Published March 8, 2010
Albert C. Rekate, MD, a retired cardiologist and UB faculty member who endowed several awards and chairs at the university, died February 6, 2010, in the Harris Hill Nursing Facility after a long illness. He was 93.
A 1940 graduate of the UB School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, Rekate completed his residency at E.J. Meyer Memorial Hospital—now Erie County Medical Center—and served as a captain in the U.S. Army Medical Corp from 1944-47.
He joined the UB medical school faculty in 1954. Among his numerous contributions, he established the Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, serving as acting chair from 1972-75, and also played a role in the creation of the School of Health Related Professions, now the School of Public Health and Health Professions, serving as acting dean of the school from 1965-66 and associate dean from 1966-74.
At the same time, he held variety of administrative posts at E.J. Meyer Hospital, among them associate director of medicine from 1957-63 and director of the Department of Rehabilitation medicine from 1964-69. As director of the hospital from 1970-73, he played a role in the hospital’s transition to the present-day Erie County Medical Center (ECMC).
Rekate retired from UB as a professor emeritus of medicine in 1986, but continued to be active in the school, serving as a member of the school’s Dean’s Advisory council and its emeritus faculty group.
Over the years, he had been a generous benefactor of the health sciences at UB, establishing the Albert and Elizabeth Rekate Chair in Cardiovascular Diseases and endowing the Glen E. Gresham M.D. Visiting Professorship in Rehabilitation Medicine, both in the School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences. He also endowed the Dean’s Award Fund in the School of Public Health and Health Professions and contributed seed money to develop an undergraduate core research curriculum in the school.
“Throughout my tenure as professor and chairman of rehabilitation medicine, Dr. Rekate was a trusted advisor who provided unwavering support and encouragement,” says Glen Gresham, MD, who was recruited to UB by Rekate in 1978 to serve as the first permanent chair of the Department of Rehabilitation. “He was a constant source of inspiration to me and all of my colleagues in the department,” he adds, “Because of his vision, we were able to establish a Spinal Cord Injury Center at ECMC, a Head Trauma Rehabilitation Program for the community and engage in extramurally funded research in Functional Assessment and other important areas with the resultant publication of several textbooks and innumerable articles in the medical literature.”
John Canty, MD ’79, Albert and Elizabeth Rekate Professor of Medicine at UB, states: “As a faculty member in the early years of cardiology at UB, Dr. Rekate was known for his enthusiasm and talent as a clinical educator. He was an influential role model, encouraging many students to enter this new and rapidly emerging subspecialty of medicine. Upon retiring, he remained keenly interested in the development of the division of cardiology. I found him to be a great source of encouragement and support; even as an emeritus professor, he had a strong and lasting commitment to academic medicine.”
Willard Boardman, MD ’44, was a close friend of Rekate’s for over 60 years and established an endowment to support the Rekate Chair in Cardiology. “In addition to being a friend and mentor, Dr. Rekate was a great teacher,” says Boardman, who first met Rekate as a third-year medical student at UB and continued to be guided by him as an intern and resident a the E. J. Meyer Hospital. “He did so much for the school and for those of us who were interested in cardiovascular disease and cardiology. He was an exceptionally kind and generous man and an inspiration to me throughout my career.”
Francis Klocke, MD ’60, professor of medicine emeritus (cardiology) in the Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University and chief of cardiology at UB from 1976 to 1991, first met Rekate when he was a medical student at UB. “We all recognized and admired him as one of our best clinical teachers,” recalls Klocke. “Indeed, his explanations of heart sounds and murmurs were one of the factors leading me to consider cardiology as a career.
“Dr. Rekate was a great friend and valued mentor throughout my 25 years on the UB faculty,” Klocke continues. “His personal contributions were pivotal to the development of many fruitful programs at both UB and ECMC. His always-positive and insightful approach to complex issues facilitated interactions that were synergistic rather than merely additive. His establishment of the Rekate Chair in Cardiovascular Diseases provided new and unique options for expanding cardiovascular research and recruiting talented young faculty.”
Rekate was active in numerous medical societies on a local, state and national level, serving as president of the Western New York Heart Association, the Medical Union, the Buffalo Academy of Medicine and UB’s Medical Alumni Society.
He received the Samuel P. Capen Award from the UB Alumni Association for notable and meritorious contributions to the university and its family in 1982 and the Dean’s Award from the School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences in 1983.
Rekate is survived by his wife, Linda Holt Rekate, of Williamsville, retired UB clinical assistant professor and director of the Speech, Language and Hearing Clinic. He was predeceased in 1985 by his wife, Elizabeth Foster Rekate.
Memorials may be made to the Albert and Elizabeth Rekate Chair in Cardiovascular Diseases in the School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, or to the School of Public Health and Health Professions, c/o the UB Foundation, P.O. Box 900, Buffalo, NY 14226-0900.