Department of Urology

May 26, 2017

In Memoriam: Dr. Richard Grady

The Department of Urology is deeply saddened by the passing from brain cancer of beloved colleague Dr. Richard (Rich) Welker Grady last month. He will be remembered by many for his compassionate and skillful patient care, commitment to his work, and devotion to his family and friends, particularly his wife Laura Hart. He was 51.

After receiving his BS and MD degrees from the University of Michigan, where he was elected Phi Beta Kappa and Alpha Omega Alpha, and completing his Urology residency at the Cleveland Clinic, during which he spent a year as a Biotechnology Research Scholar at the National Institute of Health, Dr. Grady obtained Fellowship training in Pediatric Urology at the UW and Seattle Children’s Hospital. He was appointed to the department faculty and remained for his entire professional career, rising the rank of Professor in 2012.

Dr. Grady became an internationally renowned expert in the complex surgical care of children with bladder exstrophy, a congenital anomaly affecting the urinary, genital, musculoskeletal, and pelvic floor systems. His interactions in this field molded him into one of the foremost advocates for surgery to address healthcare disparities in the developing world. In this capacity he traveled the globe to train surgical leaders, on the ground, in underserved countries.

Taking on the most challenging cases, not waiting for the patients to come to him, Dr. Grady went out to the world to care for those without the resources or access to skills in the medical community around them. One of his substantial legacies will be the bladder exstrophy workshop and surgery program held annually in Ahmedabad, India. He carried out similar commitments in Palestine, Gaza Strip, Mozambique, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

As a researcher, Dr. Grady’s interests were protean, ranging from UTI in children to the environmental effects of plastic deriviates on genital development. His research on the latter was funded by a large NIH grant for which he was a Co-Investigator. Both his research and his teaching were recognized with numerous awards, including the Department of Urology Julian Ansell Teaching Award, which he received not once but twice during his time in the department.

In recent years, facing his own complex glioblastoma, he participated as the first human in a breakthrough immunotherapy trial. While hoping for a complete remission for himself, he advanced medical science and the possibility of achieving full remission for others [see related content below].

A man of ideals, conviction, and personal humility, his legacy will be cherished and preserved by all those who benefitted from his care, including patients, families, colleagues and trainees.


Dr. Richard Grady

Details for a forthcoming celebration of life will be shared as they are finalized. In lieu of flowers or a memorial gift, Dr. Grady would encourage all to “ride a bike, be kind to a stranger, take a swim in open water, read a comic book, listen to a favorite piece of music, sing with a child, breathe in fresh air after a spring rain, try something new, write a poem, dance with abandon, and always cherish each day.”

Related content and further reading: