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Frank Thomas Padberg, Sr., MD

Frank Thomas Padberg, Sr., MD

Frank Thomas Padberg Sr, MD age 96, passed away peacefully surrounded by his immediate family on April 5, 2014. He was born on March 9, 1918 in Canton Oklahoma to Albert F Padberg, the towns general medical practitioner and Mayme Thomas Padberg who taught school.

Graduating Canton High School he attended Wentworth Military Academy. As a professionally trained baritone, he served as Soloist during these years and considered a vocal "career". As the 1937 Honor Graduate from Wentworth he was eligible for appointment to West Point, but elected to pursue a medical career at Northwestern University, Chicago Illinois. He also excelled at this institution, was elected to AOA, the academic medical Honor Society, and graduated in 1943. He was selected for internship at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

Helen Louise Swan, of Konawa Oklahoma, and Frank were married on Feb 6, 1943 and celebrated their 71st anniversary in 2014. As a Captain in the US Army Medical Corps he deployed to Bristol UK, Cherbourg France, and Liege Belgium, from June 1942 to April 1946 with the 298th General Hospital. Returning to Northwestern, he completed a residency in surgery and neurosurgery training with Loyal Davis, author of surgical and neurosurgical textbooks and father of Nancy Reagan.

The family moved to Little Rock bringing the newly formulated specialty of Neurosurgery to the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences and Little Rock Veterans Affairs Hospitals in 1952. A practice in Neurosurgery was based at St Vincent's Hospital from 1952-1973. During this time he became a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons and served as President of the Arkansas Chapter. The Arkansas State Nurses Association awarded him Honorary Recognition in 1969. He was an active member of Rotary International and The Little Rock Club.

Frank and Helen maintained dual residency in Chicago and Little Rock after he accepted a position as Director of Fellowship and Graduate Medical Education with the American College of Surgeons in 1973. He received the Colleges Distinguished Service Award in 1988 and retired from the College in 1999. The Surgical Section of the National Medical Association honored him with their Distinguished Service Award that same year. In addition to the ACS, he was a member of other distinguished surgical organizations including the American Surgical Association, the Southern Surgical Association, the Southern Neurosurgical Society and the Congress of Neurological Surgeons.

As an active member of the Second Presbyterian Church, Little Rock, Frank served as an Elder and was an active participant in the Men's Bible class; in Chicago he served as a Deacon in 4th Presbyterian Church, Chicago, Illinois. During church services his projected baritone supplemented the inspiration inherent in the hymns. International travel was a frequent diversion and he managed to visit every continent but Antarctica. He and Frank Jr. went behind the iron curtain to visit eastern Europe and Russia during the era of the cold war. The entire family participated in several reunions with the Familienverband Padberg (the international Padberg family) attending several reunions in St Louis, USA as well as Berlin, Cologne, & Padberg, Germany. Frank maintained a relationship with the families in Canton, Oklahoma and was a contributor to the church. Frank had a distinguished and honest character coupled with a heart for gracious generosity to less fortunate associates and charitable giving.

Frank was predeceased by his older sister Louise Aline Padberg Souders, MD of Rock Island, IL, and both parents. He is survived by his wife, Helen, his daughter, Kristen (Denver CO), his son, Frank Jr, his daughter-in-law, Sharon, and his grandson, Frank III (Berkeley Heights, NJ). A celebration of his life will be held at 1PM, Friday April 11, 2014 at the Second Presbyterian Church 600 Pleasant Valley Drive, Little Rock. In lieu of flowers memorials may be made to Second Presbyterian Church. Arrangements are under the direction of Ruebel Funeral home and online guestbook will be maintained at

Condolence Book

"I wish to extend my deepest condolences and sympathy to you in the passing of your cherished father, husband , grandfather and most distinguished physician. His name and accomplishments will live on and be a source of inspiration to many. Hugs to all.


