AO North America

Professor Geoffrey Sumner-Smith

1928 -2016

Sadly our cherished AO colleague, Professor Geoffrey Sumner-Smith passed away at home on October 18, 2016. Thankfully Geoff had his wish, to live out his last days in his beloved Everton Cottage, located in a small village outside the city of Guelph, Ontario, Canada.

Professor Sumner-Smith was born in Lancashire, UK and was awarded his veterinary degree from the University of Liverpool. In 1967 he emigrated to Canada, to work at the Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph, where he remained until he retired as Emeritus Professor.

Beginning in 1970, he was a member of the faculty teaching at the AOVET courses held annually at the Ohio State University. He also frequently taught at other AOVET courses in Davos, Australia, New Zealand, United Kingdom, and Africa. Always keen to make new advances, he introduced AO philosophy and techniques for management of fractures in animals by veterinary surgeons at the Ontario Veterinary College. Geoff always insisted (with tongue in cheek) upon calling the "new" 3.5 and 2.7 DCP, the “dog and cat plates” just to aggravate the human surgeons who liked to use them on radial and ulnar fractures.

Geoff was a prominent figure in the AOVET group for more than four decades. He was the fourth president of AOVET from 1986 to 1988, after which he become a Senior Trustee of AO Foundation.

Through his research collaborations with medical colleagues in Toronto and then a three month fellowship in the AO Research Institute in Davos where he worked on in vivo loading of the tibia, Geoff become very good friends with Joseph Schatzker, Stephan Perren, Hans Willenegger, Robert Schenk, Ortrun Pohler, and Fritz Straumann. In those early days of the ‘old’ AO Research Institute in Davos, Geoff provided invaluable guidance on the humane and ethical treatment of animals used in orthopaedic research. Geoff’s firm conviction as to the value of comparative studies of humans and animals, inspired him to produce his textbook entitled “Bone in Clinical Orthopedics” published by AO Publishing in its second edition. In 1988, he was also the founding Editor-in-Chief of the journal “Veterinary and Comparative Orthopaedics and Traumatology”.

Geoff was motivated by his vision for the future of orthopaedics, and his influence within the AO and many other spheres was profound. His friendship, wisdom, advice and wry humour will be sadly missed by so many friends and colleagues. We extend our deepest sympathy to his family.

Kenneth A Johnson

AO North America, 1700 Russell Road, Paoli, PA 19301