ST. LOUIS - John B. Shields, M.D., a clinical professor of radiology and former department chair at Saint Louis University School of Medicine, died Dec. 23 after a long illness. He was 79.
|John B. Shields, M.D.|
Shields had been a member of the Saint Louis University family for 57 years. Born in Butte, Mont., he received his medical degree from Saint Louis University in 1957 and joined the faculty 43 years ago. Originally, Shields had trained at SLU to be a cardiothoracic surgeon and but changed his specialty to radiology when he was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.
"Dr. Shields was a man of deep honesty, sincerity and conviction who spoke his mind freely without fear of criticism or ridicule," said Michael Wolverson, M.D., chair of the department of radiology who worked closely with Shields from more than 30 years.
"His style as chairman was primarily as a clinically active radiologist working on the front line with his residents and faculty. In this way, he knew firsthand all the issues affecting his department. He was devoid of personal ambition other than to be of service to his department, the University and in nurturing the careers of his faculty and residents."
Shields, who was director of the radiology training program from 1977 to 1994 and from 2001 to 2004, had a keen ability to spot the talent of future radiologists.
"His insight into the potential and motivation of resident applicants was occasionally at odds with the radiology resident selection committee," Wolverson said.
"He often recognized that applicants from remote communities, often without the strongest academic credentials, would strive to succeed and take their expertise back to the communities from which they came. He insisted that a number of such applicants be accepted for training."
Passionate about teaching, Shields was both the toughest professor and the professor who taught students most, said Edward O'Brien, M.D., adjunct professor of radiology at Saint Louis University and the first resident he trained. Their relationship as teacher and student evolved through the years to that of colleagues and friends.
"Everybody remembers Dr. Shields and learned a lot from him. He was a disciplinarian, humble but proud," O'Brien said.
"He was very stern and a little bit intimidating. As time went on and his residents grew into the radiology specialty, he became more of a peer. He was in his element when he was sitting with residents and teaching residents."
B. Kirke Bieneman, M.D., assistant professor of radiology, said Shields led by example. He liked to come in early and work hard, seldom called in sick and had a heart of gold.
"He had high expectations for the people who worked with him and inspired them to do their best," Bieneman said. "He is someone who has been a fixture in this department as long as I can remember. He will be missed by hundreds of residents who trained under him."
Shields joined the radiology department as an instructor in 1978, after completing his resident training in radiology at Saint Louis University Hospital. He served as chairman of the department of radiology from 1978 to 1994, and subsequently was a professor in the department.
He became a staff radiologist at Saint Louis University Hospital in 1967. He also was a staff radiologist at SSM St. Mary's Health Center from 1967 to 1972; chief of radiology service at John Cochran and Jefferson Barracks divisions of St. Louis Veterans Hospitals from 1968 to 1978; and a staff radiologist at St. Louis Veterans Administration Hospitals from 1994 to 1997.
Shields was a member of numerous professional organizations including the Radiological Society of North America, American Roentgen Ray Society, Society for Magnetic Resonance Imaging and International Society for Magnetic Resonance in Medicine. He also served as president of the Missouri State Radiological Society.
Shields was the husband of the late Audrey Ann Shields (nee Voss); father of Kevin (Deb) and Edward; and grandfather of Noah and Hannah.
Visitation will be from 3 to 8 p.m. Friday, Jan. 7 at Bopp Chapel, 10610 Manchester Road in Kirkwood. The funeral Mass will be at 10 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 8 at Mary Queen of Peace, 676 W. Lockwood Ave., in Webster Groves.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to the John B. Shields, M.D., and Louise Marshall Scholarship Fund at Saint Louis University or to the St. Labre Indian School in Ashland, Mont. 59004.