Our colleague and friend, Hugh Alexander “Chip” McAllister, Jr., died on 15 June 2018 in Houston, at age 79. Chip McAllister was born in Washington, DC, and was raised in Lumberton, North Carolina. He received his undergraduate education at Davidson College, North Carolina, and his medical education (MD, 1966) at the University of North Carolina (UNC) in Chapel Hill. His distinguished United States Army career began with an internship at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. This was followed by training in pathology and cardiac pathology at Walter Reed General Hospital and the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology (AFIP), this last under the guidance of the esteemed Dr. William C. Manion. After Dr. Manion's untimely death, Dr. McAllister succeeded him, first as the Acting Chief, Division of Cardiovascular Pathology, and then as Chairman, Department of Cardiovascular Pathology. He served in the latter capacity from 1971 until he retired as a colonel in the Medical Corps in 1984. During his 22-year military career, Dr. McAllister also held academic appointments at the Uniformed University of the Health Sciences, Georgetown University School of Medicine, George Washington University School of Medicine, Johns Hopkins University Hospital, and the UNC School of Medicine.
Dr. McAllister was recruited to Houston in 1984 by the world-renowned cardiovascular surgeon, Dr. Denton A. Cooley, who had launched the Texas Heart Institute (THI) in 1962. Dr. McAllister joined THI as the founding chairman of the Department of Cardiovascular Pathology. In collaborating with the departments of Cardiovascular Surgery, Cardiovascular Anesthesiology, Cardiology, and Pediatric Cardiology, he became highly regarded for his expertise and willingness to share his knowledge, and his efforts greatly strengthened the research and educational structure of THI. He held concurrent appointments as Clinical Professor of Pathology at Baylor College of Medicine and at the University of Texas Medical School in Houston. In 1987, he was appointed Chief, Department of Pathology, St. Luke's Episcopal Hospital.
Dr. McAllister was internationally recognized as a cardiovascular pathologist. His publications spanned a broad range of cardiovascular conditions: valvular heart disease, myocarditis, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy and sudden death in young soldiers, cardiac tumors, coronary artery diseases of diverse causes, and vascular diseases arising from combat injuries. Availing himself of AFIP's vast organ and tissue repository, he and Dr. John J. Fenoglio published an extensive atlas, Tumors of the Cardiovascular System (1978).1,2 This recognized classic continues to influence compilations on cardiac tumors.
At THI, Dr. McAllister continued contributing to the pathology literature by publishing journal articles, monographs, and book chapters. He broadened his research interests even further, to the pathology of heart transplantation and rejection. His system for grading cardiac allograft rejection (1986) became the cornerstone of THI's clinical management of the transplant patient.3 The THI grading system, along with one developed at Stanford University, provided frameworks for orderly and reproducible evaluation of rejection. The THI cardiac-rejection scale became a model for the scale that was adopted by the International Society for Heart Transplantation in 1990 (revised in 2004).
Dr. McAllister collaborated in the writing and editing of 2 additional books: Aortitis: Clinical, Pathologic and Radiographic Aspects (1986),4 and Atlas of Valvular Heart Disease: Clinical and Pathologic Aspects (1998).5,6 He served on the editorial board of the Texas Heart Institute Journal for many years, and for some years on the editorial board of Circulation, for which he edited the Images in Cardiovascular Medicine section.
In 2000, Dr. McAllister retired from THI and St. Luke's Episcopal Hospital. His close friend and colleague Dr. Robert J. Hall, who was Chief of Cardiology at THI, wrote a glowing tribute (from which I am borrowing liberally) about Dr. McAllister's contributions to AFIP and THI.7 Subsequently, Dr. McAllister generously gave back to UNC, establishing the UNC McAllister Heart Institute. He also served as the president of the UNC Medical Alumni Association, on the executive committee of the Medical Foundation of North Carolina, and on the UNC Board of Visitors; he received the prestigious William Richardson Davie Award for these efforts. Chief among his other awards for contributing to cardiovascular pathology were the Distinguished Achievement Award from the Society for Cardiovascular Pathology and the Legion of Merit Award of the United States of America.
Dr. McAllister had a deep love of Southwestern art, and his extensive collection was donated to the Ackland Art Museum at UNC. He also loved nature and the outdoors: he served on the international board and co-chaired the Marine Leadership Council of the World Wildlife Fund. He was a major contributor to the Monterrey Bay Aquarium. He endowed The Spirit Waves Fountain on the campus of Davidson College in recognition of several generations of McAllisters who attended that institution.
I first met Dr. McAllister when I was a fellow at the National Institutes of Health, working for my mentors, Dr. William C. Roberts and Dr. Victor J. Ferrans. Dr. McAllister and Dr. Ferrans had an ongoing collaboration and many joint publications. Dr. McAllister allowed me to visit him at the AFIP to study his collection of congenital hearts, which was a superb learning experience. When I moved to Houston in 1989, he welcomed me warmly. I consulted with him and benefited from his tremendous knowledge of cardiovascular pathology and his insights into the complex environment of the Texas Medical Center. I was honored to succeed him as Chief of Cardiovascular Pathology Research at THI. I also had the pleasure of collaborating with Dr. McAllister and Dr. Ferrans on 5 chapters for the major textbook of cardiovascular medicine organized by our cardiologist colleague, Dr. James T. Willerson. The first edition of the textbook was published in 1995, the second in 2000, and the third in 2007.8 True to character, Dr. McAllister ensured our inclusion of Dr. Ferrans as a posthumous co-author in the 2007 edition,9 in recognition of the enduring nature of our relationship.
A true gentleman who will be missed by family, colleagues, and friends, Chip McAllister leaves a legacy of scholarship, professionalism, and philanthropic support of medicine, science, nature, and art.