VINCENT DE FEO /
PROFESSOR OF MEDICINE
Educator was one of medical school's first professors
Vincent De Feo, who joined the University of Hawaii in 1966 and was a founding faculty member of the John A. Burns School of Medicine, died Dec. 10 after a long illness. He was 82.
He served many years as chairman of the Department of Anatomy and Reproductive Biology and is remembered by friends and family as "an extraordinary human being," said Scott Lozanoff, professor and chairman of anatomy, biochemistry and physiology.
"His warmth, compassion and generosity combined with intellectual brilliance and a wonderful sense of humor will always be deeply appreciated."
De Feo was born in the Bronx, N.Y. He began teaching artillery at West Point in 1946. He attended Juniata College in Pennsylvania and Rutgers University, received his doctorate degree in 1954 at Ohio State University and completed postdoctoral studies at Johns Hopkins University in 1957.
He taught at the University of Illinois and Vanderbilt University before coming to Hawaii 32 years ago and helping to establish the medical school.
He "contributed significantly to the Ford Foundation grant that provided funding to initiate and maintain JABSOM in the early years," Lozanoff said, using the acronym for the medical school.
"He was a passionate and innovative educator who contributed significantly to the development of our current problem-based learning system."
He recruited many faculty members for the medical school who were successful scholars, and he wrote many original research papers during the 1950s, '60s and '70s concerning the endocrinology of the female reproductive cycle and biology of the decidual membranes which are still commonly referenced, Lozanoff said.
He said De Feo also was a community advocate for women's health issues.
He retired in 1998 but remained active as professor emeritus.
Ruth Kleinfeld, emeritus professor of anatomy, biochemistry and physiology and a close colleague of De Feo, said, "His scholarship and creative insights, his generosity and sensitivity, made him an inspiring teacher and mentor, deeply affecting the lives and careers of students and colleagues throughout the years."
She said he "worked consistently within the system to achieve consensus. He was honest, fair and humble, always stepping aside to permit the light of attention to shine on junior faculty members."
Survivors include wife June Segundo and sons Steven and Ronald.
Private services were held. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in his memory to St. Francis Hospice.