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Lives Lived

Larry Matthews, M.D.

Summer 2022
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Larry Sanford Matthews, M.D. (Residency 1970), professor emeritus of orthopaedic surgery, died November 27, 2021, at age 84.

Matthews graduated from Harvard College in 1955, and Francis Crick was the external reader of his undergraduate thesis. He received his M.D. from Harvard Medical School in 1963.

Matthews’ training was interrupted by the Vietnam War, when the doctor’s draft took him to An Khe, Vietnam, where he served at a base hospital for the First Cavalry Division.

In 1971, Matthews joined the faculty of the Department of Surgery. During his tenure there, in collaboration with David Sonstegard and Herbert Kaufer, he developed the spherocentric knee, a total knee replacement that was featured on the cover of Scientific American in 1978.

Matthews once estimated that he had performed more than 5,000 total hip and total knee replacements over the course of his career. He held numerous patents for orthopaedic devices and received many honors. He served as head of the section of orthopaedics from 1986-1995, and as the director of the Orthopaedic Surgery Residency Program from 1986 until his retirement in 2002.

Matthews enjoyed building and flying gas-powered model airplanes, an activity he shared with his sons. He also was an enthusiastic amateur birder and gardener. After retirement, he and his wife Rowena bought a house in Tucson, Arizona, where they participated in cactus rescues and volunteered in plant propagation at the local botanical garden.

This obituary is based on one published in the University Record.

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