Richard L. DeSaussure
On September 24, 2008, while the Congress of Neurological Surgeons (CNS) held its 58th Annual meeting, the CNS and the world neurosurgical community lost one of its pillars, Richard L. DeSaussure, Jr. Dr. DeSaussure was one of the 22 Founding Members of the CNS in 1951, and its 12th President in 1962.
Born in Macon, Georgia in 1917, Dr. DeSaussure was raised in Washington, DC and graduated from the University of Virginia (AB 1939; MD 1942) before completing surgical internship at the same institution and joining the US Army. He served during the Second World War in England, France and Germany, was promoted to Major, and was awarded the Bronze Star. He then returned to Virginia where he completed a neurosurgical residency under Gayle Crutchfield. He married the lovely Phyllis Falk in 1948 in the Washington Cathedral and the DeSaussures went on to raise three children and three grandsons.
Dr. DeSaussure moved to Memphis in 1949 and joined R. Eustace Semmes and Frances Murphy’s practice in 1950, where he would remain associated for the remainder of a half century career. In May 1951, he passed the certification examination of the American Board of Neurological Surgery and soon joined another 21 Founding Members in establishing the new organization to be named the Congress of Neurological Surgeons. He was instrumental in the early emergence to prominence of the new society, and he presided at the 12th CNS meeting in Houston where Bronson Sands Ray was Honored Guest. Dr. DeSaussure would later become a Founding Member of Mid-South Foundation for Medical Care and the President of the Memphis Chapter of the English-Speaking Union. He also received the Distinguished Southern Neurosurgeon Award by the Southern Neurosurgical Society. Dr. DeSaussure was Emeritus Professor of Neurosurgery at the University of Tennessee when he retired from all medical activities in 1991.
On behalf of the living Founders of the CNS, its Past-Presidents and all the CNS Members, we mourn the passing of Dr. DeSaussure, and convey our condolences to his family and to the neurosurgical community at large.
Issam A. Awad, MD, Msc, FACS, MA (Hon)
Historian and Archivisit
51st Past President
Congress of Neurological Surgeons