The American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons is saddened to report the passing of Dr. Victor W. Fazio. Dr. Victor Fazio died Monday, July 6, after a long illness at the age of 75. Dr. Fazio was an ASCRS Past President (1995-1996) and former Diseases of the Colon and Rectum Editor-in-Chief. He was awarded the Premier Physician Award from the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation in 1992, inducted into the Cleveland Medical Hall of Fame in 2002, and received the Order of Australia in 2004.
Victor W. Fazio, MD
During his first message to the ASCRS membership he said, "Each of us can promote and defend the Society’s position as a leader and ‘spokesman’ for the study and treatment of colonic and rectal disease. And do so with spirit and conviction that we can provide a high quality of care that is unusual-giving satisfaction to patients and pause to our generalist colleagues."
Victor Warren Fazio, MD is survived by his faithful, supportive and loving wife Carolyn, his son Victor W. III, his daughter Jane K. (Jeffrey) Powell and his son David J. (Tami). He is the beloved grandfather of James and Halle Powell, Griffin, Hunter, Talon and Kisandra Fazio. A Mass of Christian burial will be held at 4:00 pm on Monday, July 13, 2015 at St. Dominic Catholic Church, 19000 Van Aken Blvd, Shaker Heights, OH.
Upon hearing of the death of Dr. Fazio, comments were received from the several members.
A Remembrance for Victor Warren Fazio from Drs. James Church and Ian Lavery:
Vic was born and raised in Sydney, Australia. He graduated in 1964 from the University of Sydney with a medical degree and entered surgical training at St Vincent’s Hospital. His burgeoning career was briefly set aside when he served a tour in Vietnam but in 1971 he left his native shores for Boston. Here, at the Lahey Clinic, he spent a year as a hepatobiliary fellow before making his career-defining move to Cleveland and a colorectal fellowship under Rupert Turnbull. The rest, as they say, is history.
Vic became Chairman of the Department of Colorectal Surgery at the age of 35 and over the subsequent 38 years he fostered the Department’s prominence already established by Drs. Turnbull and Weakley, building a unit that is second to none. Those who met him were instantly charmed by his personal charisma and magnetism. Those who worked with him were wowed by his vast clinical experience and expertise, his encyclopedic knowledge of all things colorectal, and an appetite for hard work that has seldom been equaled. He established an international reputation as a leader in his field, and throughout his career proved his dedication to the American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons and its Journal.
On a personal level one could not hope for a better or a more convivial mate than Vic. He had an uncanny ability to put strangers at ease and make them feel included. As a Chairman, his door was always open, his loyalty was always dependable, and his leadership was ever by example. As a surgeon he was technically peerless, bold when boldness was called for and cautious when caution was needed. His outcomes stand as testimony to his skill and his patients’ fondness for their surgeon is what we all hope to engender. He leaves a legacy of well-trained colorectal surgeons that is multiplying exponentially, extending the quantity and improving the quality of life of thousands of patients around the world. Many of us are part of that legacy. We should be so blessed in the footprint we leave on this earth.
A Remembrance for Victor Warren Fazio from Jeff Milsom, MD:
Analogies won’t suit any description of the life of Dr. Victor Fazio, or "Vic", which is what he asked friends and colleagues to call him.
His bright spirit landed on earth in Australia in 1940, but the USA, first Boston then Cleveland, happily absorbed his human and surgical talents in the early 1970’s. History will recall his rapid ascension in the surgical world. It wouldn’t have mattered which profession he entered (some friends said he would have been at least "Cardinal" in the Catholic Church), he would have succeeded in it.
About the analogies, sports or other stars in their field (about whose performances many make reference to) would have been well advised to come visit Dr. Fazio at the Cleveland Clinic during his stellar career there, if they wished to really understand how to succeed in their craft. They would have learned about supreme talent, it’s honing and interweaving with compassion, selflessness, and amazing and tireless devotion to a cause (in his case caring for his patients).
In all of this, he shared a life with Carolyn, his wonderful wife who he always said was "smarter than I am".
There were no peers in Vic’s bright and all-too-short trajectory on earth. Those of us fortunate to have spent time with him must now carry his mission forward!
View Dr. Victor Fazio’s Presidential Address or view the Masters in Colorectal Surgery Lectureship which honored Dr. Fazio: Reoperative Abdominal Surgery - Lessons of a Lifetime by James Church MBCHB, FRACS.