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‘Surgeon’s surgeon’ leaves a legacy of innovation, integrity

Friday, January 29, 2021

Sigurd B. Gundersen, Jr., MD


Gundersen Health System is mourning the passing of a long-time physician and organization leader. Sigurd B. Gundersen, Jr., MD, passed away the morning of Jan. 27 at the age of 96.

Dr. Gundersen was the grandson of our founder Dr. Adolf Gundersen, son of Dr. Sigurd B. Gundersen, Sr., brother of Dr. Adolf L. Gundersen, and father of Dr. Sigurd Gundersen III.

After graduating from Harvard Medical School, Dr. Gundersen completed his surgical residency at Massachusetts General. He then joined the Gundersen Clinic in the 1950s to continue the Clinic's tradition of medical excellence and its legacy of care close to home.

He and Dr. Adolf L. Gundersen brought to the clinic what were at the time new operations, such as aortic aneurysm surgery, vascular bypass, and surgery of the pancreas, thyroid and parathyroid.

Dr. Sig is remembered as "a surgeon's surgeon," who approached his life's work with humility, integrity, a passion for educating the future generations, and superior surgical ability in a huge variety of areas that are now considered to be sub-specialty surgery.

Dr. Sig served as president of the Gundersen Clinic from 1979 until his retirement in 1990. His great joys were his family, his medical and surgical colleagues, adventures with the Wisconsin Surgical Travel Club, and time spent near or on the river.

Our condolences go out to the Gundersen family for the passing of someone so vital to our organization's history.



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La Crosse, WI 54601

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