Dr. Thomas E. Gillespie, 65, orthopedic surgeon at UM

June 29, 2005

Dr. Thomas Edward Gillespie, a hand and orthopedic surgeon on the faculty of the University of Maryland School of Medicine, died of cancer Sunday at his Millersville home. He was 65.

Born in Hazleton, Pa., he earned a bachelor of science degree from Bucknell University. He was a graduate of the Georgetown University School of Medicine in Washington and served in the Navy during the Vietnam War aboard the hospital ship Repose and the submarine Kamehameha. He left the military as a lieutenant commander.

After residencies in plastic and orthopedic surgery at the Medical College of Wisconsin and additional study in hand surgery at the University of Iowa, he taught at Louisiana State University and then joined the Maryland faculty in 1983.

In 1992, he became affiliated with Baltimore veterans hospitals, where he treated patients.

"He was a dedicated doctor who would leave the dinner table in a minute to treat a patient," said Lou Davis, a Millersville neighbor and friend. "He never refused a call. He cared deeply not only for his family but for his students."

The UM medical school created a Thomas E. Gillespie Award for Excellence in Orthopedics, first presented during commencement ceremonies last month. The award is given to "the graduating medical student who most personifies the ideals of excellence in patient care and scholarship and aspires to a career in orthopedics," according to the school.

Dr. Gillespie was awarded the 2004 teaching award presented by the graduating orthopedic chief residents. He also the received the president's award from the Maryland Council of Vietnam Veterans of America.

A Mass of Christian burial will be offered at 10 a.m. tomorrow at Our Lady of the Fields Roman Catholic Church, 1069 Cecil Ave., Millersville, where he was a member.

Survivors include his wife of 25 years, the former Barbara Vick Propsom; a stepson, Jason J. Propsom of Miami; two sisters, Lee Gillespie of Sugar Loaf, Pa., and Denise Frumkin of Conyngham, Pa.; and a step-grandson.

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