John Shillito, Jr.
John Shillito was born in Cincinnati, Ohio in 1922. He moved to Boston in 1929 and his schooling from there on was in that area. He was a freshman at Harvard College when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. Already in the Naval R.O.T.C., he continued college with that unit which was technically declared on active duty to keep its members from being drafted. During college, he did part-time work at the nearby Polaroid Corporation, which was involved in several defense contracts, and volunteered as a night orderly at the Massachusetts General Hospital.
Before college was finished, the R.O.T.C. unit was called up and Dr. Shillito was assigned to the new 2200-ton destroyer U.S.S. Brush DD 745, in early 1944. The next 2 years were spent with the carrier task forces in the Pacific where he served as a line officer in various divisions, finishing as communication officer. On return after the war, it was necessary to finish a few courses at Harvard during which time he worked with a classmate in a photography business and became interested in medicine. After adding a few premedical courses, he was able to enter Harvard Medical School in 1948 and graduated with the class of 1952. Internship was in surgery at the Peter Bent Brigham Hospital. During almost 3 years of general surgery, there were two rotations through neurosurgery not only the Brigham but also at the Children's Hospital. Experiences on that service, then under the direction of Drs. Franc Ingraham and Donald Matson, led to the change to neurosurgery in 1955.
Dr. Shillito met Bunny Hubbard who was then a secretary for cardiac surgeon Dwight Harken at the Brigham Hospital, and they were married in February 1957, during the chief residency year. That July, Dr. Shillito began 1 year in Memphis, Tennessee where he gained a wealth of adult patient experience, particularly in trauma and carotid endarterectomies under Francis Murphey at the John Gaston Hospital. In July 1958, John returned to Boston to join Drs. Ingraham and Matson on the neurosurgical attending staff at the Children's and Brigham Hospitals, where he has remained to this time.
After a stint on the Executive Committee of the Congress, and as editor of Clinical Neurosurgery, he became president in 1968. Norman Dott was the delightful guest of honor that year and the meeting was held in Toronto. During that year, the Congress sought and was granted representation on the Board of Governors of the American College of Surgeons. Dr. Shillito was elected to serve as that first representative and served for 3 years. He has also served on the American Board of Neurological Surgery from 1972 to 1977, was vice president of the Neurosurgical Society of America from 1971 to 1972, and later was president of the Society of Neurological Surgeons from 1982 to 1983. He served on the Board of Directors of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons from 1970 to 1973.
In 1981 Dr. Shillito published, with the help of Harvey Cushing's former artist, Mildred Codding, the Atlas of Pediatric Neurosurgical Operations which had been conceived of and begun by Dr. Donald Matson prior to his untimely death in 1969.
Dr. Shillito's practice has always been both pediatric and adult neurosurgery. At this writing, he is still working at least 80 hours per week!