• Dr. Russell C. Briggs
    January 30,2013
     

    Dr. Russell C. Briggs

    Dr. Russell C. Briggs

    PORTLAND, Maine — Dr. Russell Chamberlin Briggs passed away at home on Jan. 21, 2013.

    He was born on March 13, 1932, in Montpelier, Vt., the second son of Raymond Alonzo Briggs and Carolyn Chamberlin Briggs. He was a graduate of Burlington (Vt.) High School and Middlebury College, class of 1954. Russell earned the degree of Doctor of Medicine from the Albany Medical College of Union University in 1958.

    Following his internship at the Albany (N.Y.) Hospital, he completed his residency program in radiology at the University of Vermont hospitals. He served as radiologist at the U.S. Naval Submarine Base Hospital in Groton, Conn., from 1962-1964 and was discharged with the rank of lieutenant commander.

    The years 1964-1968 found him on the faculty of the University of Wisconsin Medical School as assistant professor and director of the Division of Nuclear Medicine in the Department of Radiology. It was during this time when radioactive isotopes were being introduced into medical practice that Russ produced some of the early clinical studies of bone scanning using the isotopes strontium-85, strontium-87m and fluorine-18. His paper documenting the spread of cancer to the bony skeleton, published in the journal Cancer in March 1967, drew international attention to the use of bone scanning in the planning of cancer treatment.

    Russ joined the staff of the Radiology Department of the Maine Medical Center in September 1968 and continued there until his retirement in September 1994. He served as director of the Division of Nuclear Medicine during this period and as chief of the Department of Radiology from 1987-1989. He held teaching appointments as associate clinical professor of radiology at the Tufts University Medical School and clinical professor of radiology at the University of Vermont College of Medicine.

    He was a fellow of the American College of Radiology and held memberships in the Association of University Radiologists, the Radiological Society of North America, the Society of Nuclear Medicine, the New England Roentgen Ray Society, the American Medical Association, the Maine Medical Association and the Cumberland County Medical Society. He was particularly active in the Society of Nuclear Medicine, serving on the Executive Committee from 1974-1976, and as a national vice president in 1975. He was president of the New England Chapter of the Society of Nuclear Medicine in 1972-73. He was a member of the Commission on Nuclear Medicine of the American College of Radiology from 1973-1981. Russ was a diplomate of both the American Board of Nuclear Medicine and the American Board of Radiology for whom he served as an examiner from 1975-1994.

    Russ authored 24 scientific papers and edited two publications for the American College of Radiology. He was a member of the editorial board of the journal Radiographics and served as a scientific referee for the Journal of Nuclear Medicine, the Journal of the American Medical Association and the journal Radiology. From 1994 to 2004, he was a member of the Radiologic Technology Board of Examiners for the state of Maine.

    While he was truly devoted to the clinical practice of radiology and nuclear medicine, Russ particularly enjoyed his time as teacher and mentor for the continuous stream of residents and medical students who passed through the training programs at the Maine Medical Center. His was an environment of bilateral exchange of information and ideas. The Russell C. Briggs Award for Teaching was established in the Department of Radiology at the time of his retirement.

    In 1961, Russ married his beloved wife, Barbara McKnight. Barbara lent constant support to his professional career. Together, they raised five children. Russ was particularly proud of his children and their many, varied accomplishments and activities. He often suggested that Barbara raised five only children. Russ always said that the happiest week of his life was spent with Barbara, their children and grandchildren in Vermont. To his children, Russ will be remembered as a supportive and wise father.

    Russ enjoyed a long and happy retirement. He coaxed his friends to take art courses at MECA, and from that experience, he produced a houseful of colored pencil drawings which he loved to give to family and friends. Many happy hours were spent with the senior golf group at Falmouth Country Club where he was a member from its inception. A remembrance of Russ would need to include his affection for his dogs, Polly I, Polly II and Bantey.

    Russ was preceded in death by his parents and his brothers, Raymond Jr. and John Martin Briggs.

    In addition to Barbara, he is survived by daughters Katherine B. Dowling (Christopher), of Freeport, and Elizabeth B. Christensen (Andrew), of Cumberland; sons Thomas C. (Karen M.), of Charlotte, N.C., John D. (James Robinson), of Tempe, Ariz., and William H. (Deng Bin), of Hoorn, the Netherlands; four grandchildren, Wyatt and Quinn Dowling and Emily and Sarah Christensen; several in-laws, nieces and nephews.

    Friends are invited to attend a memorial Mass at Sacred Heart/St. Dominic Catholic Church, Mellen Street, Portland, on Tuesday at 10 a.m. A reception will follow from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. in the University Events Room at the Glickman Library on the Portland campus of the University of Southern Maine.

    The family would like to thank the first responders of the Portland Police Department and Fire Department for their prompt, capable and kind response. Arrangements entrusted to Conroy-Tully Crawford Funeral Home, 172 State St., Portland. Online condolences may be left at www.ctcrawford.com.

    In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to The Russell and Barbara Briggs Endowment Fund, University of Maine Foundation, P.O. Box 9300, Portland, ME 04104.

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