1926 - 2015
Lester Rosaire Sauvage passed away peacefully on June 5, 2015. Lester was born in Wapato, Washington to Lester and Laura (Brouillard) Sauvage on November 15, 1926. He attended Gonzaga High School for Boys, Gonzaga University and St. Louis University Medical School. He received his Medical Doctor degree at the age of 21. In 1952 he was called into the Army Medical Corps as a Lieutenant during the Korean War after which he met Mary Ann Marti, the absolute love of his life. They married on June 9, 1956 and began their wonderful journey together. He subsequently finished his thoracic surgery training in Boston and embarked on his career as a cardiovascular surgeon and researcher in Seattle. In 1959, he founded the research laboratory that later became known as The Hope Heart Institute. His crucial and innovative work in the early 1960s paved the way for the cardiac bypass graft surgery that is used to save many lives every day.
At a critical juncture in his life, Lester chose medicine over the priesthood, but his deeply-held faith permeated everything he did.
As a surgeon, Lester had a reputation for care of the "whole person" as he was known for such things as feeding patients, washing their hair, and engaging in spiritual discourse with them. Lester aspired to live his life by the words in his favorite prayer, the Prayer of Saint Francis. He performed over 10,000 surgeries in his career and loved each and every one of his patients.
Lester's love of baseball led him to become a collegiate pitcher and an ardent Seattle Mariners fan. As a true ZAG, he was a passionate follower of the Gonzaga basketball program. He is the author of 253 professional papers, one medical book and four books for the general public. Two weeks before his passing, it gave him great pleasure to see his latest book, "Opening Hearts", in print and available for all.
Lester is survived by his eight children, Lester Jr. (Catherine), John (Mona), Paul (Debbie), Helen Santucci (Bob), Joe (Missy), Laura Scheer (Stephen), Bill (Chrissy), Mary Ann Huddleston (Paul), his sister Cora Fetchko of Pittsburgh, PA, and his 31 grandchildren.
Lester will be remembered for his medical innovation, deep faith, passion to help people live fuller lives, and extreme love of family.
Recitation of the Rosary was June 11th at 7:30 p.m. with a Funeral Mass said on June 12, 2015 at 10 a.m. Saint Joseph Catholic Church in Seattle.