Burr Ridge resident contributed to cancer imaging, diagnosis
Charles Metz, professor of radiology and a member of the Committee on Medical Physics at the University of Chicago Medicine, died from pancreatic cancer on July 4 at his Burr Ridge home.
Updated: August 13, 2012 1:16PM
BURR RIDGE — As a professor, Charles E. Metz of Burr Ridge taught radiology. As a father, he taught his daughters skills vital to life outside the hospital and classroom.
Becky Mavon of Western Springs said her father taught her and her sister, Molly Metz of Seattle, to love and to laugh, to work hard, and to believe in themselves.
“He was always teaching everyone,” said Mavon, whether it was through a casual conversation or at the front of a lecture hall.
Metz, professor of radiology and a member of the Committee on Medical Physics at the University of Chicago Medicine, died from pancreatic cancer on July 4 at his home. He was 69 years old.
A recognized leader in using mathematics to assess and improve the accuracy of diagnostic tests, Metz contributed to radiological imaging, nuclear medicine and computer-aided diagnosis that help doctors find cancer and other ailments.
“He found ways to find cancer,” Mavon said.
“Charles was a true scientist, educator and mentor of the highest caliber,” said Maryellen Giger, PhD, professor and vice chair for basic science research in the Department of Radiology, chair of the Committee on Medical Physics, and director of the Imaging Research Institute at the University of Chicago Medicine.
“Whether you were a tenured professor or an undergraduate, he could explain anything in the field in the most thorough and appropriate way,” recalled Giger, a former graduate student with Metz. “He would go through it with you until he was convinced you understood it.”
Despite his accomplishments and intelligence, Mavon described her father as humble, funny and a true gentleman. Those who knew him best often had little understanding of his effect on the medical field, she said.
It wasn’t only his work in medicine that earned Metz worldwide recognition. Mavon said her father also was a well-known expert in the building of World War II model airplanes, a hobby he very much enjoyed.
Metz spent more than 40 years at the University of Chicago, during which time he wrote and published more than 250 scientific articles and earned numerous awards and recognitions for his work. He raised his family in Hinsdale before moving to Burr Ridge about 20 years ago.
Mavon said her father had planned to retire in September. Despite his diagnosis at the beginning of 2012, he continued working almost to the end, she said.
Metz will be remembered in a memorial service set for Aug. 27 at the University of Chicago.