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ASCP Past President Dr. Frank Vellios, Longest Serving Editor of AJCP, Passes Away

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

ASCP Past President Frank Vellios, MD, FASCP, an eminent surgical and gynecological pathologist, former Chairman of the Department of Pathology at Indiana University School of Medicine, and the longest-serving Editor-in-Chief of the American Journal of Clinical Pathology, passed away on Dec. 27, 2011, at the age of 89.

Dr. Vellios was an excellent diagnostician and an often-used consultant in gynecologic pathology. He had high standards and expected much of the people he trained. In return, he was an enthusiastic and giving teacher who was greatly appreciated by his many trainees.

His association with the American Society for Clinical Pathology was heartfelt and of long-standing. His 15-year tenure, from 1965 to 1980, was the longest as Editor-in-Chief of the American Journal of Clinical Pathology. Dr. Vellios began his association with the Journal as a member of the editorial board and an Assistant Editor from 1956 to 1964, at which time he became Associate Editor, a year before being named Editor-in-Chief.

He was a member of the ASCP Board of Directors from 1978 to 1984 and served as the Society’s President from 1982 to 1983. Dr. Vellios received the Distinguished Service Award from the ASCP Commission on Continuing Education in 1976, the Ward Burdick Award in 1985, and the Distinguished Pathology Education Award honoring H. P. Smith in 1995. He also served on the editorial boards of the American Journal of Surgical Pathology and the International Journal of Gynecological Pathology.

Dr. Vellios was an excellent diagnostician and an often-used consultant in gynecologic pathology. He had high standards and expected much of the people he trained. In return, he was an enthusiastic and giving teacher who was greatly appreciated by his many trainees. He was a frequently invited visiting professor at many institutions and a presenter of numerous professional workshops and seminars.

Along with James Reagan, MD, and William Christopherson, MD, FASCP, two other esteemed gynecologic pathologists, Dr. Vellios gave two-day workshops from the late 1960s to the mid-1970s for the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology. The success of those programs led to the establishment of a weeklong ASCP course on gynecologic pathology at the ASCP Educational Center in Chicago, with Robert E. Scully, MD, FASCP, and Fred Kraus, MD, FASCP, also joining the teaching group. That seminar came to be regarded as a classic; it lasted for several years and was eventually given at many other locations throughout the country.

In addition to his excellence as a teacher and diagnostician, Dr. Vellios was a true scholar. He made significant contributions to the peer-reviewed literature, publishing more than 70 scientific articles during his career. In addition to ASCP, Dr. Vellios was also a member of many scholastic, professional, and medical societies, including Phi Beta Kappa, Alpha Omega Alpha, the American Medical Association, the American Association of Pathologists, College of American Pathologists, United States & Canadian Academy of Pathology, International Academy of Pathology, American Society of Cytology (president 1974–1975), Arthur Purdy Stout Society of Surgical Pathologists (president 1973–1975), American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology (associate fellow), Society of Gynecologic Oncology (associate member), and the International Society of Gynecological Pathologists.

Dr. Vellios was born on Sept. 8, 1922, in St. Louis to George and Aspasia (maiden name of Sarafopoulos) Vellios. He was educated in St. Louis public schools and attended Washington University, St. Louis, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in 1943. He continued in the School of Medicine at Washington University and was granted his medical degree in 1946. Dr. Vellios completed his internship and served a residency in anatomic pathology at Barnes Hospital in St. Louis, finishing his training in 1948.

After a military tour of duty for two years, he returned to St. Louis and worked for one year as an instructor in pathology at Washington University School of Medicine. He then chose to pursue further training as a fellow in surgical pathology at Columbia University–Presbyterian Hospital, New York City, studying with the renowned Arthur Purdy Stout, MD.

Dr. Vellios served as a visiting professor at the Siriraj Hospital Medical School and the Chulalongkorn Hospital Medical School, Bankok, from 1951 to 1952. After returning to the United States, he joined the faculty at the Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis. Dr. Vellios moved steadily through the academic ranks there and became the departmental chairman in 1965. He served three years in that capacity and then moved to Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland.

Subsequently, Dr. Vellios held faculty positions at the University of Texas–Southwestern Medical School, Dallas; Oregon Health and Sciences University, Portland, Ore.; and Emory University, Atlanta. After many years in academics, he joined a community practice at St. Joseph’s Hospital, Atlanta, in 1984, and retired from that position in 1989.

Dr. Vellios married his spouse, Maria, in 1950; she was his ever-helpful partner for 61 years (which she states was “not long enough”). In retirement, Dr. Vellios enjoyed golfing, fishing, and woodworking. He died after a two-year battle with esophageal carcinoma.