In Memory

Charles Fillmore Prickett - Class Of 1967

Charles Fillmore Prickett

PASADENA - Dr. Charles F. Prickett III, a prominent orthopaedic surgeon and chief of surgery at Huntington Hospital, died in his sleep of a heart attack Sunday night at his home in Pasadena. He was 57.

Prickett performed surgery and treated children and adults with complex spinal problems, working at the Risser Orthopaedic Group for the past 22 years.

"It's been a huge impact on everybody that works here at Huntington," said Stephen Ralph, president of the hospital. "He was an excellent surgeon and a leader everybody respected."

Prickett was elected chief of surgery by his peers at Huntington, providing top-flight surgeons and medical practices for the program, according to Ralph.

"He was a very caring person, and that not only to his patients but to everybody," Ralph said.

In addition to his role at Huntington, Prickett ran the scoliosis clinic at Orthopaedic Hospital in Los Angeles, and served as chief of staff for St. Luke Medical Center in 1994 and 1995.

"He was known for the care he gave. Not only did he have the excellent hand of a surgeon in doing complex back surgeries, he was also a caring physician," said Dr. Donald Norquist, a colleague at the Risser Orthopaedic Group.

Prickett was born in 1949 in Pasadena. He graduated from South Pasadena High School before receiving his bachelor's degree from Occidental College in 1971, his master's degree in physiology from USC in 1973, and his medical degree in 1978 from USC.

He spoke at USC's graduation ceremony in 1978, and received the George Herron Memorial Award, presented to the student "who has given the most to his class during medical school." He later served as president of the USC Medical Alumni Association in 1986.

For more than 20 years, Prickett drove to the Calexico Clinic in Mexico every four months, in conjunction with L.A. Orthopaedic Hospital, to treat children with spinal problems.

Prickett is survived by his wife, Mary (SPHS '67), and three children, Drew, Laura and Erin.

Pasadena Star-News, October 18, 2006



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04/18/09 10:23 AM #1    

Mary Creswell (Swenson) (1967)

I was so sorry to hear of Chucks passing. He was always such a caring person. To have achieved so much in life and to die so early seems so unfair. My love goes to Mary and her children.

Mary (Creswell)Swenson

04/19/15 07:17 PM #2    

Nathaniel Hummel (1961)

Chuck was more than an excellent orthopedic surgeon... he was also a caring and amazing person. In the 1990's my wife was having increasing back pain. She went to someone in Pasadena who was, supposedly, a leading orthopedic surgeon. He did a cat scan and said her back looked fine and that "you'll never have to have surgery." Yet her pain kept increasing and we kept trying "everything" to no effect. Finally her physical therapist referred her to Chuck Prickett. Then, we thought, "why didn't we think of him first."  He examined her, asked some pointed questions, and said, "I think I know what your problem is... I need to take 3 x-rays." He immediately, and properly, diagnosed her condition. He was just that good a doctor.

On a more personal note, following one of her surgeries I was hanging out at her hospital room and saw him at the records area at the nursing station. Not wanting to appear too familiar I went up to him and addressed him as "Dr. Prickett." He pulled me aside and said, Nat, please just call me Chuck."  He just wasn't into anything that separated himself from his patients.

At his funeral, which completely filled a large church, perhaps one eulogy told just what kind of guy he was. A woman, who lived in Pasadena, and needed surgery, said she couldn't go ahead with it because she had to be at the hospital at something like 5AM to check in for an early surgery.... and the busses didn't run that early. Chuck gave her a ride so she could go ahead with her surgery, even though it meant getting up even earlier than he otherwise would have. That was his character and committment to medicine.

One last observation... after he did his residency at USC Keck/County, I noticed he did a fellowship at some hospital in England. I thought, "Oh, poor Chuck wasn't able to get one here in the USA and he had to go to England. I later found out that this fellowship was considered a terrific honor and reserved for those few residents who shined above the rest. Again, he was that good, but so humble and down to earth that you'd never know it unless you looked.

In a nutshell, he was tremendously committed to medicine, his patients and his friends... which were and are many.

04/28/16 03:20 PM #3    

Ken Stowe (1967)

Chuck was a good friend both at school and in Boy Scouts. He was part of the contingent of scouts from South Pasadena that attended the National Jamboree at Valley Forge in 1964.

He was also my fathers back doctor at Risser. My dad was his scoutmaster at both troop 369 and the troop that went to Valley Forge.  He dearly loved Chuck, and the treatment that he gave him.

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