Dan Goodrich McNamara passed away at his home in Houston, Tex, on the morning of September 9, 1998. He had suffered an extensive stroke about 6 weeks earlier. The week before his stroke, Dan was busy seeing patients and teaching in the Cardiac Clinic at Texas Children’s Hospital.
Dan was born in Waco, Tex, on October 19, 1922. His early years were spent in Marlin, Tex. He graduated from Baylor University in Waco in 1943 and then attended Baylor University College of Medicine shortly after the school moved to Houston. After graduation in 1946, he completed a rotating internship at the Medical Center in Jersey City, NJ. After completing his internship, he served at the United States Naval Hospital in Quantico, Va, for 2 years. He went to Hermann Hospital in Houston and Children’s Hospital in St. Louis, Mo, for pediatric residency, followed by pediatric cardiology training by Dr Helen Taussig at Johns Hopkins University. His strong friendship with Dr Taussig and with the other “Taussig Fellows” was maintained over the years, which strongly influenced the program in Houston in a very favorable manner. Dan was recruited back to Baylor University College of Medicine by Dr Michael DeBakey after his fellowship, where he joined Dr Denton Cooley in building Houston’s heart program for children at the new Texas Children’s Hospital.
He took great pride in the success of his trainees and the junior faculty. Dan’s ongoing encouragement, approval, and support were influential to many young physicians who were no longer in Houston and even to many who had only briefly worked with him. Dan was one of the founders of the Section of Cardiology of the American Academy of Pediatrics. He was a participant in many activities of the American Heart Association over the years and was a strong supporter of the AHA’s mission. Dan served in a number of roles in the American College of Cardiology as well, including serving as its president in 1981–1982.
Dan was a professor of pediatrics at Baylor College of Medicine, where he worked from the completion of his fellowship training until the time of his death. For the first 31 years on the faculty, he was the Section Chief of Pediatric Cardiology.
In February 1978, an endowment was provided to Dr McNamara by Josephine Abercrombie in honor of her mother, Mrs Lillie Frank Abercrombie, who had been one of the founders of Texas Children’s Hospital. Rather than use this for an endowed chair for himself, Dan endowed research opportunities for young associates and trainees, with the section becoming the Lillie Frank Abercrombie Section of Cardiology. In 1988, he became the Chief Emeritus. He agreed to continue in an active clinical role into his “retirement years.” He thoroughly enjoyed his role in the Texas Children’s Cardiac Clinic, teaching and seeing patients during this time.
Dan’s numerous honors included the Distinguished Alumnus Award from both Baylor University and Baylor College of Medicine, the Distinguished Fellow and the Master Teacher Awards from the American College of Cardiology, the Founders Award of the Section of Cardiology of the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the Arnold J. Rudolph Lifetime Teaching Award in Pediatrics from Baylor College of Medicine. The teaching award in pediatric cardiology at Texas Children’s Hospital has been named for him since 1994, and the most recent edition of The Science and Practice of Pediatric Cardiology was dedicated to him last year. The Cardiac Clinic and the Learning Resource Center of the new Texas Children’s Heart Center will be named for Dan.
He is survived by 2 generations of devoted former trainees, professional associates, friends throughout the world, a host of appreciative patients and families, and his enduring academic and scholarly contributions to the field of pediatric cardiology. We will all treasure the time he spent with us, remember him fondly, and miss him greatly. Friends are invited to visit www.bcm.tmc.edu/pedi/cardio/ to view and download some of our favorite Dan McNamara photos.
- Copyright © 1999 by American Heart Association