Gordon Vineyard and Bruce HallBWH and the Department of Surgery mourn the loss of surgeon Gordon C. Vineyard, MD, who died on May 5 from complications of Parkinson’s disease. He was 78.

Dr. Vineyard, of Chestnut Hill, graduated from Harvard Medical School in 1963. After serving in the US Navy from 1965 to 1967, he completed his general surgery training at Peter Bent Brigham Hospital and then joined the staff at Peter Bent Brigham and Harvard Community Health Plan in 1972.

Dr. Vineyard later served as director of Surgical Specialties and Radiology, surgeon-in-chief and interim chief executive officer at Harvard Vanguard Medical Associates. He was also an associate clinical professor of Surgery at Harvard Medical School from 1984 until 2000. He remained actively involved with these institutions until his retirement in March 2000.

Friend and colleague Robert Osteen, MD, a former surgical oncologist at BWH, has known Dr. Vineyard since 1971, when Dr. Vineyard was a senior resident and Osteen was a junior resident. Osteen said both his and Vineyard’s families became close over the years and have shared Christmas Eve together since 1973.

Osteen said he’ll miss sailing and arguing with his friend the most.

“I have enormous respect for Gordon’s surgical abilities and patient care,” Osteen said. “He combined a significant amount of technical skill, knowledge and interest in surgical gadgetry with genuine care for his patients. He was hugely regarded by both his colleagues and patients.”

Department of Surgery Chair Michael Zinner, MD, described Dr. Vineyard as a passionate clinician, supportive mentor and faithful friend. He said he will remember Dr. Vineyard for his service and dedication with fondness and admiration: “His legacy will endure, both at the Brigham and in the halls of Harvard Medical School.”

In 1997, the Gordon C. Vineyard Lecturer in Surgery was established at BWH. The annual lecture, held each May, consists of a visiting professor giving a lecture during Department of Surgery Grand Rounds.

David Brooks, MD, of the Department of Surgery, met Dr. Vineyard in the early 1970s when he was a medical student. Dr. Vineyard served as Brooks’s teacher, boss and close colleague. As his teacher, Brooks said he learned how meticulous Dr. Vineyard was in his preparation for procedures, thinking through every move and possibility.

“He was a bridge between the old guard and new leadership, and was one of the very early innovators in alternative surgery delivery models through his work at Harvard Community Health Plan and Harvard Vanguard.”

Born in Little Rock, Arkansas, Dr. Vineyard is survived by his wife of 54 years, Phyllis Rahn Vineyard; son, Samuel Vineyard, and daughter-in-law, Hilary; daughter, Amanda Kavanagh, and son-in-law, Kevin; and five grandchildren.