Dr. Paul E. Hodgson had a lifelong love of learning. “He was interested in everything,” recalled his daughter, Ann Hodgson of Brooksville, Fla.
Hodgson, a former chairman of the University of Nebraska Medical Center's department of surgery, died Wednesday at the Nebraska Medical Center. He was 91 and had multiple health problems, his daughter said.
A memorial service is planned at 11 a.m. Oct. 19 at Dundee Presbyterian Church, 5312 Underwood Ave.
Hodgson remained involved with UNMC after his retirement in 1988 and showed up regularly for rounds. He also took up beekeeping in retirement, producing his own honey.
Dr. Byers W. Shaw Jr., former chairman of the UNMC surgery department, knew about those bees and their keeper: “Now and then, the bees got the better of him and he'd appear at grand rounds or a dinner party with his eyes swollen near shut and his nose like a pomegranate. He never begrudged the bees.”
Shaw added: “Paul was also generous with people. Too optimistic to imagine our dark sides, he sought to encourage and cultivate those in his care.”
During his tenure at UNMC, Hodgson was assistant dean for academic affairs from 1969 to 1972 and chairman of the surgery department from 1972 to 1984. He held an appointment as Shackleford Professor of Surgery, was named an honorary alumnus of the College of Medicine in 1985 and became an emeritus professor of surgery.
Dr. James Edney, chief of surgical oncology at UNMC, was a third-year medical student when he met Hodgson.
“Dr. Hodgson was the epitome of the consummate surgical educator,” Edney said. “He was a true gentleman who lived his life to the highest principles, a meticulous surgeon who always put the interests of the patient in the forefront, and an outstanding mentor and role model for the surgical trainee.”
In 2006, Hodgson was named one of the Nebraska Medical Center's “Legends,” an honor for retired physicians who have demonstrated remarkable leadership, professionalism and friendship.
“He was clearly a superstar in surgical education,” said Dr. David W. Mercer, current chairman of the surgery department. He said Hodgson supported the department in many ways, including the Paul Hodgson Lectureship that brought what Mercer called other superstars in surgery to the UNMC campus.
Hodgson recruited Dr. Jon Thompson to UNMC 30 years ago and today Thompson is the Shackleford Professor of Surgery. He said of Hodgson: “His surgical skill, patience, attention to detail and caring manner endeared him to his patients. He influenced legions of medical students, surgical trainees and fellow surgeons.”
Hodgson earned his medical degree in 1945 at the University of Michigan and was a captain in the Army Medical Corps from 1946 to 1948. He joined the University of Michigan faculty in the surgery department before coming to UNMC in 1962 as professor of surgery.
He was preceded in death by his wife of 65 years, Barbara “Oz” Hodgson. Besides his daughter, other survivors include son Paul C. Hodgson of Omaha.
This report includes material from the University of Nebraska Medical Center.