Truman G. Schnabel Jr. ’40

Truman G. Schnabel Jr. ’40 died March 10, 2009, in Bryn Mawr, Pa. He was born on January 5, 1919, in Philadelphia, and prepared for college at William Penn Charter School, where he was captain of the tennis team and lettered in three other sports. He studied at Bowdoin for the 1936-1937 academic year, then earned a bachelor of science degree from Yale’s Sheffield Scientific School in 1940, where he played on the junior varsity football team coached by future president Gerald Ford. He earned an M.D. from the University of Pennsylvania Medical School in 1943 before becoming an intern at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. An Army captain in World War II, he served with the 10th Mountain Division in Italy and the 12th Infantry Division in the Philippines. Other than a year-long residency at the Massachusetts General Hospital and a sabbatical year at St. Erik’s Hospital in Sweden, he dedicated his entire 50-year career to Penn, teaching, researching and caring for patients in the University Veterans and Philadelphia General hospitals. He spent two years in the school’s Physiology Department before becoming a member of the Robinette Foundation, the Hospital’s cardiology section. As a fellow of the American Heart Association and a Markle Scholar in medical science, he established the University Hospital’s first cardiac catheterization unit, where he carried out a number of diagnostic and experimental studies. In 1956, he became the first fulltime member of the medical school’s faculty assigned to the Philadelphia General Hospital, initially as head of the medical department’s medical service and subsequently as chief of the medical school programs. Seventeen year later, he was named vice-chairman of the University of Pennsylvania’s Department of Medicine and the chief of the medical school’s medical service at the Philadelphia Veteran’s Administration Hospital. In 1979, he coauthored a guidebook for patients, It’s Your Body, with Marion Fox, a nurse. In 1990, he was appointed acting director of the medical department’s program in geriatric medicine and a year later, the acting director of the school’s Institute on Aging, a position he held for three years. In 2001, The University established the William Maul Measey-Truman G. Schnabel Jr. Chair in Geriatric Medicine and Gerontology. In 2002, he retired, having been the first C. Mahlon Kline Professor of Medicine, a distinguished Professor of the Medical School, recipient of the medical school’s Distinguished Graduate Award and its Lifetime Achievement Award and the University of Pennsylvania’s Alumni Award of Merit. He served as director of the American Board of Family practice, secretary-treasurer of the American Board of Internal Medicine, assistant secretary for Part III of the National Board of Medical Examiners and a member of the Medical Educational Advisory Committee Rehabilitation Services Administration, Department of H.E.W., as well as a member of the Clinical Research Fellowship’s Review Committee of the N.I.H. He served as president of the Council of Medical Specialty Societies, member of the American Board of Medical Specialties, chairman of the Liaison Committee on Graduate Medical Education, president of both the American Clinical and Climatological Association and the Interurban Clinical Club, as well as a member of The American Society of Clinical Investigation and the Association of American Physicians. He was the 50th president of the American College of Physicians and the recipient of the College’s Alfred E. Stengel Memorial Award. He was an honorary fellow of the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland, a member of the Visiting Nurse Association’s Board of Trustees and a member and chairman of the Benjamin and Mary Siddons Measey Foundation. He took up running in later in life, completing five marathons, the last in five hours and 15 minutes at Boston when he was almost 70, then danced and dined at a College of Physicians banquet that night. He is survived by his wife of 60 years, Mary Hyatt Schnabel; daughter Ann Gignac; sons Paul and Brooke, seven grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. He was pre-deceased by a son, Edwin Daniel, in 1989.