Dr Anthony J. Bianco (1926 to 2016)
Tony Bianco was born and raised in Duluth, Minnesota. He received his BS and MD (1948) degrees from the University of Minnesota and interned at Duluth’s St Mary’s Hospital. In 1949 he was called to active duty in the US Navy with the rank of lieutenant. Demobilized in late 1950, Dr Bianco returned to Duluth to join his father in family practice.
In 1952 Dr Bianco entered orthopaedic residency at Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota. His residency was interrupted when he was recalled to active duty during the Korean War. He served more than 2 years as medical officer on the U.S.S. Banfield, an attack transport. After discharge, Dr Bianco returned to complete his residency, receiving the degree of Master of Science in Orthopaedic Surgery in 1958, the same year he joined the Mayo orthopaedic staff.
In 1967 Dr Bianco petitioned the orthopaedic department to allow him to limit his practice solely to children, 4 years before there was a pediatric orthopaedic society. Thus he became one of the first in the nation to practice solely pediatric orthopaedics at a multispecialty academic institution. He was a founding member of the Scoliosis Research Society (1966) and of the Pediatric Orthopaedic Society (1971), hosting the first scientific meeting in Rochester in 1972, and serving as president in 1982.
Dr Bianco’s passion was patient care. He was a prolific and proficient surgeon, performing thousands of operations to alleviate spine curvature, congenitally dislocated hips, club feet, and other orthopaedic conditions of children and adolescents. His management of both patient and parents was impeccable and marked by compassion. He was something of a legend among nurses at Rochester’s St Mary’s Hospital for the respect and consideration he invariably showed them, even when a surgery or postoperative recovery did not go entirely as planned.
Highly respected by fellow Mayo Consultants, Dr Bianco was elected to 2 terms on Mayo’s highest councils: the Board of Governors and Board of Trustees (1975 to 1983), served as section head of Pediatric Orthopaedics (1967 to 1982) and chaired the Department of Orthopaedics for 6 years (1982 to 1988). He retired in 1991.
Dr Bianco was well-known for his lively good humor and voracious intellectual curiosity. He seemed to know something about everything and a lot about a lot of things. Many people sought his advice, for he was a man of solid judgment and great discretion.
For many years Dr and Mrs Bianco lived in the country, near Mayowood, where he bred Arabian and thoroughbred horses, and raised mastiff canines. He is survived by his wife, Joanne, 7 children, and 9 grandchildren. He was a gentleman of the old school, will be sorely missed—and fondly remembered—by all who knew him. Dr Tony Bianco died on January 3, 2016, at the age of 89.