Charles Anderson, Pioneer of Kidney Transplantation at Barnes, Dies


“Dr. Anderson skied like he spoke and lived: directly, straight down the mountain at full speed,” Dr. Dan Brennan noted.

Charles Bernard Anderson, MD, the surgeon who in 1973 performed the first kidney transplant at Barnes Hospital, died November 7, 2016, of congestive heart failure, at the age of 78.

Dr. Anderson was a pioneer of donor-specific transfusions and immunologic tolerance in kidney transplantation, which transformed the field of organ transplantation. He founded the Kidney Transplant Program at Barnes Hospital in 1973 and with his colleague William Newton, MD, helped create a similar program at St. Louis Children’s Hospital. The Annual Anderson-Newton Lecture in Transplantation was established nine years ago to honor their contributions to the field of transplantation.

A graduate of Johns Hopkins University and Yale University School of Medicine, Anderson completed an internship in surgery at Barnes Hospital before serving two years in the U.S. Navy (assigned to the Marines) as a medical officer. Returning to Barnes Hospital, Anderson completed his surgical residency and became an instructor of surgery in the School of Medicine. He went on to become Chief of the Division of General Surgery.

“He was a great surgeon, mentor to many surgeons, teacher and a great friend,” says Gregorio A. Sicard, MD, Professor Emeritus of Surgery, who worked closely with Anderson for many years. The two colleagues and friends worked to develop vascular surgery into a true specialty.

Anderson certainly made an impression on Dan Brennan, MD, Director, Transplant Nephrology at WU, at the start of his career. “Dr. Anderson was an early mentor to me when I first came to WU,” says Dr. Brennan. “He was a very direct person.” Brennan recalls accompanying Anderson to an immunology conference that had some of the biggest names in immunology in attendance. Held in Keystone, Colorado, in the winter, the meetings took place in the morning and the afternoons were free for skiing. “Dr. Anderson skied like he spoke and lived: directly, straight down the mountain at full speed.” When advice was needed, Anderson “was like a kind uncle, listening and giving counsel and guidance.”

Born in Clifton, NJ, in 1938, Anderson was a resident of Clayton, Mo at the time of his passing. His wife of 45 years, Marilynn, died in 2003. He is survived by three daughters and eight grandchildren.

A memorial service will be held at The Church of St. Michael and St. George, 6345 Wydown Boulevard, Nov. 17 at 10:30 a.m.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Charles B. Anderson, M.D., and William T. Newton Lectureship in Abdominal Transplantation, in care of the Foundation for Barnes-Jewish Hospital; 1001 Highlands Plaza Drive West, Suite 140; St. Louis, Mo. 63110.