Frank H. Tyler, M.D., 78, one of the founding fathers of the four-year University of Utah School of Medicine, died of pancreatic cancer on Wednesday, September 7, 1994, at University of Utah Hospital.
Born January 5, 1916, in Villisca, Iowa, to Royal Frank and Fausta Hill Tyler. Married Betty Hannan 1941. She died in 1960. Married Alida Woolley in 1962.Dr. Tyler earned his B.A. degree in 1938 from Willamette University, Salem, Oregon; and his M.D. degree from Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland in 1942. Following an internship at Johns Hopkins and residency at Peter Bent Brigham Hospital, Boston, Mass., Dr Tyler spent two years as a medical officer in the United States Navy before joining the University of Utah School of Medicine faculty in 1947.
Dr. Tyler was the recipient of prestigious scholastic honors including Phi Beta Kappa from Johns Hopkins Medical School and was a Master in the American College of Physicians. He was a member of many professional societies including the Association of American Physicians, the American Society for Clinical Investigation and the Endocrine Society and served as president of Western Association of Physicians (1963-1964) and the Western Society for Clinical Research (1957-1958).
In addition to his more than 250 professional published articles, book chapters and abstracts, Dr. Tyler served in many national editorial capacities. He was a member of the editorial board of "The American Journal of Medicine" (1967-1980) and since 1960 until his death he served as a referee for "The New England Journal of Medicine," "The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism," and "The Journal of clinical Investigation."
A world-renowned specialist in endocrine and metabolic disorders, especially muscular dystrophy and other neuromuscular diseases, Dr. Tyler was chief clinician on the very first extramural research grant awarded to a university by the National Institutes of Health of the United States Public Health Service. Funding for "the Study of Metabolic and Hereditary Disorders," began with a $100,000 grant in 1946 and was renewed annually for 33 years, bringing nearly $10 million to Utah. The Laboratory for the Study of Hereditary and Metabolic Disorders was designed to house numerous facets of this research which resulted in the clinical classification and an understanding of types of inheritance in several neuromuscular disorders.
As professor of internal medicine and first chief of the Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism from 1948-1981, Dr. Tyler was instrumental in the planning for building the first hospital on the University of Utah campus, to replace the outmoded Salt Lake County hospital facility which had been used for years for training purposes, and for the first time bringing together the medical school with its clinical facility. Six months after the University Medical Center opened its doors in 1965, the medical school's Clinical Research Center was launched under the directorship of Dr. Tyler, who served in that capacity until 1977. This center is a fully staffed hospital nursing unit which provides hospitalization for patients participating in clinical research studies and makes possible monitoring of the effects of such factors as diet, temperature, humidity, ionization, time and illumination on certain diseases. It has provided investigational resources for generations of physicians. At any given time more than 100 members of the faculties of medicine, pharmacy and nursing have had access to the center for their patients under study.
A selfless servant to the medical school and university to which he dedicated his life, Dr. Tyler twice served as acting dean of the School of Medicine (1971-1972 and July 1991-January 1993).
He served on numerous university and medical school committees, was director of the internal medicine honors program (1981-85) and received the best professor award for the School of Medicine's classes of 1971 and 1978.
Dr. Tyler had volumes of history stored in his memory, and his value as a resource for those seeking knowledge of past events or chronological perspective was inestimable. When a history of the University Medical Center recently was being compiled, Dr. Tyler was the institution's living almanac. He knew faces, names and dates. He was always ready to share appropriate anecdotes which were educational as well as entertaining. At the time of his death, Dr. Tyler was still actively involved in teaching, clinical care and research advising, long after the time when most physicians would have retired and rested on their laurels.
Though he was highly regarded as a physician, scientist and teacher, Frank Tyler, the doctor, was only a small part of Frank Tyler, the man. Along with his instant grasp and understanding of diverse problems and situations and his willingness to make difficult decisions regardless of their possible unpopularity, he had unfailing good humor and dependable approachability. He was a unique asset who was beloved by faculty, staff and students. As the school became larger and larger, Dr. Tyler continued to emphasize the humanistic and individualized approach to the teaching of medical students, and his twinkly eyes and guileless smile made an impression on everyone he encountered.
Dr. Tyler and his wife, Alida, lived in a rustic log house that was built over 80 years ago of western larch and Douglas fir logs taken from the Yellowstone Park area and transported to the building site by rail and wagon. The house provided a unique venue for regular dinners served to guests who often included faculty, staff and students from the School of medicine and the wider university community. He and Alida were gardening enthusiasts, and a large portion of their property was devoted to growing a wide assortment of produce subsequently served at their dining table and shared with friends.
Frank Tyler is survived by his wife, Alida; daughter, Karen Kowalski (Michael), Fairview, Utah; sons, Royal H. Tyler (Kathy), Salt Lake City; and F. Peter Tyler, Lafayette, Calif.; six grandchildren: Julia Ann Guyre, Eric T. Larsen, Jessica Mary Tyler, Nathan Frank Tyler, Blair Theresa Tyler, Nicholas Tyler Kowalski; one great-grandchild, Natalie Ann Guyre.
A memorial service will be held at 4:30 p.m. on Monday, September 12, 1994, in the Fine Arts Auditorium at the University of Utah.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations in Dr. Tyler's name to the Division of Endocrinology, Metabolism and Diabetes at the University of Utah School of Medicine, 50 North Medical Drive, Salt Lake City, Utah. 84132.
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