In Memoriam: Ronald L, Numbers, Sandra L. Osborn, Lincoln F. Ramirez

October 23, 2023
VOL 25 NO 3

Ronald L. Numbers, PhD

Ronald L. Numbers
Ronald L. Numbers, PhD

A world-renowned scholar, Ronald L. Numbers, PhD, died on July 24, 2023, at age 81, in Madison, Wisconsin. A professor emeritus in the Department of Medical History and Bioethics at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health (SMPH) and an affiliate faculty member in the Department of History in the UW College of Letters and Science, he was regarded as a thoughtful and cheerful colleague.

Numbers’ work focused on the historical and sociological relationships between science and religion. He wrote six books and contributed to or edited nearly 40. His upbringing and early career in the Seventh-day Adventist Church influenced much of his work.

Numbers earned a doctorate in the history of science from University of California, Berkeley. In 1974, he joined UW–Madison, his academic home since then. He served as chair of the SMPH Department of the History of Medicine, established in 1950 as the second of its kind in the nation. An SMPH program focused on medical ethics was founded in 1973 and is the oldest of its kind within a medical school. In 2002, the department changed its name to the Department of Medical History and Bioethics to incorporate both fields, and Numbers served a second time as chair.

At UW–Madison, Numbers was named the William Coleman Professor of the History of Science and Medicine, and the Hilldale Professor of the History of Science and Medicine. He served as president of national organizations and received a Guggenheim Fellowship, among other honors.

“We lost a dear friend and colleague. Ron Numbers was a kind, enthusiastic mentor to students and faculty members. His legacy for the history of medicine and science is unparalleled,” shares Richard Keller, PhD, chair, Department of Medical History and Bioethics.

Sandra L. Osborn, MD ’70

Sandra L. Osborn
Sandra L. Osborn, MD ’70

A Badger at heart and an enthusiastic supporter of the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health (SMPH) and Wisconsin Medical Alumni Association (WMAA), Sandra L. Osborn, MD ’70, passed away on August 1, 2023, in Madison, Wisconsin. She was 86 years old.

Born in Davenport, Iowa, Osborn earned a mathematics master’s degree at UW–Madison before pursuing her childhood dream of earning her medical degree from the UW School of Medicine and Public Health. She completed two years of a pediatric residency at University of Iowa and the final year at UW Hospital and Clinics (now UW Health) in Madison. She practiced pediatrics at East Madison Clinic, which merged with Dean Clinic; she continued practicing there and at St. Mary’s Hospital until she retired in 2002.

Osborn served as president of the WMAA Board of Directors from 2006 to 2008, and she devoted years of service on the WMAA Advisory Council and the Quarterly Editorial Board. In 2011, she received the WMAA Service Award. She also served as vice president, president, and emeritus president of the Wisconsin Medical Society.

“Dr. Osborn was a dedicated alumna who continuously sought opportunities to serve her alma mater. She will be long remembered for her contributions to the WMAA, the school, and generations of students,” reflects WMAA Executive Director Sarah B. Rothschild.

Known for her ready smile, Osborn also was highly regarded by colleagues and patients.

“Besides being an excellent physician and medical leader, Sandra enjoyed the arts, especially music. I will always be thankful for her introducing me to the Lyric Opera in Chicago, and we made many trips because neither of our spouses liked opera,” says Paul A. Wertsch, MD ’70; he and Osborn were MD Class of 1970 co-representatives.

Osborn asked that memorials be directed to the WMAA Stethoscope Program made payable to “UW Foundation” with a note to direct the gift as a tribute to the WMAA Stethoscope Fund #112587891. Mail checks to UW Foundation, U.S. Bank Lockbox Box 78807, Milwaukee, WI, 53278-0807. Gifts also can be made online at

Lincoln F. Ramirez, MD, PhD

Lincoln F. Ramirez, MD, PhDKnown as a student of the world, Lincoln F. Ramirez, MD, PhD, passed away on August 7, 2023, in Madison, Wisconsin. He was 84 years old and was an emeritus professor in the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health (SMPH) Department of Neurological Surgery.

Ramirez earned his medical and doctoral degrees at University of Illinois Medical School, where he met his wife of 50 years, Carolyn L. Bell, MD, now an SMPH professor emerita. They moved to Boston and completed their residency training before relocating to Madison, where they lived since 1979.

Ramirez joined the SMPH Department of Neurological Surgery and made many contributions there and at UW Health. He was considered an outstanding teacher and mentor for medical students and residents. For many years, Ramirez oversaw the successful Neurological Surgery Residency Program. He also conducted research in epilepsy and movement disorders. In 2018, the Lincoln F. Ramirez Neurosurgery Operative Skills Laboratory was dedicated in his honor to ensure continued anatomic education for future neuroscientists.

Ramirez had passions for opera, the art of lawn care, downhill skiing, bird watching, and cooking, but his greatest love was that of his family. He took pride in sharing his passions with them and in their accomplishments.

“Dr. Ramirez’s work was an inspiration to all of us. He lived a life epitomized by his remarks at the opening of the Lincoln F. Ramirez Neurosurgery Operative Skills Laboratory, where he encouraged us to improve our patients’ outcomes, saying ‘the study of the brain is a privilege, and the practice of neurosurgery is an honor,’” recalls Robert J. Dempsey, MD, chair, Department of Neurological Surgery.

Ramirez’s family is directing donations to the Neurological Surgery Research and Education Fund #132582512. Checks can be made payable to “UW Foundation” with a note about that fund. Mail checks to UW Foundation, U.S. Bank Lockbox Box 78807, Milwaukee, WI 53278-0807. Gifts also can be made online at

In Memoriam

Greta H. Camel, MD ’49
May 26, 2023
Saint Louis, Missouri

Robert J. Samp, MD ’51
August 12, 2023
Middleton, Wisconsin

Harold G. Danford, MD ’52
June 20, 2023
Omaha, Nebraska

Ralph N. Olsen, MD ’54
July 9, 2023
West Bend, Wisconsin

Edward J. Pezanoski, MD ’54
July 30, 2023
Green Bay, Wisconsin

Orrin N. Arneson, MD ’56
May 22, 2023
Rice Lake, Wisconsin

Gordon L. McComb, MD ’58
September 11, 2021
Salem, Oregon

Jack M. Perlman, MD ’60
February 27, 2023
Louisville, Kentucky

Mark D. Biehl, MD ’62
May 17, 2023
Jackson, Wisconsin

Ronald E. Burmeister, MD ’62
July 20, 2023
Rockford, Illinois

Walter F. Piering, MD ’62
July 3, 2023
Waukesha, Wisconsin

George A. McAuley, MD ’63
May 25, 2023
Los Angeles, California

Frank M. Weinhold III, MD ’66
June 19, 2023
Stilwell, Kansas

Michael J. Padwick, MD ’67
June 6, 2023
St. George, Utah

Thomas F. Taylor, MD ’67
May 26, 2023
Oconomowoc, Wisconsin

Thomas N. Roberts, MD ‘68
March 10, 2023
La Crosse, Wisconsin

Lucy Salomon, MD ’68
May 21, 2023
San Francisco, California

John E. Yount, MD ’68
July 5, 2023
Portland, Oregon

Eric S. Jacobson, MD ’70
August 4, 2023
Lottsburg, Virginia

Sandra L. Osborn, MD ’70
August 1, 2023
Madison, Wisconsin

Former Faculty Members

Ronald L. Numbers, PhD
July 24, 2023
Madison, Wisconsin

Lincoln F. Ramirez, MD, PhD
August 7, 2023
Madison, Wisconsin