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  • Julian Wiener Lectureship in Urology

    At the inaugural Julian Wiener Lecture on Jan. 27, 2005, a biography of Dr. Julian Wiener was given by his son, Dr. John Wiener, then Chief of the Division of Urology at the University of Mississippi Medical Center.

    Wiener biography

    Julian Wiener
    Julian Wiener

    My great-grandfather Samson Wiener came to Mississippi from Germany around 1850 and married a woman that he met on the voyage across the Atlantic. He worked as a stationmaster for the Illinois Central Railroad and frequently moved between small towns in central Mississippi. His second son, my grandfather, William Wiener, was one of four Wiener sons (second from left) and the only one to stay in Mississippi his entire life. He was born in 1863 in West, MS, but later moved to Canton. He was involved in many businesses and eventually became a bank president.

    Another prominent family in Canton in the second half of the 19th century was the Loeb family who immigrated from the Alsace region of France. Jacob and Mary Loeb operated a general store on the famed square in Canton while rearing 10 children, five of whom were girls. Carrie (seated) lived her entire life in Canton.

    My grandparents, William Wiener and Carrie Loeb, married late in life, following the lead of his brother and her sister who had previously married. At the time of their marriage, William was over 50, and Carrie was pushing 40.

    The Wieners lived in a Victorian house on Peace Street down the street from the square in Canton. The Canton City Hall stands now on that site after the house was destroyed. William and Carrie had two sons born in this house, William Jr. “Bill” (1915)(right) and Julian (1917)(left). Bill and Julian were somewhat inseparable throughout their entire lives. They went to school together from kindergarten through medical school, they both settled in Jackson following residencies, and they practiced medicine in adjacent buildings. They shared hobbies of being gentlemen farmers in their native Madison County and hunted and fished together for seven decades. They both joined the fledging University of Mississippi Medical Center when it opened in 1955. They were really as close as two brothers could be.

    My father, Julian, attended public school in Canton and then went to Tulane University in New Orleans. After three years of undergraduate studies, he entered Tulane medical school two years behind his brother Bill. He had an active campus life in an undergraduate fraternity, medical school fraternity (of which he was president - top left photo), and the History of Medicine Society. He told me that nearly all medical students joined ROTC as the ominous clouds of war grew over Europe and Asia in the early 1940’s. He joined the Navy ROTC and, following graduation in 1942, he was allowed to complete a rotating internship at Charity Hospital in New Orleans prior to active duty as a general medical officer. He laughingly commented that what he didn’t know when he joined the Navy ROTC was that they put Navy doctors in the Marine Corps. He was involved in landings on multiple Pacific islands in the years 1943-45, armed with little more than a pistol and a doctor’s bag. The young Dr. Wiener safely returned stateside during the last week of World War II.

    Following the war, doctors left the military in droves and competed for scarce post-graduate training positions. Being single, my father was not quickly released from military duty and was stationed in New Orleans performing discharge physical exams. After his discharge, he secured a position as a resident in surgery at the Veteran’s Hospital in New Orleans. He eventually was able to win a spot in a urology training program with Dr. Edgar Burns at the Touro Infirmary in New Orleans. Seeking more distinguished training, he transferred to the urology program at the Post-Graduate Hospital in New York City. This program merged with the Bellevue Medical Center where he was under the tutelage of Dr. Meredith Campbell. This was during the time that Dr. Campbell was writing the first editions of his renowned textbooks Clinical Pediatric Urology and Campbell’s Urology. My father did not embark upon a career in academia, but he did have an interest in scholarly activities. My search of the medical literature revealed this case report written by him during his residency, although I never recall him alluding to any papers that he had written. The majority of his later publications were review articles in the state medical journal.

