Frederick James Bonte obituary photo
 
In Memory of

Frederick James Bonte

January 18, 1922 - November 28, 2016

Obituary


Frederick James Bonte, MD

Frederick James Bonte, M.D., 94, beloved husband, father and grandfather, passed away of natural causes on November 28, 2016, surrounded by family at his Dallas home. Dr. Bonte was an internationally known pioneer in the fields of radiology and nuclear medicine. His career at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School, where he served as the first chair of the department of radiology (and its teaching facility, Parkland Memorial Hospital) from 1956-1973 and where he served as Dean from 1973 to 1980, spanned more than five decades. He is widely...

Frederick James Bonte, MD

Frederick James Bonte, M.D., 94, beloved husband, father and grandfather, passed away of natural causes on November 28, 2016, surrounded by family at his Dallas home. Dr. Bonte was an internationally known pioneer in the fields of radiology and nuclear medicine. His career at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School, where he served as the first chair of the department of radiology (and its teaching facility, Parkland Memorial Hospital) from 1956-1973 and where he served as Dean from 1973 to 1980, spanned more than five decades. He is widely credited with helping build the radiology and nuclear medicine departments at UTSW into among the finest in the world, and he will be remembered for his significant contributions in a far-reaching range of research, most notably in the area of single-photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) imaging of the brain. His use in the 1980s of (SPECT) to "see" whether a patient had suffered a stroke was groundbreaking; most recently he spearheaded pioneering research of brain blood flow patterns in Alzheimer's Disease patients. Dr. Bonte was born on January 18, 1922 in Bethlehem, Pa. to Frederick R. and Harriett (Staudt) Bonte, growing up in the Great Depression. He graduated in 1942 with a Bachelor of Science degree from Western Reserve (now Case Western) in Cleveland and three years later from the Western Reserve School of Medicine. He enlisted in the U.S. Army during World War II, and although he never intended to become a radiologist, was assigned to the radiology department at Percy Jones Hospital in Battle Creek, MI. Next he was assigned to the U.S. Army Air Corp.'s Lowry Air Force Base in Colorado, where, as captain, he was named chief of x-ray service. He returned to Western Reserve in 1948 on a fellowship program with the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission's Atomic Energy Research Project. Dr. Bonte was chief of radiation therapy and nuclear medicine at Western Reserve when in 1956, at just 34 years of age, he was recruited to serve as the first chair of the newly-formed radiology department at UTSW, as well as chief of radiology service at Children's Medical Center, the Veteran's Administration Hospital of Dallas and Presbyterian Hospital of Dallas - positions he held until 1973. He then was elected dean of the medical school by fellow department chairs, and remained in that role until 1980, when he returned to the clinic and laboratory, forming the school's Nuclear Medicine Center. He served as director until his retirement at 2012, at the age of 90, devoting more than 30 years to imaging the inner workings of the brain and heart in particular in ways never before done. Throughout his 56-year career at UTSW, he served, or helped found, too many local, regional, national and international committees and association to list. But among the most significant is the American Board of Nuclear Medicine, which he helped establish in 1977 and served as its first president until 1980; the American Board of Radiology, of which he served as a trustee from 1969-1975; the Los Alamos Meson Physics Facility Advisory Committee on Radioisotopes, of which he was a member from 1976-1978; and the American Medical Association's Section on Nuclear Medicine, of which he served as chairman between 1985-87 and again from 1989-1991. He also is a former president of the Dallas County Medical Society and a life member of the U.S. Congress' National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements. He was also the recipient of numerous awards, including the Gold Medal Award in 1986 from the Texas Radiological Society, the Max Cole Leadership Award from the Dallas County Medical Society, the De Hevesy Nuclear Medicine Pioneer Award in 1995 from the Society of Nuclear Medicine, the President's Award in 1997 from the American College of Nuclear Physicians, the Lifetime Award in 2008 from the American Board of Nuclear Medicine, and the Lifetime Award in 2010 from the American Board of Radiology. The library at Parkland Memorial Hospital was named for him in 1976, and in 1994 philanthropists Robert and Lola Sanford established the Dr. Fred Bonte Professorship in Radiology at UTSW. Dr. Bonte also had diverse personal interests and hobbies, among them was the American west, where he spent cherished vacation time in the 1970s camping with his loving wife, Cecile, and their six children - from Colorado to New Mexico to Utah to Wyoming. A northeastern by birth but a Texan at heart, he sported a cowboy hat while driving, camper in tow, teaching them about the magnificent landscapes, the region's rich mining history, steam-engine railroads and long-deserted ghost towns. Loved ones will remember fondly the beautiful, turquoise and silver Native American bolo ties he sported around his collar for special occasions. Saturday afternoons often were spent working in his private model train room, where he meticulously built replicas of trolley towns, paying attention to the smallest of details. He was a voracious reader and remarkable, witty storyteller, recalling events from decades ago until the last days of his life. Those stories often featured humorous footnotes, causing his blue eyes to light up and family and friends to chuckle. Upon his full retirement just 4 years ago, UTSW officials said in a reception program that they had "basked in his smile, laughed at his clever repartee, and shook our heads at the breadth of knowledge and depth of his inquiring mind." Dr. Bonte also enjoyed traveling the world with his wife, and often on those trips he would be invited to speak about his groundbreaking research to hospital groups or medical associations. With Cecile he was a loyal supporter of the Dallas Opera and the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden and without fanfare generously supported those organizations. He is survived by Cecile (Poetzel), and their six children: son, Frederick W. Bonte of Dallas; Therese Ann West, and husband, David, of West Chester, PA; Stephen James Belli, and wife Jane of Dallas; Suzanne Marie Horn, and husband, William, of Dallas; John Anthony Belli of Seattle, WA; and Anne Belli Perez, and husband, Isvaldo, of Dallas; and numerous grandchildren. A funeral mass will be held at 10 a.m. on December 16, 2016 at St. Monica Catholic Church, 9933 Midway Road, Dallas, followed by a reception in the family center. A private inurnment will he held at Calvary Hill Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, please send donations to the Southwestern Medical Foundation, the Dallas Opera or the Dallas Arboretum.