John Yashar, MD, 91, died January 11 in Palm Beach Gardens, FL. A native of Iran, he received his medical degree at the University of Tehran and then traveled to the US in 1950, landing at Ellis Island with $50 in his pocket. He pursued his internship and residency at Bellevue Hospital in New York, and continued his studies at Beth Israel in Boston, where he was chief resident. He then trained in cardiovascular surgery at Case Western in Cleveland.
Dr. Yashar pioneered open-heart surgery in Rhode Island, becoming the first physician to successfully complete the procedure in the state; he also helped to found and develop the open-heart surgery program at The Miriam Hospital. He was in private practice with his brother, James Yashar, MD, and simultaneously worked and assumed leadership roles at numerous hospitals in the state. He was a clinical associate professor at Brown University Medical School, where he trained hundreds of physicians, and a member of the Society of Thoracic Surgery, the American College of Cardiology, the Rhode Island Medical Society, and other associations.
Widely known for his love of medicine and compassion for others, he developed deep connections with his patients and their families. His wife of 54 years, Audrey M. Yashar, predeceased him. His family was by his side as he battled Parkinson’s during the final year of his life. He is survived by his five children, eight grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren. Donations in Dr. Yashar’s memory may be made to the American Heart Association.