Gwendolyhn A. Carmel | Morristown, NJ |

"I was deeply saddened by the news of your father's passing. My heart felt condolences to you and your family. "
Karen Hauck | Keyport, NJ |

"Dr Padberg was Director of Fellowship (later Member Services) at the American College of Surgeons when I first began to work here. He was a good boss, and had a zany sense of humor that I enjoyed very much. My kindest wishes to his family at this difficult time."
Kate Early | Chicago, IL |

"My sympathies to the family of Dr. Padberg: the man who gave of himself to help my father for back surgery but even more to see after a nine year old daughter with a cerebellar tumor for whom little could be done. He drove to DeQueen on Chistmas to see her and bring presents to her and the siblings. Such selflessness will never be forgotten."
Dr. Denise McKnight | Ruston, LA |

"I so look forward to my visits with Dr. and Mrs. Padberg. He was a wonderful man who will be greatly missed! My prayers and condolences to his family."
Sandy Ledbetter | Sherwood, AR |

"As a staff member with the American College of Surgeons I was privileged to have known Dr. Padberg. I will miss his frequent impromptu and lively visits to the College. Over the past decade I have had the pleasure of sharing a meal with Dr. and Mrs. Padberg at more than one Drake lecture dinner. My heartfelt condolences to the Padberg family at this difficult time."
Ellen Waller | Chicago, IL |

"Out thoughts and prayers are with Kirstin and the family during this time.
He lived a wonderful and full life and will be greatly missed to all those he left behind

With Sympathy
Alice & Louie Allred"

Dr Louie & Alice Cockrill Allred | Little Rock, AR |

"My condolances to the family. Dr padberg was a wonderful friend. When I was a fldgling Internist at St Vincent in the late 60's with the LRDC he was a great supporter. When my daughter, Linda suffered a concussion after falling from a horse he provided her with exemplary care and she recovered. Frank was a great guy.
It was always fun to hear Dr Frank Bauer Sr tell Dr Padbrg how fashionable his beautiful Sports Coats were. He was a spectacular dresser!!
He was respected by us all and was a great Neurosurgeon. He made a super contibution to medicine in AR.
It was my privelege to have been associated with Frank.
My condolances to you'all.
James R. Rasch,M.D."

james R Rasch,M.D. | Maumelle,AR 72113 |

"As one of his nurses, I thank Dr Padberg's children for sharing him & Mrs. Padberg with me & my co workers. Dr. Padberg's laughter, stories & allowing us to care for & love him. He will always be dear to my heart & he will definitely be missed. To my sweet, beautiful Mrs. Padberg, may my co workers & I be able to comfort you through this time. Thank you Dr. Padberg for blessing my life with your laughter & presence!!! You are greatly missed & always remembered!!!"
Jacqueline Geddings | North Little Rock, AR |

"My deepest sympathy to Dr Padberg's family. I have many fond memories of him as my boss at the ACS. I can still hear his laughter when he came down to visit his Credentials staff on the 24th floor. His laughter was contagious and made you laugh, too.
I remember that his staff had the pleasure of dancing with him at the ACS Christmas parties - he was a good dancer. Most of all, he was a great boss, wonderful person and he will be missed.

Rest in peace.

Irene Kulyk | Schaumburg, IL |

"I worked with Dr. Padberg while he was the Director of the Fellowship Department of the American College of Surgeons. He shared stories of his time in Little Rock and Chicago. He liked the history of the College valued its traditions. I was fortunate to be able to continue seeing him and Mrs. Padberg both professionally and socially. My thoughts are with Helen, Frank, Kristen and their families. "
Mark Peterson | Chicago, IL |

"I have been Dr Padberg's handyman and friend for over a decade now. After learning that he was a neurosurgeon soon after our first meeting, I realized Dr Frank had a great sense of humor. So I said to him, "Dr Frank, the whole world has been waiting for the question that I am about to ask you. Please tell us ...if you have a woman's brain in your left hand and a man's brain in your right hand....Please, please, please tell us the difference." He smiled, laughed and said, "That's simple James (he always called me James...I'm Jimmy to everybody else) the difference is, the woman's brain is in the left hand"....I'll miss him, he was a great man....he was a GOOD MAN!

