John F. Gustafson ’50

John F. Gustafson ’50 died on June 9, 2020 in Fredericksburg, Virginia.      

(The following was published by Covenant Funeral Home on June 9, 2020)

John Fowler Gustafson, M.D. died on June 9, 2020, in Spotsylvania County, Virginia.

He was born August 30, 1928, in Concord, New Hampshire, the only child of Fritz and Beulah Gustafson. He earned the rank of Eagle Scout while in junior high. He graduated the valedictorian of Concord High School in June of 1946. He attended Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine, from 1946 to 1950.  He was a member of Kappa Sigma fraternity. He was the manager of the swim team. He was elected to Phi Beta Kappa in his junior year, winning the Almon Goodwin Phi Beta Kappa prize. He was a member of the Caduceus Club for pre-medical students. He achieved straight A’s all through his schooling, including college. He and one other student graduated from Bowdoin with the highest honors, summa cum laude. He majored in chemistry and minored in German. He entered Cornell University Medical College in New York City in 1950, one of only 80 accepted out of nearly 30,000 applicants. He graduated with a medical degree in June of 1954.

On June 19, 1954, he married Frances Coolidge Dame of Concord, New Hampshire. They lived in New York City while he served a surgical internship at St. Luke’s Hospital. Fran worked as a librarian at Teachers College of Columbia University. In 1955 he was inducted into the Army as a first lieutenant in the medical corps. He did basic training at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, Texas. They moved to Temple, Texas, and he served as a surgeon and physician at Fort Hood army base. He was promoted to captain. In 1957 he was discharged from the army, and he entered a medical residency program at Scott and White Memorial Hospital in Temple, Texas. Two children were born to them there: John Fowler Gustafson, Jr. in 1956, and Jane Newton Gustafson in 1958.

In 1959 they moved to Washington, D.C., where he entered a year’s medical residency at Doctor’s Hospital. In 1960 he joined his aunt’s husband, Dr. Luther H. Snyder, M.D., in private medical practice in the District. In 1965 he and his family moved from the District to Bethesda, Maryland, and he continued to practice in the District and later in Chevy Chase, Maryland. He retired in December of 1998. He and Fran were members of Fourth Presbyterian Church in Bethesda for several decades. He was in Rotary in Chevy Chase for several decades. In 2003, he and Fran moved to Greenspring Village retirement community in Springfield, Virginia. Fran died in 2005, resulting from a fall. In 2016 he moved to Chancellor’s Village retirement community in Spotsylvania County, Virginia, to be closer to his children. Late in 2019 he was moved to Carriage Hill nursing home.

He is survived by his children and their spouses, John and Chi Gustafson and Jane and Larry VanSickle; his grandchildren and their spouses, Wade and Ashley Gustafson, Greta and Ronnie Hobbs, Hannah and Rick Roberts, and Sarah VanSickle; and his great-grandchildren, Connor John Hobbs and Madelyn Paige Hobbs.

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