Marc A. Asher, M.D.
Distinguished Professor Emeritus
August 15, 1936 - February 1, 2019
Distinguished Professor Emeritus
M.D.: 1962, University of Kansas School of Medicine, Kansas City, KS
Residency: Baltimore City Hospital, Baltimore, MD
Residency: Combined Harvard Orthopaedic Program, Boston, MA
Fellowship: Massachusetts General / Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA
American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery
In his own words, Dr. Asher's Biography: For 31 years, from January 1972 through December 2002, it was my privilege to practice orthopedic surgery in the rewarding academic environment at the University of Kansas Medical Center.
In the 10 years after graduation from our School of Medicine in 1962, I had the opportunity to receive diverse and extensive post-graduate training and experience. These experiences both broadened my outlook and reinforced my conviction that the Kansas University Medical Center offered an excellent environment to develop a rewarding academic practice, including both clinical and clinically applicable laboratory research. My expectations have been more than realized.
Similar to the times, my practice began as a general one. However, it soon became focused on pediatric problems and finally on spinal deformity conditions. Since retirement from clinical practice, I have had the opportunity to participate in the further development of the department through continued clinical research and staff recruitment and development. In addition to continuing these endeavors, I am working to further develop the Paul R. Harrington Archives in the Department of History and Philosophy of Medicine.
Marc Addason Asher, M.D. died February 1, 2019 of heart failure. He was born on August 15, 1936 to St. John, KS farmer James Manley Asher and Pratt, KS native and high school mathematics teacher Lucile Turner Asher.
He graduated from Kansas State University BS 58 and the University of Kansas, MD 62. He completed post-doctoral training at the University of Oregon, Baltimore City Hospital, and a Fellowship at the Harvard Combined Orthopaedic Surgery Residency. His early career included work at the United States Public Health Service as the General Medical Officer in Leavenworth, KS and as an Assistant Professor of Orthopedic Surgery and Residency Training Coordinator at the University of Texas Medical School at San Antonio in 1970.
In January 1972 Dr. Asher returned to his alma mater, rising from Assistant Professor to University Distinguished Professor in 2003 - the first full-time clinician to receive this award in the school's history. He progressively sub-specialized in pediatric orthopedics and spine deformity. He established and regularly conducted several clinics throughout the State, edited the first edition of Orthopaedic Knowledge Update for the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons and participated in the research and development of the Isola Spine Implant System. Available from 1989 through 2011, it was at one time one of the world's leading spine implant systems.
At the end of 2002 he retired from practice and at the end of 2008 from his academic appointment. During the remainder of his life he continued to participate in the academic life of the University of Kansas Medical Center and to participate with the Kansas University Endowment Association to develop resources to foster the advancement of orthopedic science and practice. He published over 200 clinical and research papers in scientific journals. In October 2015 Dr. Asher published his book, "Dogged Persistence: Harrington, Post-Polio Scoliosis and the Origin of Spine Instrumentation" about his mentor, Paul R. Harrington MD, and Harrington's research in post-polio scoliosis.
Dr. Asher traveled all over the world, was invited to present many named lectures and was active in several professional associations, holding office and receiving lifetime achievement awards from the Pediatric Orthopaedic Society and the Scoliosis Research Society. In 1999 he was the University of Kansas School of Medicine alumnus of the year, in 2007 the Distinguished Kansan of the Year, and in 2009 was awarded a Fred Ellsworth Medallion from the University of Kansas Alumni Association. Also in 2009, he was honored by the Sigma Chi Fraternity as a "Significant Sig" for distinguished achievement in his profession. In 2010 he was named a Life Trustee of the Kansas University Endowment Association.
Starting in 2000, he, family members, and friends worked with the South Central (Kansas) Community Foundation (SCCF) to establish the Lucile Turner Asher Scholarship in Mathematics Endowment. To date, merit based university tuition awards of up to eight semesters have been provided to fifteen scholars. Dr. Asher is survived by his wife, Elinor June Asher, and his daughter Janet Asher Vreeland and her husband Bob. His extended family was a major source of pride and inspiration for him.
As his final gift to the research he dearly loved, Dr. Asher willed his body to Department of Anatomy at the University of Kansas Medical Center.
View Dr. Asher's obituary in ScienceDirect: Burton, Douglas. "Marc A. Asher 1936-2019." Spine Deformity, May 2019, pp. 382-383.