Dr. Sidney J. Blair, 94, a resident of Oak Park for 57 years, died peacefully, surrounded by loved ones, at Wellington Terrace in West Chester Pennsylvania on Nov. 24, 2018. Born on Dec. 15, 1923 in Chicago to the late Kate and Harry Blair, he attended Sullivan High School and graduated from Washington University in St. Louis.
An enlisted member of the U.S. Army during WWII and an officer in the U.S. Navy during the Korean Conflict, he served as the Chief Medical Officer aboard the USS Joseph P. Kennedy Jr. Destroyer Escort.
He received his M.D. from the Stritch School of Medicine, Loyola University, in 1948. He served his internship at Cook County Hospital and his residency at Hines VA Hospital and the Shriners Hospital in Chicago. He later did post-graduate study in hand surgery at the University of Iowa.
In 1986, he was appointed chairman of Loyola’s Department of Orthopaedic Surgery and Rehabilitation and the Dr. William M. Scholl Professorial Chair, holding those appointments until 1991. He continued to serve as professor of Orthopaedic Surgery and chief of the Hand Section, where he was recognized nationally as an expert in trauma, arthritis, peripheral nerve problems, congenital deformities of the hand and prevention of industrial hand injuries. He retired in 1994 and was appointed emeritus professor, based on a distinguished lifetime career of healing, teaching, mentoring and guiding.
Dr. Blair was a fellow of the American College of Surgeons, American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, American Society for Surgery of the Hand, and numerous other professional organizations. In 1995, the Sidney J. Blair M.D. Lecture in Hand Surgery was established by generous contributions of numerous Loyola faculty, alumni, staff, and friends of the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery and continues.
In the company of his wife LaMoyne, he traveled extensively throughout the world, where he lectured/consulted at medical facilities in countries such as Japan and Sweden. He never stopped educating himself, taking courses, traveling and reading, with a special interest in environmental issues in the Mideast. At the age of 90, he published a book, The Doctors Beck of Chicago, a biography of three brothers who made significant contributions to modern medicine in the late 1800s, early 1900s.
He was a longtime member of West Suburban Temple Har Zion in River Forest, the Oak Park-River Forest Rotary Club, the Off the Street Gang of OPRF and many other local organizations.
LaMoyne Blair, his wife of 65 years, predeceased him as did his brother, Marshall (Shirley) Blair. He is survived by his sons, Brian (Cathy) Blair and David (Marcia) Blair; his grandchildren, Shawn (Kristen) Blair, and Brandon, Eryn and Hannah Blair; and his great-grandchildren, Liam and Addison Blair.
Visitation will be held on Thursday, Dec. 13 from 3 p.m. until time of service, 7 p.m., at Drechsler, Brown & Williams Funeral Home, 203 S. Marion St., Oak Park. Interment will take place at noon on Friday, Dec. 14, at Floral Hill Cemetery, Hoopeston, Illinois.
Memorials are suggested to Neot Kedumin Park in Israel (www.n-k.org.il) or Compassus Living Foundation (www.compassuslivingfoundation.org/give/).