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Obituary of Hal Bates Richerson
Hal Bates Richerson, 91, of Iowa City, died peacefully on Friday, March 13th 2020 at the Solon Care Center. Hal B. Richerson was born on February 16, 1929 in Casa Grande, Arizona to George and Eva Richerson. The family moved to Tucson in 1941 where he graduated from the University of Arizona in 1950. He then attended medical school in Chicago, and summer visits home introduced him to the love of his life, Suzanne Bradley. They were married on September 5, 1953 in Belvedere, Illinois. Dr. Richerson received his MD from Northwestern University Medical School in 1954. After two years of training in Kansas City and two years as an Army Captain in Neuropsychiatry at Camp Cook Army Base in Lompoc, CA, he moved his family, which now included two small children, to practice General Medicine in Ukiah, CA and then Holbrook, Arizona. The decision to specialize in Internal Medicine brought his family to the University of Iowa in 1961. He was quickly recognized for his clinical, scientific and leadership skills and served as an NIH Special Research Fellow during a year at Massachusetts General Hospital in 1968. He returned to the University of Iowa and became the first Director of the Division of Allergy and Immunology in 1972. In 1984 he and his family went to London where he was part of a research program at the Brompton Hospital. Throughout his career, he was involved in both clinical work and research, served on various national and international medical committees and boards and received many awards and accolades as a medical expert in occupational health diseases, asthma and T-cell immunology. He was described by his colleagues as “the consummate academician and clinician known for his generosity and warmth as a leader and friend, a wonderful man who knows so much”. He stepped down from his leadership position in 1991 but continued to perform research, teach and mentor until his retirement in 1999. Hal loved his work but also pursued other passions. He was an involved father who enjoyed hiking, swimming, reading aloud, and family meals with lively discussions. He was an avid SCUBA diver, played handball instead of eating lunch, supported Hawkeye football and basketball (both men’s and women’s), read voraciously, loved music (especially jazz), and traveled far and wide with Suzanne. After Suzanne’s untimely death in 1996, Hal was determined to enjoy his interests and be independent. He learned to cook for himself, traveled with family and alone, and pursued enriching learning opportunities. After retiring, he returned to playing the trombone, joining the New Horizons Band, and playing in six smaller ensembles. He also took classes in everything from writing a memoir to strategies in football. He continued to contribute to medicine at the university as Professor Emeritus. Hal is and will be remembered as “a rare kind of modern Renaissance man” as termed by a close friend and colleague. Hal is survived by his five children, Anne (Brian) Spencer, George (Mary) Richerson, of Iowa City, Miriam (Jerry) Herrick of Galena, OH, Julia Lange, of Solon, IA and Susan (David) Weil of Columbus, OH; grandchildren David (Lindsay) Spencer and Helen (John) Pantazis of St Louis, MO, Laura (Ian Davidson) Spencer of Seattle, WA; Diana (George) Culler of Chicago, IL and Matthew (Caroline Newcombe) Richerson of Minneapolis, MN; Gwendolyn Herrick of Columbus, OH, Jonathan Herrick of Baltimore, MD, Benjamin (Nina) Herrick of Madison, WI; Veronica Lange of Lake Jackson, TX, Ezra Lange and Georgianna Lange of Solon, IA; Micah Weil and Zoey Weil of Columbus, OH. Also six great-grandchildren: Amelia, William and Margaret Spencer and Vera, Faye and Holly Pantazis. The family greatly appreciates and respects those who cared for Hal with thoughtful kindness throughout his last years, in his home and at the Solon Care Center. Memorials and donations may be made to the UIHC Department of Internal Medicine or the Iowa City Senior Center. Hal will be buried next to his wife, Suzanne, at Oakland Cemetery on Tuesday, March 17 with the immediate family present. A Memorial Service will be scheduled in late spring due to the current national health situation.