    Upon completion of his training in 1951, the young Dr. Wiener returned to Mississippi to practice urology in Jackson. He would become only the fifth board-certified urologist in the state. His first office was located on North State Street across from the old Baptist Hospital. That building, which still stands today, had offices above the Patterson-Bradford Pharmacy. The four young doctors who rented offices upstairs were early in their careers, and in their frequent free time, they would often assemble at the soda fountain in the pharmacy. One of the soda jerks, the son of the pharmacist Mr. Bradford, recalled the doctors giving him a hard time but was greatly influenced by the young medics, particularly Dr. Wiener. This teenager, Meredith Bradford, later attended medical school and completed a urology residency at University of Mississippi Medical Center and now serves as a member of our faculty in the Division of Urology.

    My father met my mother Kathryn Loeb in New York, although she too hailed from the Deep South. They married in 1952 in Montgomery, AL – a marriage that would span 50 years until his death in 2002. They reared four children in Jackson, and they would eventually have seven grandchildren. My father greatly enjoyed his children and grandchildren because he simply was a kid at heart all of his life.

    In 1955, the University of Mississippi opened its medical school in Jackson, and my father and his brother were original members of the faculty. As one of four urologists in Jackson, my father was intimately involved in urology at the new medical school because there was no full-time urology faculty until 1965. To enable him to spend more time at the medical school, he moved his office across the street from the medical school next to the stadium. His partner in that location was Dr. Cy Johnston, who is in attendance today at age 92.

    The urology residency program at the medical school began in 1957 with Dr. Joe Alvis being the first resident. Dr. Alvis conducted research on ureteral regeneration in dogs with my father and presented this paper at the American College of Surgeon (ACS) in 1957. Dr. William Turner, the current chairman of the Department of Surgery, tells me that there were more papers from the University of Mississippi Medical Center at the ACS that year than any other medical center in the country - particularly amazing considering that it was only the second year of medical school’s existence. As the medical center developed a full time faculty in urology, my father focused more on his private practice. This photo was from his last day of practice at that same office across the street from the medical center - the culmination of 33 years of urologic practice. Dr. Charles Jackson (left) was his partner in 1984, and he is also here today. Dr. Doyle Morrison (right), fresh out of his urology residency at UMMC, is also in the photograph, and he continues to practice here in Jackson. An additional event in the life of my father that summer was the graduation of yours truly from college.

    Those of you who knew my father knew that he was an avid sportsman. He played college basketball as a freshman at Tulane. After moving to Jackson, he first focused on golf, but eventually found tennis to be a favorite avocation. He played socially and competitively up until his late '70s. He also loved to go up to his native Madison County and hunt quail. He is shown here (left) with his favorite quail dog, Rusty, and his brother Bill (right) by his side. He and Bill would regularly visit their Wiener cousins in Louisiana to duck hunt as well.

    My father was a selfless man, and he remained a loyal citizen of his community throughout his life. He took leadership roles with Boy Scouts, Temple Beth Israel, Henry S. Jacbos Camp, and Mississippi Opera and had his hands in many other civic organizations as well. He and his wife Kathryn were committed to the betterment of the community and were involved in various philanthropic activities.

    Again, all through his life he was very close to his brother Bill. Bill died in December 2001, and three weeks to the day later, my father passed away. This being a Thursday afternoon in January (his regular afternoon off), I think that he and Bill are continuing their lifelong tradition, and they are probably looking for the next rise of a covey of quail somewhere up in the great beyond.

    In the codicil to his will handwritten in 1991, he bequeathed money to a variety of educational entities. He established an internship program for premedical students at Millsaps College to conduct scholarly research and a similar internship at the Center for the Study of Southern Culture at the University of Mississippi in Oxford. He also specifically left money to establish a lectureship in urology here at the University of Mississippi Medical Center. I was a first year urology resident at Duke University Medical Center at the time the codicil was written, so I can take no credit for this gesture.

    It is with great honor that I inaugurate the Julian Wiener Lectureship. I wish to thank the many people in this room for their generosity in contributing to the endowment of the Julian Wiener Lectureship. His former partners, urologists throughout the state, his large extended family and his many friends have all contributed.