Jimmy Tallant | Little Rock, AR |

"Condolences to the Padberg family. We celebrate Dr Padberg Sr's life from afar in NJ. Dr Padberg Sr led a successful and accomplished life that many of us would aspire to. He'd be proud of his daughter's and son's accomplishments. He'd be proud that his leadership in healtcare will be carried on by his son Dr Frank Padberg Jr and his grandson Tom. "
Robert Eng MD & Connie Eng | Randolph, NJ |

"Frank,Sharon and family :We are truely sorry for your loss and offer our thoughts and prayers. Your Dad certainly led a very full and successful life."
Dennis and Kristin Quinlan | South Orange ,NJ |

"We wish to extend our deepest condolences and sympathies to the Padberg family. Dr. Padberg, Sr. was certainly one of those who have made our world a better place to live in. He did so much for his patients and for medical education."
Sith Malinee and Paul Sastrasinh | Bernardsvile, NJ |

"Frank (jr),
I am very sorry to hear about your Father. You have our condolences. Your father was an accomplished and special man and physician - now I understand where you got it from.


Mike Yudd | East Orange, NJ |

I am so sorry to hear of your father's passing. I know how hard it is to lose one's father. Please accept my heartfelt sympathies to you and your family.
Sincerely, Joe Costabile"

Joe Costabile | Marlton , NJ |

"My Dear Helen...I'm sending you my deepest sympathy at this difficult time. I know that your husband was a brilliant, kind, and devoted gentleman. I hope you see you again in Chicago. I hope you are well and have the strength to go on. Sincerely,
Paul Malarik"

Col Paul A. Malarik III | Hammond, IN |

"On behalf of the Buckingham DBE we extend deepest sympathy and condolences to Helen and her family at this difficult time. May you find comfort in the happy memories of the life you shared."
Trudy Wallace | Chicago, IL |

"Dear Helen and Family:

Please know that you have my heartfelt sympathy at this difficult time.

Frank's cheery smile and hearty laugh will be missed.

My parents, Helen and Stan Sowa, went to many social engagements with Frank and Helen and I have fond memories of vising their lovely home in Little Rock and being guests at their country club.

Sending you my love and prayers,

Meg Nagel

Meg Nagel | Chicago, IL |

"Please accept our condolences on the loss of your beloved husband, What a productive life well lived.
From the ladles of Dorothy Vernon, Chapter DBE in Illinois."

Janet Murphy | Chicago , IL |

"Frank, Sharon and family,
Losing one's Dad, no matter at what age, reorients one's universe. Your Dad left some illustrious footsteps to follow which you have done well, indeed. He must have been very proud of you and your family. My sympathies to all."

Pat Gilhooly | Chatham, NJ |

"Please make the following correction in my previous condolence book submission. I was very tired at that time.

I was saddened to hear of Dr Padberg's passing. He was born during the great 1918 flu epidemic in my hometown of Canton (Population-650) in Northwestern Oklahoma. I remember my mother telling me that he was our paperboy in the early 30's before I was born.
I have in my possesion a photo of the Canton Municipal Band in 1928 when they were invited to play on the new radio station, KCRC, in Enid, Oklahoma, some 60 miles away. That was a big deal in those days of early radio, and Enid was 60 miles away. So it represented a significant challenge to travel those 120 miles on gravel and dirt roads in their Model T vin-
tage cars at the blazing speed of 35 mph---sometimes.
The 26 or so members of the band included my father,NCK Sr who played the trumpet and sang "The Rosary". 16 year old Louise Padberg played the clarinet and a 15 year old cousin, Elder Padberg, who lived with them, played the saxo-
phone. All three of those Padbergs became physicians. My Father sang "The Rosary", and Frank sang "Sonny Boy". Thus, Franks singing ability was recognized at an early age as documented by this photograph when he was 10 years old! . Some 45 years later in about 1974, I was inducted into the American College of Surgeons in Miami. At that time Frank was working for the ACS and was in charge of their Fellowship
program. He made a special effort to locate and greet me and my parents. We were all greatly impressed that he would remember us. At that meeting, instead of delivering "The Daily Oklahoman" newspaper to my parents, he delivered to me my American College of Surgeons Fellowship Certificate!
Some 30 years later I saw his name on a list of CHS alumni who planned to attend our highschools biennial reunion. I was prepared to deliver a somewhat eloquent speech outlining his career so that other Alums could appreciate just how prominent one of their fellow alums had become. Alas---he became ill and could not attend. I had so looked forward to our meeting again, but it was not to be.
Incidentally, I also have high school class photos of Louise (1929), Elder, 1930, and Frank(1935) as well as my class(1955). My class was the biggest---with 19 members, compared to 14 in his class and 12 in each of the other two Padbergs' classes."

