Former medical professor leaves legacy of caring, dedication

Erin Ghere

Dr. James Shandorf, a man who spent much of his life walking the halls of the University’s Medical School, died from heart failure Monday at the age of 90.
Shandorf learned the medicine of obstetrics and gynecology at the University, then later returned to teach the same lessons to other generations of physicians.
“He was a very dedicated, caring physician,” said Dr. Joseph Cella, who worked with Shandorf in private practice for 22 years.
Shandorf, who retired in 1980, was born in Northfield, Minn. He went to college in his hometown at Carleton College before attending the University’s Medical School, graduating in 1937.
He had fond memories of his days as a student at the University, said his son, Bob Shandorf of St. Paul.
“He was proud to be an alumnus and loved his teachers,” Bob said, adding that his father enjoyed attending football games in the Old Memorial Stadium.
From his childhood, Bob remembers driving around Minneapolis on fall weekends, listening to Gopher football games on the car radio with his father.
After leaving the Medical School, Shandorf did his residency at Hennepin General Hospital and did some post-graduate work at Cornell University Medical School in Ithaca, New York.
It was during those rotations that he was drawn to the OB/GYN field, Bob said.
Returning to the University in the 1960s, he taught medical students for nearly two decades.
The University honored Shandorf with the Leonard Lang Distinguished Teaching Award in the 1980s.
Cella worked with Shandorf from 1957 to 1979 at Obstetrics and Gynecology Inc. in downtown Minneapolis. The private practice rotated between three and six doctors throughout that time, Cella said.
Those were the baby-boom days, Cella said, and the half-dozen doctors were delivering 100 babies each month in the 1960s and early 1970s.
Shandorf did a lot to educate patients about the benefits of prenatal care, he added.
“He always put the best interests of his patients above anything else,” Cella said.
And in 22 years, Cella said he never saw Shandorf lose his temper.
Shandorf enjoyed delivering babies, Bob said, and loved helping women through their pregnancies.
Besides being a dedicated physician, Shandorf was very involved with his family and enjoyed golf, Cella added.
Services will be held at 10 a.m. today at the Basilica of St. Mary in Minneapolis.

Erin Ghere welcomes comments at [email protected] She can also be reached at (612) 627-4070 x3218.