In Memory of Robert T. Soper, MD

Soper, Richard

Dr. Robert T. Soper, Professor Emeritus in the Department of Surgery, passed away on October 4, 2012, at the age of 87 following a brief illness.

Dr. Soper received his MD degree from the University of Iowa College of Medicine, and also completed his general surgery residency here. After a one year fellowship in England in pediatric surgery (a specialty which was just then emerging), he returned to Iowa City. He then spent his entire professional career here at Iowa, starting as an Instructor in 1958, and finally transitioning to Professor Emeritus in 1997. During those years, he served as the Director of the Pediatric Surgery Division, and also served 3 years as Interim Department Head. He served as president of the Iowa Academy of Surgeons and president of the Midwest Surgical Association, and was a founding member of the American Pediatric Surgical Association. He and his wife Hélène established the first endowed chair in the Department, the Robert and Hélène Soper Chair. Dr. Soper received the prestigious Ernest Theilen Clinical Teaching and Service Award from the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine in 1996 and the Distinguished Alumnus Award in 2006. He published widely, with over 200 scientific articles on a variety of pediatric and general surgery topics, edited seven textbooks, and gave nearly 100 presentations around the globe. He served on the Editorial Board of the Journal of Pediatric Surgery, and on numerous national committees, including serving on the Board of Governors for the American Pediatric Surgical Association. Most importantly, Dr. Soper educated and influenced decades of surgical trainees and colleagues. In this way, his compassion and commitment to excellence continue to be passed on to new generations of surgeons across the country. Dr. Soper is survived by his wife Hélène and 6 children.