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Monday, May 2, 2016

Brigadier General Philip Augustus Deffer (Retired)

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Dec. 18, 1921 - Oct. 26, 2006

SAN?ANTONIO, Texas -- Brigadier General Philip A. Deffer, San Antonio, Texas, died Oct. 26, 2006, at his home. 

Born Dec. 18, 1921, in Indianola to Frank W. Deffer and Hazel Phillips. He attended public school in Indianola, McCook Junior College and the University of Nebraska, receiving his MD in 1945, from the University of Nebraska College of Medicine.

He entered the US Army, as a Private from 1943-1945, during medical school, and after his internship at Staten Island Hospital in New York he was assigned as the regimental surgeon to the 187th Glider Infantry Regiment, 11th Airborne Division (Rakkasans). 

This started his long and remarkable military career.  In 1949, he resigned from the Army to take up medical practice in Cambridge.  With the advent of the Korean War he rejoined in 1950, and continued to serve the United States of America until his retirement in 1979.  He attained the rank of Brigadier General in 1974.   His significant assignments included Chief of Orthopedics at Brooke Army Medical Center, Commander Valley Forge General Hospital and culminating his career as Commanding General at Fitzsimons Army Medical Center.

His medical career brought him into the field of Orthopedics after completing his residency at Letterman General Hospital.  His contributions to the field of Orthopedics are lengthy, including the care of the amputee, the treatment of tibia fractures and the importance of rehabilitation. 

He was a champion of the soldier, from Korea to Vietnam to the amputee service at the VA.  After his service to the U.S. Army he joined the staff at the University of Texas Health Sciences Center Department of Orthopedics at San Antonio.  His dedication to Orthopedics did not end until his official retirement at the age of 80. 

He was an intensely private man.  His strong leadership style, scholarly attributes and acute clinical acumen made him a model of command and a brilliant surgeon but he retained a compassion for the worker.  He noticed everyone, from the Private on the street to the doorman to the ladies running the cafeteria.  It was not unusual to find him sharing a story with the men in the boiler room before a Command staff meeting.  His compassion and caring touched us all and he will be sorely missed.

He is preceded in death by his parents, Frank W. Deffer and Hazel Phillips, his brother Franklin, his sisters Carole Kjoller, Betty Krous, and Catherine Ryan. 

He is survived by his wife of 55 years, Elda Gabeline Deffer.  They were blessed with five children, all surviving, Melinda Ellen Deffer, Franklin William Deffer, Timothy Andrew Deffer, Philip Augustus Deffer, Jr., and Francesca Deffer Case.  He was blessed with eight grandchildren and one great grandchild.

A graveside service will be at the National Cemetery at Fort Sam Houston with full military honors on Friday. Please visit www.mem.com for an online memorial and tributes. 

In lieu of flowers please contribute in his name to: Philip A. Deffer, Sr. Endowed Lectureship in Orthopedics Department of Orthopedics (checks to Department of Orthopedics) UTHSCSA 7703 Floyd Curl Drive MC 7774, San Antonio, Texas 78229.

Godspeed Dad - See you around the campus.