Ross H. Musgrave, M.D.
The University of Pittsburgh, the Pittsburgh Plastic Surgery community, and the PITT Plastic Surgery family mourn the loss of a great contributor, teacher, leader and ambassador with the passing of Ross H. Musgrave who died on Sept 12, 2014. For more than 6 decades he was someone who “made a difference” for plastic surgery residents, medical students at PITT, the lives of countless patients and the University of Pittsburgh.
I was especially privileged to have developed a close friendship with him over the last 20 of his life and the following are my reflections that I am sure are probably shared by many.
Ross Musgrave was an excellent plastic surgeon who was exacting and precise in the way he operated and the way he lived. Dr Musgrave was a man of multiple and diverse talents, interests, abilities and hobbies who brought extraordinary energy and enthusiasm to his life every day. He was bright and unceasingly inquisitive, always wanting to stay current with and understand the dynamics of medicine, sports, people and the world around him. He was passionate.
Ross Musgrave was a teacher of plastic surgery residents both inside and outside of the operating room. He not only taught the art of plastic surgery but also the art of interacting with patients and their families. Throughout his life he spoke to residents about the importance of making a difference with what we did for patients and with our careers.
Dr Musgrave was an accomplished actor, director (I was in one of his productions and would have never imagined how someone could work so hard to mold a final production- practice, rehearsal and precision), writer, sculptor, painter, and a master of cloth collage art. His talents perhaps defined the latter field.
He was also an ardent sports fan who knew in considerable detail every subtlety involving University of Pittsburgh football and basketball as well as the all the important dynamics involving the Pirates and Steelers.
His achievements are too many to recount here. The highlights include his service as President of the Cleft Palate Association in 1969 and President of ASPRS in 1975. In 2001 he received the Distinguished Alumni Award from the University of Pittsburgh. In addition he served as Executive Director of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Alumni Association for 14 years from 1992-2006 forming many strong bonds with medical students pursing all fields of medicine. In 2004 the “Ross H. Musgrave Room for Problem Based Learning” was dedicated in his honor by the University Of Pittsburgh School Of Medicine. The Annual Ross Musgrave Lectureship was established in 1996 and the Ross H. Musgrave Chair in Pediatric Plastic Surgery was created in 2013 at Childrens Hospital of Pittsburgh. Ross was a member of many professional societies and without a doubt the American Association of Plastic Surgeons was his favorite. He directed a theatrical production put on in tribute to AAPS at its 75th Annual meeting in Hilton Head.
Ross Musgrave had a style that was unique. He lived a full and interesting life. Ross would be the first person to say that he had a great supporting cast headed up by Norma Jane. He virtually never came up short with a performance.
Ross and Norma Jane Musgrave (known to friends as “ NJ”) were a loving couple married for almost 70 years. They served as wonderful ambassadors for the University of Pittsburgh, plastic surgery, and the medical community. For five decades they welcomed many friends, professional colleagues, plastic surgery residents and medical students to their home for parties and social functions with warmth and a traditional Pittsburgh style and grace that was so emblematic of them. They were blessed with and survived by 2 daughters Joan, Nancy and one son Randy, 4 grandchildren Blair, Katie, Brian and Allie, and 2 great grandchildren Lexi and Olivia.
The 126 plastic surgery residents who he was so intensely proud of teaching, were indeed privileged. Those of us who knew him in a little greater depth over a longer period of time were truly blessed. He left a legacy. In many ways he was ‘a man for all seasons’.
He made a difference. He will be missed.
Submitted with admiration, respect and gratitude.
Kenneth C. Shestak, M.D.