N Curtis Kimball Jr. MD FACS | Sterling, CO |

"Dear Kristen,
I am so sorry that I was out of town when you lost your father and had the service. I remember sitting near them at their 70th wedding anniversary. I would have been at the service. Please know I am thinking of you and all of your family. What an accomplished and wonderful man he was.
Barbara Nowlin"

Barbara Nowlin | Little Rock, AR |

"Dr. Padberg was a highly accomplished cadet. We join with the family in mourning his passing.
The President, Staff and Faculty of
Wentworth Military Academy

Wentworth Military Academy | Lexington, MO |

"Dear Helen,

I am so sorry to hear the news of your husband.
I certainly remember him from various occasions
we attended at IWA functions in Chicago, but after reading all the condolences,think I now have some knowledge of this remarkable man.
My condolences to you Helen and your dear family.
Gloria (Nichele-Rosenthal) IWA "

Gloria Nichele-Rosenthal | Chicago, Illinois |

"Dear Helen and family
I was so sorry to hear of your husbands death,what a full life he led.I remember you very warmly from the days when I first arrived in Chicago over 2o years ago.There cannot be many people who have celebrated 71 years of marriage.There will be many memories to cherish which will help you through this difficult time.Love Gabrielle and Oliver Leigh-Wood"

Gabrielle Leigh-Wood | London |

"My condolences to the family. It was my pleasure to have been acquainted with Dr. and Mrs. Padberg through the American College of Surgeons Neurosurgery Advisory Council. We enjoyed several lovely dinner conversations together. He will be missed for his lifelong contributions to our profession and for his great sense of humor and personality. "
Dr. Shelly Timmons | Danville, PA |

"This is a great loss for surgery and also for the American College of Surgeons. Frank was a great icon and an inspiration to so many generations of surgeons. I will miss him personally for his cheerfulness and enthusiasm.
My deep sympathy to Helen, the perfect person to accompany Frank's long journey through life."

Kathryn D. Anderson MD. FACS. FRCS | Corona, CA |

"Dr. Padberg diagnosed me and treated me for lipomyelomengiocele when i was born in 1958 at Arkansas Childrens Hospital. Had he not recommended that they "watch me" and see how I did as I grew, I would have not survived. A surgery for this type of spina bifida back then would have surely been a catastrophe. I remember him very vaguely speaking to my Mom in the halls of that pediatric facility in 1963 and watching me as I walked, smiling as I proceeded to do so. Such a kind man:)

He was intelligent and correct in his diagnosis. Years later, Dr. Frederick Boop repaired my back at LeBonheur Childrens Hospital. The surgeon who saw me at Semmes Murphy Clinic, and who was over Dr. Boop, was also a resident under Dr. Padberg many years ago. Dr. Alex Stanford, a brilliant surgeon! He told me that he had decided to become a neurosurgeon because of Dr. Padberg's influence on his medical career. Dr. Stanford passed away of a malignancy a few years ago.

What an amazing turn of events.. life surely makes a full circle, and God truly has had His hand on me all these years.

God bless your family! Dr. Padberg will always be remembered with fondness to a little girl who grew up to survive and tell this story!

Donna J. Carter/Carley "

donna carley | russellville, AR |

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