Cover photo for Paul Samuel Dickman, M.D.'s Obituary
Paul Samuel Dickman, M.D. Profile Photo
1947 Paul 2024

Paul Samuel Dickman, M.D.

September 28, 1947 — March 25, 2024

Phoenix

It is with great sadness that we announce the death of Dr. Paul S. Dickman on March 25, 2024, in Phoenix, Arizona.  He grew up in Spring Valley, New York.

Paul was a warm, friendly, funny fellow.  His high school buddies thought of him as a “regular guy.”  But he really wasn’t a regular guy:  he was exceedingly bright, witty, and talented but so unassuming that few people ever knew the extent of his gifts and interests.  He was the closest, most loyal of friends to classmates in elementary school,  in high school, Boy Scouts and summer camp, in college, in medical school, and his colleagues.   

He was always active: running, cycling, swimming, travelling, playing many musical instruments.  He accompanied summer stock musicals on the piano, including Three Penny Opera, and loved to play Scott Joplin’s rags.  

In later years, he became a practicing Zen Buddhist, serving as a senior dharma teacher in the Kwan Um School of Zen; an avid vegetable gardener, growing enough produce to feed his family throughout the growing season; a devoted companion to four parrots; an enthusiastic birder wherever he travelled all over the world, and a talented amateur musician, playing piano, clarinet, and saxophone. He always looked forward to the annual meeting of the Society for Pediatric Pathology, where he and his colleagues came together in a jazz band and performed during the Society dinner.  Paul also served on the boards of directors of several arts organizations, both in Phoenix and Pittsburgh. 

Professionally, Dr. Dickman was the first board-certified pediatric pathologist to practice in Arizona.  In addition to his work as a clinician, he was a mentor, a teacher, a researcher, and an editorial reviewer.  He was an active member of the International Academy of Pathology, the Society for Pediatric Pathology, and the Arizona Society of Pathologists, holding several positions in each organization, as well as a fellow of the College of American Pathologists.   He spoke and taught regularly at domestic and international conferences and collaborated with research colleagues around the world.   He was a passionate teacher, having held professorships in the medical schools at the University of California, Los Angeles, the University of Pittsburgh, and the University of Arizona, Tucson, Phoenix, training medical students, residents, and fellows.  To him, his students were always the source of great enthusiasm and delight.   

Dr. Dickman graduated from Wesleyan University in 1969 and received his medical degree from Pennsylvania State University in 1973.  He then served as Chief Resident in Pathology at both the Penn State Medical College and the University of California, San Diego.  While in San Diego, he did research on rhinoceros reproduction at the San Diego Zoo.  He was a research fellow and medical officer at the National Institutes of Health and then served as a staff pathologist at UCLA-Harbor Medical Center and the University of Pittsburgh Children's Hospital.  In 2002, Dr. Dickman established the laboratories at the Phoenix Children’s Hospital. In addition to his residencies and his role at Phoenix Children’s Hospital, he successively or concurrently held academic positions at the University of California, Los Angeles; the University of Pittsburgh; the University of Arizona, both in Tucson and Phoenix; and the Mayo Clinic. 

Paul Dickman was Emeritus Professor and Clinical Scholar in Pathology and Child Health at the University of Arizona, the Mayo Clinic Alix School of Medicine, and Phoenix Children’s Hospital.  He had a particular interest in pediatric solid tumors, especially Ewing sarcoma. For many years, he was a study pathologist for clinical trials of Ewing sarcoma and rhabdomyosarcoma at the National Institutes of Health.  Until his retirement in 2021, he collaborated with hematologist/oncologists at Phoenix Children's Hospital on studies of possible therapeutic targets in solid tumors. He was also interested in other pediatric diseases, such as microvillus inclusion disease.

Dr. Dickman is survived by his wife of 55 years, Dr. Frances Baker Dickman of Phoenix and his sister Margery Silverman of Reading, England. He also leaves nieces, nephews, and grandnieces and grandnephews in both the United States and the United Kingdom, as well as so many friends, colleagues and students and other relatives who loved and admired him.

Donations in lieu of flowers can be directed to: The Phoenix Chamber Music Society, PCMSociety@aol.com, 602-252-0095, P.O. Box 34235, Phoenix, Arizona 85067, or the Dr. Paul S. Dickman Memorial Laboratory Fund at the Phoenix Children’s Foundation, foundation@phoenixchildrens.com, 602-933-4483, 2929 E. Camelback Road, