Frederick W. Crock, an echocardiologist teaching in the School of Medicine who died Aug. 16, 2019, is recalled by his supervisory colleague Jenifer E. Lee as “a consummate cardiologist and an outstanding educator.”
Lee, medicine faculty member and director of medical student education in the Division of Cardiology, remembered Crock as “Superman — that’s all I have to say. The bottom line is, Fred was perfect.”
Crock was one of the instructors of second-year courses for School of Medicine students focused on individual organs for 15 years. Students at all levels “really adored him,” Lee said. “He had a broad fund of knowledge,” and could communicate very complicated information in a very clear manner, she remembered.
Lee quoted a 2018 course evaluation for Crock that notes his “virtuosic mastery of his field and an infectious enthusiasm for both teaching and the subject matter,” calling him “an amazing professor.”
Crock won many teaching awards here. However, Lee said, “You would never know because Fred never talked about those things.” Cardiology trainees voted Crock outstanding teacher in 2005, 2010, and 2018, while medical students chose him for the same honor in 2010 and 2011 and medical residents in 2012. The school’s Alpha Omega Alpha Society awarded Crock its Charles Watson Teaching Award this year.
He also was part of a structural heart disease research team that Lee termed instrumental in introducing percutaneous catheter-based treatments for valvular heart disease at UPMC Presbyterian Hospital. As a substitute for traditional open-heart surgery, “that is really in the vanguard to what we are doing nowadays,” she said.
The pair worked together as non-invasive imaging cardiologists on staff at UPMC, and she remembered him being last in the office, helping to close up. “He was one of those guys who really loved what he did. … He was the kindest, most joyful person to work with.” Crock also volunteered as a lead cardiologist in the Birmingham Free Clinic on the South Side, which serves those without medical insurance, helping the organization to acquire specialty diagnostic equipment.
Crock was a fellow of the American College of Cardiology and the American Society of Echocardiography). He was born Feb. 7, 1952, in Greensburg and graduated from Indiana Area Senior High School in 1970 as president of his senior class. He received his bachelor of science degree from Pitt in 1974 and his MD from Temple University in 1978.
He trained in internal medicine at Mercy Hospital and was chosen as a chief resident. He then completed a cardiovascular fellowship under Pitt’s James Shaver before joining the teaching faculty at Mercy in 1984, when he also was appointed assistant clinical professor of medicine at Pitt. In 2004, he joined UPMC's Cardiovascular Institute and was promoted to assistant professor.
On May 14, 1983, he married Kathleen Nagy. He is survived by her as well as children Tyler, Kirsten and Marco, and siblings Mary Ann Crock, Kathleen Harrison (Mark) and Diane Daskivich (Bruce), as well as many in-laws, nieces and nephews.
Memorial donations are suggested to the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network and the Birmingham Free Clinic (University of Pittsburgh, Institutional Advancement, Records Management, Attn: Tina Beckett, 128 N. Craig St., Pittsburgh, PA 15260), with donations allocated to the Birmingham Free Clinic in memory of Dr. Frederick William Crock, MD, FACC, FASE.
— Marty Levine