Obituary: Goldring, emeritus professor, 81

Renowned neurosurgeon Sidney Goldring, M.D., professor emeritus and former head of neurological surgery at the School of Medicine and Barnes-Jewish Hospital, died Wednesday, Nov. 3, 2004, in St. Louis from complications of Alzheimer’s disease. He was 81.

“Sidney Goldring’s position at Washington University and in the field of neurological surgery is secured by the many grateful patients that he treated, the neurosurgeons he trained and the investigative work that he did,” said Robert L. Grubb, M.D., professor of neurosurgery. “The world, and neurosurgery, has lost an outstanding physician, mentor and scientist.”

Goldring’s most influential contributions were in the surgical treatment of epilepsy. Beginning in the 1970s, he developed a technique that allows the brain to be mapped while the patient is awake, enabling the procedure to be used with children.

“Dr. Goldring was one of the leading academics of his generation, and his legacy and accomplishments have been extremely important for enhancing basic neuroscience investigation and its application to human diseases,” said Ralph G. Dacey Jr., M.D., the Henry G. and Edith R. Schwartz Professor and chair of the Department of Neurological Surgery.

“He was one of a small number of neurosurgeons who defined the important role for surgery in the management of patients with epilepsy and helped revolutionize the treatment of epilepsy.”

Goldring earned his bachelor’s and medical degrees from Washington University in 1943 and 1947, and completed his clinical training at Jewish and Barnes hospitals.

He left St. Louis for two years to serve as professor and head of neurological surgery at the University of Pittsburgh. He rejoined Washington University in 1966.

In 1974, Goldring became head of neurological surgery and co-chair of the newly created Department of Neurology and Neurological Surgery. He also was appointed director of the McDonnell Center for Studies of Higher Brain Function in 1980.

Goldring also held national and international leadership positions, including serving as president of the American Academy of Neurological Surgery, the American Association of Neurological Surgeons, the Society of Neurological Surgeons and the St. Louis Society for Neurological Sciences. He was a lifetime member on the Board of Directors of the Grass Foundation.

He is survived by his wife, Lois; son, James; daughter, Kathryn Coryell; and four grandchildren, Matthew and Julie Coryell and Anne and Emily Goldring.

Goldring’s body will be donated to the Memory and Aging Project.

Memorial contributions may be sent to the project at 4488 Forest Park Ave., Suite 101, St. Louis, MO 63108.