Crawford OwenW. Crawford Owen, MD, is retired from the private practice of internal medicine and endocrinology. His positions have included Executive Staff Committee of Trinity Medical Center in Birmingham and Commander, U.S. Naval Hospital, San Diego. He received his MD degree from the University of Mississippi and completed internship, internal medicine residency and endocrinology fellowship at the Medical College of Alabama, which later became the School of Medicine at UAB.

DrJamesPittman PatchIn 1962, after graduating from the University of Mississippi School of Medicine, I came to UAB to become a medical intern. This would be the beginning of what now is a very long career in medicine. Two faculty members who led me along the way were Dr. James A. Pittman, Jr., who was chief of endocrinology, and Chief of Medicine Dr. Walter B. Frommeyer. Both were great doctors and very helpful to those of us just starting our training.

One evening, Dr. Pittman invited several of us to his house, including my wife. When we entered his foyer, we saw a harpsichord, which he asked Bette to play, but since neither of us knew how, he offered to play for us. Unfortunately, about that time, he was called away by somebody else at the party, and we were not going to ask again. At dawn the next morning, the phone rang; it was Dr. Pittman apologizing for letting us get away without his playing the harpsichord for us, and he asked if we could come over right then. We explained that we had two babies who had not gotten up yet and we would have to do it another time. He was very apologetic, but we never heard him play the harpsichord.

Dr. Crawford OwenDr. Crawford Owen with Chief Medical Residents Kirk Russ, Rebekah Weil and Josh StriplingMany years later, after Dr. Pittman’s stroke, a group of us – Bob Kreisberg, Alan Siegal, David Taunton and I – took him to lunch once a month, which was a most enjoyable time. We called ourselves “The Dean’s Group.” We continued to do this until about six weeks before he died, but he seemed to enjoy it up until that time, and we certainly did, though it was very sad to see our great friend – who had made so many contributions to the medical school – fade away into death.

Dr. Frommeyer was a great man, honest and fair with everyone and a friend to all residents. Like Dr. Pittman’s office, his office was always open to anyone who wanted to come by and have a word with him. He would meet with the Chief Resident every morning to thrash out any problems that had arisen overnight. If their solution required word from him, it was always forthcoming and the problem was always solved. Dr. Frommeyer entertained the housestaff every year around his pool in his backyard. The party would last for exactly two hours, and then Mrs. Frommeyer would walk around at the end of the party and ring a bell.

The finest honor I ever received was being appointed Chief Resident by Dr. Frommeyer, along with Dr. Bill Dodson, who was also from Gulfport. We both had a good year, and we have continued to practice together. Now that we are both retired, we are still good friends. Bill is now a member of the “dean’s lunch group,” which continues to meet once a month.

About Dr. Pittman

 A93 04 0599 Pittman

Born: April 12, 1927, Orlando, Fla.

B.S., Davidson College: 1948

M.D., Harvard Medical School: 1952

Internship, Massachusetts General Hospital: 1952-54

Clinical Associate, National Institutes of Health: 1954-56

Married Constance Shen, MD: February 19, 1955

Internal Medicine Resident, UAB, 1956; Chief Resident, 1957-58

Joined UAB faculty: 1959

Director, UAB Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes, and Metabolism: 1962-71

Dean of Medicine: 1973-92

Died January 12, 2014, Birmingham, Ala.