Sefton Robert Wellings | In Memoriam
Sefton Robert Wellings, the second chair of the UC Davis School of Medicine Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, died peacefully at his home in Palm Desert, Calif., on March 8 at the age of 83.
Wellings maintained an active research program that produced, in collaboration with Hanne Jensen, professor of pathology and laboratory medicine, a landmark breast cancer atlas that has become a classic in the field. A talented and dedicated artist, Wellings produced line drawings of normal and diseased breast tissue that adorn many of his published papers and will appear in a forth-coming book on comparative histology.
Wellings was an avid outdoorsman, naturalist and ornithologist who discovered and described tumors of fish in Puget Sound. His expertise in this area resulted in his selection to lead a wildlife survey of the Gulf of Alaska that preceded the construction of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline.
Born on October 2, 1927, in Tacoma, Wash., Wellings earned his medical degree from the University of Washington in Seattle and completed his medical residency at UC San Francisco. In addition, Wellings earned a Ph.D. in zoology from UC Berkeley, specializing in marine biology.
Wellings joined the University of Oregon Medical School in Portland, Ore., in 1963 and the UC Davis School of Medicine in 1970. He served as pathology department chair at both schools and became a UC Davis professor emeritus in 1985. Board-certified in surgical, anatomic and forensic pathology, he is credited with discovering the earliest form of pre-cancerous breast cancer cells, allowing for earlier treatment of this deadly disease.
He is survived by his wife of 35 years, Carol, his five children, three stepchildren, two grandchildren and beloved dog, Paco. In recent years, Wellings divided his time between Palm Desert and Friday Harbor, Wash.