Santa Monica, California - Dr. Ronald K. Tompkins, Professor Emeritus of Surgery at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, died on Aug. 17, 2021, in Santa Monica, California, at the age of 86. Ron will be sorely missed by family and friends who will always remember his kindness, compassion, integrity, and great sense of humor.
Ron was born in Malta, Ohio in 1934, the only child of Mildred and Kenneth Tompkins. Ron largely grew up in Oakdale, Ohio and graduated from Glouster High School.
Ron earned his Bachelor of Arts degree from the Ohio University in Athens, with the highest honors and honors in Chemistry. He earned his M.D. degree from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, Maryland, in 1960. In 1961, he entered the U.S. Air Force where he was a captain and served as a flight surgeon for three years. He then returned to Columbus, Ohio and completed his surgical residency at Ohio State University under Professor Robert Zollinger in 1969.
In November 1969, Ron moved with his family to Santa Monica, California, where he was appointed assistant professor of surgery at the UCLA School of Medicine. He later rose to professor of surgery in 1979. He served as chief of the division of general surgery as well as program director of the surgical residency. He also served as assistant dean for student affairs and associate dean for veterans' affairs at UCLA. He became Professor Emeritus of Surgery in 2001. At his retirement in June 2004, to recognize his legacy of teaching, the Golden Apple Teaching Award (for outstanding teaching by a surgical resident) was named in his honor.
Ron enjoyed membership in 44 surgical societies in the U.S. and abroad. He was awarded Honorary Membership in the French Surgical Society and the Japan Surgical Society. He received numerous awards, including an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Bordeaux (France). He authored or co-authored over 280 publications in scientific journals and textbooks. He retired as Editor-in-Chief of the World Journal of Surgery in June 2004, after 12 years of leadership.
Ron is survived by his beloved wife of 65 years, Suzanne Colbert Tompkins, and their 3 children, Gregory Alan Tompkins (of Ankeny, Iowa), Teresa Tompkins Read (of Lake Oswego, Oregon), and Geoffrey Stuart Tompkins (of Santa Rosa, California), as well as 6 grandchildren and one great-granddaughter, all of whom adored "Grandpa Ron."