compelling that those around him tried harder, looked deeper and enjoyed more.