July 28, 2008

Dr. Kraus Led Sickle Cell Fight — Medical Family Patriarch Built Bridges and Trust

By Megan Harris

Dr. Alfred Kraus, in partnership with his wife, Dr. Lorraine M. Kraus, became internationally known in the field of sickle cell research and the care of sickle cell patients.

"The dinner table conversation was never typical," Dr. Alfred Kraus Jr. of Memphis said of his parents. "I knew more about sickle cell as a child than most people do now."

Dr. Alfred Kraus died Tuesday at his home. He was 92.

Born in Vienna, Austria, in 1916, Dr. Kraus immigrated in 1938 to Chicago. He trained in internal medicine and hematology at Michael- Reese Hospital at the University of Chicago where he met his wife of 64 years.

In 1950, the family moved to Memphis where Dr. Kraus began his study of sickle cell disease with Dr. L.W. Diggs at the University of Tennessee. His wife taught there as well.

"I think it was difficult at the university to have two people from the same family to be employed at that level," his son recalled. "But they worked together, they worked together throughout their marriage, on everything."

The Krauses became a medical family, with two parents in sickle cell research, one son in nephrology and the other in internal medicine.

Their older son said he remembers his father's devotion and gentle nature above all else.

"My parents treated people because they wanted to and they enjoyed it. They built bridges within the black community in the 1950s when trust was strained. There are patients now who still talk about my father."

Dr. Kraus, who served in the Army Medical Corps during World War II, was the chief of the Division of Hematology of the University of Tennessee Medical Center until his retirement in 1981, at which time he became professor emeritus and continued his work, both locally and nationally.

The couple's work extended far beyond UT's doors. Together, they helped establish medical training facilities in Indonesia, assisted medical students in Jamaica and helped to forge an affiliation with Hirosaki University in Japan.

Dr. Kraus also leaves another son, Dr. G. Thomas Kraus of Aurora, Colo., and two grandchildren .

Funeral services were Saturday. The family requests any memorials be made to UT Diggs-Kraus Sickle Cell Research Fund or the National Kidney Foundation of West Tennessee.

- Megan Harris: 529-2701

Originally published by Megan Harris [email protected] .

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