Arthur R. Jasion, 68, chairman of cosmetic, reconstructive surgery

July 10, 2004|By Frederick N. Rasmussen | Frederick N. Rasmussen,SUN STAFF

Dr. Arthur R. "Auts" Jasion, a surgeon who had been chairman of the plastic and reconstructive surgery section at Franklin Square Hospital Center, died of pneumonia July 3 at Greater Baltimore Medical Center. The Lutherville resident was 68.

He was born Arthur Raymond Jasionowski in Baltimore. He was the grandson of Polish immigrants who moved to Baltimore in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. In 1944, the family changed its name to Jasion.

Dr. Jasion was raised in Canton, where his parents owned and operated a grocery store at Lakewood Avenue and Fleet Street, near Patterson Park.

As a child, he was an outstanding athlete who played baseball and football. He later was a fullback for the championship Cuyahoga Blues Rugby Team while completing his residency at Cleveland Clinic.

When he was young, he liked working with his hands and building models. A childhood illness and the care he received from the family physician turned him toward a career in medicine, family members said.

He was 16 when he graduated from Polytechnic Institute in 1952 and began studying at the University of Maryland. He earned his medical degree from the University of Maryland School of Medicine in 1959.

He was a captain with the 1st Armored Division Medical Corps at Fort Hood Army Hospital in Texas, where he was head of emergency room services from 1960 to 1962.

After an internship in 1960 at what was then Mercy Hospital, he did a three-year general surgical residency at the Cleveland Clinic in 1965.

He completed a residency in plastic and reconstructive surgery at the Wilmington Medical Center and Alfred I. du Pont Institute in Delaware, where he served as chief resident from 1965 to 1967. He was board-certified in 1970 by the American Board of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeons.

"He became interested in reconstructive surgery while studying under Dr. James T. Metzer while in Delaware, and it became his primary focus. He thought there was a need to help those who suffered from disfigurements," said a son, Robert J. Jasion of Lutherville.

"When people think of plastic surgeons, they think of Gucci practices where all the plastic surgeon does is nose jobs. He took the hard cases -- those with lumps and bumps or patients who suffered from skin cancer, trauma or injury," said Dr. David P. Zajano, who is chairman of the family practice department at Franklin Square and a colleague of 30 years.

"He was a good-hearted soul with a simple outlook. He wanted to help people feel better and live better lives. What always impressed me was how he connected with his patients. He always took referrals regardless of their insurance. It was never about money," he said.

Dr. Philip J. Ferris, a retired vascular surgeon and former director of the department of surgery at Franklin Square, recalled Dr. Jasion's abilities.

"He was a very capable and well-trained surgeon who did all he could to help his patients. And he got a lot of pleasure out of helping them," Dr. Ferris said.

"He was very interested in helping people who had been involved with facial trauma and fractures," he said. "And when he was finished and they had healed, it was difficult to see that they had even had surgery."

Dr. Ferris described Dr. Jasion as a very "meticulous, deliberate surgeon" who took his time and employed an unusual operating room technique.

"He was very careful of a patient's tissues and would operate without the large overhead light turned on. He had it turned off because he said it dried out the tissues, and operated with only regular room light," he said.

Dr. Jasion was a volunteer instructor of plastic surgery at the University of Maryland School of Medicine and was a founding member of the American Trauma Society.

He was an active member of the American Society of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeons, the John Staige Davis Society of Plastic Surgeons of Maryland, and was a fellow of the American College of Surgeons.

Other professional memberships included the American Medical Association, the Medical and Chirurgical Faculty of Maryland and the American Association of Hand Surgeons.

Dr. Jasion, who was chief of Franklin Square's plastic and reconstructive surgery section from 1970 to 1986, retired in 1994 after suffering a stroke.

He had volunteered for many years with the Kiwanis Club and the Polish American Professional Association.

An avid outdoorsman, he enjoyed crabbing, and deer and waterfowl hunting.

His marriage to the former Carol Burns ended in divorce.

Dr. Jasion was a founding member and 34-year communicant of the Roman Catholic Church of the Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, 20 E. Ridgely Road, Timonium, where a funeral Mass will be offered at 11 a.m. today.

In addition to his son, Dr. Jasion is survived by two other sons, Edward B. Jasion of San Diego and Arthur William Jasion of Lutherville; a daughter, Jennifer L. Stevenson of Forest Hill; and 13 grandchildren. Another daughter, Kathleen Maria Jasion, died in 1970.

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