John A. Downey, MD, the Simon Baruch Professor Emeritus of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, died Oct. 24, 2019. Dr. Downey chaired what is now the Department of Rehabilitation & Regenerative Medicine from 1974 to 1991. He was elected to the National Academy of Medicine (formerly the Institute of Medicine) in 1991.

Dr. Downey completed a physical medicine and rehabilitation residency at Columbia in the mid-1950s and returned to join the faculty in 1963.

A pioneer in his field, Dr. Downey conducted research on temperature regulation in spinal cord injury. As chair, he expanded the department and made clinical services available beyond the campus to reach patients across the region.


Paul A. Marks, MD, dean of the Faculty of Medicine and Vice President for Health Sciences at Columbia in the 1970s and president emeritus of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, died April 28, 2020. 

Dr. Marks received his undergraduate and medical degrees from Columbia. He graduated first in his medical school class in 1949 and completed a residency in medicine at Columbia. He returned to Columbia in 1956 after postdoc training at the NIH and began his research career by studying globin genes and genetically determined anemias and thalassemias. In 1967, he became founding chair of the Department of Human Genetics. He was appointed dean of the Faculty of Medicine in 1970, “a job I took with trepidation,” he told Columbia Medicine in an interview for the Spring 2012 issue, “since I always considered myself a scientist first.” In 1973 he became vice president of health sciences and director of the Cancer Research Center, which he helped found in 1972 as principal investigator on an application for National Cancer Institute funding. It is now the Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center. He was the Frode Jensen Professor of Medicine when he left Columbia in 1980 to become president and CEO of the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, a position he held until retiring in 1999.

His career, which spanned more than 50 years, was recognized with an honorary degree from Columbia in 2000. In 1991, President George H.W. Bush awarded Dr. Marks with the National Medal of Science. In addition to his scientific and leadership legacy at Columbia, Dr. Marks generously sponsored a scholarship for medical students, a professorship, and a scholars program for junior faculty in the basic sciences.



Philip Brandt, PhD, professor emeritus of anatomy & cell biology, died Feb. 17, 2020.

Louis Z. Cooper, MD, professor emeritus of pediatrics, died Oct. 3, 2019.

Ralph Dell, MD, professor emeritus of pediatrics, died Feb. 11, 2020.

Joan Edelstein, MA, retired associate professor of clinical physical therapy and director of the Programs in Physical Therapy from 1991 to 2001, died in December 2019.

Yale Enson, MD, professor emeritus of clinical medicine, died Feb. 19, 2020. 

Frieda Feldman, MD, professor emeritus of radiology (in orthopedic surgery), died Jan. 12, 2020.

Dorothy Dole Johnson, PhD, retired assistant professor of anatomy, died Nov. 23, 2019. See more in Alumni In Memoriam, Class of 1949.

William Johnson, MD, former associate professor of neurology, died Jan. 30, 2020. See more in Alumni In Memoriam, Class of 1967.

Margaret Morgan Lawrence, MD, retired associate clinical professor of psychiatry, died Dec. 4, 2019. See more in Alumni In Memoriam, Class of 1940.