Remembering Ray D. Gaines, M.D.: August 2, 1932 – October 29, 2010

Dr. Ray Gaines

Antonio Luis Betanzos
SNMA Immediate Past President, 2010-2011
M.D. Candidate, Class of 2012
Creighton University School of Medicine

When we lose someone important to us, even the space left by their absence is enough to remind us of the loss.  This has been my experience of our loss of Dr. Ray D. Gaines, distinguished surgeon and medical educator in Michigan and Nebraska for forty-six years and long-time advisor to the Creighton University School of Medicine chapter of SNMA.    When he announced his retirement at the end of the 2009-2010 academic year, I offered to continue to call him and update him on our chapter’s accomplishments and endeavors as I had during my chapter presidency.  He always requested updates from the leaders of the chapter to keep him informed as to the next meeting, service project, or other event so that he could make his best attempt, despite a busy schedule, to either be present or at least offer advice.  With rare exceptions, Dr. Gaines was always present and actively involved.  Because my experience with him informed me that he maintained constant interest in our organization, I was not surprised by the smile on his face when I offered to continue updating him despite his retirement.

Dr. Gaines was a tireless advocate and mentor for medical students and surgical residents.  He considered this to be one of his top professional priorities along with the improvement of healthcare delivery and outcomes for patients with cancer, morbid obesity, hypertension, and traumatic injuries.  Dr. Gaines served as Chief of General Services Surgery at Douglas County and the Veterans Administration hospitals and was associated with the Veterans Administration and Creighton University Medical Center for thirty-seven years.  He was a Regional Medical Director in the Nebraska Trauma System and a member of the American College of Surgeons as well as numerous other professional organizations.  Dr. Gaines was named Professor Emeritus of Surgery at Creighton University and received the School of Medicine’s Distinguished Faculty Service Award and the Faculty Master Clinician Award.  Dr. Gaines was also involved in extensive community service including Presidency of Douglas Sarpy Division of the Nebraska Heart Association, Nebraska Division of the American Cancer Society, and member of the Central High School Alumni Association Board.

Dr. Gaines believed in the mission of SNMA and offered sincere and valuable mentorship to our leaders.  His impact on the organization will resonate for years to come, especially with the individuals who were so fortunate to learn from him.  We will remain forever grateful to Dr. Ray D. Gaines for his generous mentorship; his example persists as an inspiration to medical students, particularly those of us at the Creighton University School of Medicine chapter of SNMA.

Dr Ray Gaines is survived by his wife, Frances, and other members of his extended family. We will remember him fondly.

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