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The Catalyst

Surgeon, academic leader remembered for MUSC commitment

By Cindy Abole
Public Relations

World-renowned surgeon, clinical leader, educator, sportsman, writer, visionary and university friend Gilbert Bowman Bradham, M.D., died at home after a long illness on May 21. He was 81 years old.

A native of Sumter, Bradham was born Aug. 5, 1931, to Riley and Mabel Bradham. A 1952 honor graduate of The Citadel, Bradham went on to attend the Medical College of South Carolina (now MUSC) and earned his medical degree in 1956. He continued his residency at the Medical College and became chief resident of surgery before conducting a fellowship in surgical cardiology at UCLA, doing research and computer science work for both UCLA and The RAND Corporation.

Dr. Gil Bradham was the driving force behind the building of the MUSC Wellness Center. He died at home on May 21 at the age of 81.
Dr. Gil Bradham was the driving force behind the building of the MUSC Wellness Center. He died at home on May 21 at the age of 81.

Later, he returned to MUSC where he would practice for the next half century. He served in many roles at MUSC including professor of surgery, vice president of academic affairs, medical director, associate dean and vice president of clinical affairs, vice chairman of the Department of Surgery, secretary of MUSC’s board of trustees and dean of student life.

MUSC President Ray Greenberg, M.D., Ph.D., compared Bradham’s skills and finesse in medicine to that of a baseball utility infielder.

“Gil was what one would call a ‘utility infielder’ in baseball -- he could play any position on campus, and he approached each assignment with passion and determination. During the course of his career, he was a surgeon, a medical director, an academic officer and a wellness guru. He was constantly reinventing himself, much to the delight and benefit of those who worked and played with him. He will be deeply missed by many colleagues on campus and friends throughout the community,” Greenberg said.

During his career, Bradham published more than 63 papers and wrote three books. A lifelong advocate for fitness, he spearheaded the creation of the Wellness Center at MUSC.

Darlene Shaw, Ph.D., associate provost for educational affairs and student life, remembers Bradham for his commitment to students and dedication to fitness.

“Dr. Bradham’s passion for health promotion and dedication to students came together in his vision for the MUSC Wellness Center,” Shaw said. “His energy and perseverance led to the creation of the Lowcountry’s only medical fitness facility, which is now a central part of campus life for students and an asset to the community-at-large. Dr. Bradham created a legacy that will live on through the Wellness Center’s innovative programs and the positive impact we have on the members we serve.”

Bradham also served the Tri-county community as chairman of the Cooper River Bridge Run and chairman of the SeeWee to Santee Conservation Initiative.

Bradham was a triathlete, windsurfer, sailor, gardener, master scuba diver and earned a black belt in martial arts.

Bradham’s friendship with MUSC President Emeritus James B. Edwards, DMD, goes way back. Like Bradham, Edwards also is a true outdoorsman who enjoys hunting and fishing. “Gil was a good and loyal friend, physician and visionary. He contributed greatly and served MUSC well through his dedication and commitment in so many areas,” Edwards said.

Layton McCurdy, M.D., Distinguished University Professor and dean emeritus, College of Medicine, was a colleague and friend for many years. McCurdy remembered Bradham’s natural curiousity about psychiatry and other topics as well as his insatiable quest for knowledge.

He honored Bradham from a quote by Scottish novelist and poet Robert Louis Stevenson.

“That man is a success who has lived well, laughed often, and loved much; who has filled his niche and accomplished his task; who always looked for the best in others and gave the best that he had; who leaves the world better than he found it.” 

W. Marcus Newberry, M.D., MUSC president emeritus, also shared sentiments of his friend. “Dr. Bradham had a long, illustrious career making many contributions to MUSC and the medical field. He was a good friend and positive presence in the lives of many people,” said Newberry.

Bradham is survived by his wife of 26 years, June Johnson Bradham, his six children, grandchildren and siblings.

His funeral service was held May 24 at Summerall Chapel, The Citadel.

Memorials may be made to the June and Gilbert Bradham Endowment Fund at the Coastal Community Foundation, 635 Rutledge Ave., Suite 201, Charleston, SC 29403; the Gilbert Bradham Scholarship Fund at MUSC, 18 Bee Street, Charleston, SC, 29425; or Roper Saint Francis Cancer Fund, 125 Doughty St., Suite 790, Charleston, SC, 29403.

May 29, 2013
 
 
 

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