It is with great sadness that we learned that Robert H. Heptinstall (“Heppy”), the head of the Department of Pathology from 1969 to 1988 passed away peacefully on Tuesday January 5th, at the wonderful age of 100.
Heppy was one of a kind. He was born in Great Britain, and obtained his medical degree from Charing Cross Hospital Medical School in London. He then joined the British Army, where, as part of “Force 136,” he parachuted into Thailand to care for freed prisoners of war. After the war, Heppy briefly studied under Sir Alexander Fleming, the discoverer of penicillin. Heppy came Johns Hopkins in 1954 supported by an Eli Lilly Travelling Fellowship. After a brief time at Washington University in St. Louis, Heppy returned to Hopkins, and was named director of the Department of Pathology and pathologist-in-chief of The Johns Hopkins Hospital in 1969. He led the Department for almost 20 years, stepping down in 1988.
Heppy had one of the longest continuingly funded RO1 grants, and made major contributions to our understanding of the link between hypertension and kidney disease and atherosclerosis. He was also a gifted teacher and writer. His magnum opus, The Pathology of the Kidney, now known as Heptinstall’s Pathology of the Kidney, and in its 7th edition, is considered the leading textbook on renal pathology.
Heppy was president of American Society of Nephrology from 1972 to 1973; president of the Renal Pathology Society from 1980 to 1983; and vice present of the International Society of Nephrology from 1981 to 1984. He received a gold medal from the Danish Surgical Society; was given the David M. Hume Memorial Award from the National Kidney Foundation; the Jean Hamburger Award from the International Society of Nephrology; and, in 2011, the Renal Pathology Society renamed its lifetime achievement award the Robert H. Heptinstall Lifetime Achievement Award.
A memorial service is planned for after the pandemic ends. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be sent to:
The Robert H. Heptinstall Fellowship Fund
The Johns Hopkins Hospital
600 North Wolfe Street
Baltimore, MD 21287
Or you can make your gift online: https://secure.jhu.edu/form/pathol
The society was initiated by a group of renal pathologists (Jay Bernstein, P. Burkholder, J. Churg, R. Cotran, F. Cuppage, D. Jones, M. Kashgarian, J. Kissane, K. Mostofi, and G. Striker), acting in large measure at the instigation of Conrad Pirani who served as acting chairman.
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