Robert D. Brickman, MD, JD

Robert David Brickman, age 80, retired cardiac surgeon and attorney, died at his home in Charlottesville, Va., on Sunday, Nov. 19. He was born on April 6, 1937, in Cleveland, Ohio. Bob Brickman led an extraordinary life rich in professional accomplishments, a commitment to community service, a bold spirit of adventure, a love of cooking and sailing, and a deep devotion to his family and friends.

He was a graduate of Choate Rosemary Hall (1955), Princeton University (1959), The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine (MD, 1963), and Washington and Lee University School of Law (JD, 1989). He completed his Residency in General, Thoracic and Cardiac Surgery at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine in 1969, and remained on the faculty until moving to Norfolk, Va., in 1972, where he joined his colleague, Crile Crisler, MD, to establish a private thoracic and cardiovascular surgery practice. In 1985, Dr. Brickman left the practice of cardiac surgery to enter law school at W&L University. He practiced law for two years with Knight, Dudley, Dezern and Clarke. In 1991, he joined Sentara Hospitals -Norfolk as Vice President for Medical Affairs, and continued as Medical Director for Clinical Effectiveness with the Sentara Health System until his retirement in 1997.

After living aboard their boat in the Caribbean for three years, Bob and his wife moved to Crested Butte, Colo., in 2000, where he was active in the community and served on the Board of Gunnison Valley Hospital from 2005–2013, and as Chair of the Board from 2008-2013. The Brickmans returned to live in Virginia in the fall of 2013.

He is survived by his wife of 35 years, Susan McKenzie Brickman; his brother, Paul Brickman, DDS, of Virginia Beach, Va.; his former wife, Pauline Campbell Brickman of Richmond, Va., the mother of their five children — Catherine Lloyd of Oakland, Calif. , Marguerite Brickman of Athens, Ga., Susan Greer of Richmond, Va., William Brickman of Boston, Mass., and Barbara Brickman of Tuscaloosa, Ala.; eight grandchildren; nine nephews and a niece.

In August of this year, he held an “aWake” … a joyous celebration of his life, as an opportunity to say goodbye to his family and friends. No additional service will be held. Fighting until the end, Bob was inspired by the message of NC State basketball coach, Jim Valvano, then dying of cancer: “Don’t give up … don't ever give up!” Memorial contributions may be made in his honor to the V Foundation for Cancer Research (, 14600 Weston Parkway, Cary, NC 27513.

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