Dr. Walter A. Fenstermacher was born January 12, 1903, in Three Rivers, Michigan. Following graduation from the University of Michigan School of Medicine in 1927, he came to Rochester General at Dr. Christopher Parnall Sr.’s request to do his internship and residency in surgery. For the next twelve years he practiced surgery in affiliation with Dr. Howard Prince. He also served on many Hospital Committees and established the first Blood bank in Rochester.
During WWII Dr. Fenstermacher was commissioned as the Chief of Surgery for the 19th General Hospital. He saw active service in England and France.
Returning to Rochester General in 1946 he was appointed Chief of Surgery upon Dr. Prince’s retirement. During this time he upgraded the Surgical Residency Program.
When his term was completed he continued on various committees until 1968 when he became Medical Director of the Emergency Department. This was a period of transition and change. He built up a group of Emergency Physicians to staff the E.D., which by this time was handling 38,000 patients per year. He modernized the department, adding specialized technicians and equipment to provide the best patient care available locally. He set aside an area for pediatric cases and a suture room for non-life threatening surgical emergencies.
Following his retirement in 1973 he remained active through the Baker-Cederberg Archives Committee. Through his efforts a permanent memorial to the 19th General Hospital was established. Dr. Fenstermacher died May 4, 1990.