Charles Sumner Neer II 10 November 1917–28 February 2011
, , Page 517 (June 2011), Journal of Shoulder and Elbow Surgery
Charles Sumner Neer II (Fig. 1), son of pioneer Oklahoma Territory surgeon Charles S. Neer and Pearl Brooke Neer, was born and raised in Vinita, Oklahoma. A graduate of Dartmouth College and the University of Pennsylvania Medical School, his residency training years were interrupted by military service in World War II as an orthopaedic surgeon. He served in 3 theaters as a Captain in the Army. Following the war he returned to Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center in New York to complete his training and join the Orthopaedic Service of the Presbyterian Hospital and faculty of the College of Physicians & Surgeons of Columbia University. He eventually became Chief of both the Fracture Service and the Adult Reconstructive Service. It was a relationship that endured for 50 years. Until his passing, Dr. Neer continued as Emeritus Consultant in Orthopaedic Surgery and Emeritus Professor & Special Lecturer in Clinical Orthopaedic Surgery.
Throughout his brilliant career he was a highly-valued member of his profession receiving many honors both nationally and internationally, especially for his contributions in shoulder surgery and reconstruction. He served as a representative on the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery, a position for which he earned the Board’s Distinguished Service Award. Dr. Neer was Founding President of the American Shoulder & Elbow Surgeons, Founding Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Journal of Shoulder and Elbow Surgery, and founding Chairman of the International Board of Shoulder and Elbow Surgery.
Dr. Neer was a creative and innovative surgeon and developed surgical techniques and prostheses that advanced the art of shoulder surgery. A Neer prosthesis is on permanent display at the Smithsonian Institute. He was a prolific writer authoring many definitive articles on topics including displaced humeral fractures, subacromial impingement, multidirectional instability, and shoulder arthroplasty. His articles were characterized by thoughtful insight, attention to detail, and intellectual honesty. The British Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery recently searched the Orthopaedic literature from 1945 to 2008 for the top 100 quoted articles. Dr. Neer had 5 articles in the top 100 – more than anyone else, a remarkable achievement. In 1990, he published his classic textbook “Shoulder Reconstruction”.
Dr. Neer was also a committed educator and mentor. He created the first shoulder and elbow service and fellowship. He trained numerous fellows and welcomed visitors from around the world to his service. He trained and fostered many of the leaders of shoulder surgery in the world. He also lectured extensively throughout the world on many aspects of shoulder surgery. Dr. Neer will be remembered for his outstanding contributions that advanced the art and science of orthopaedics and shoulder surgery.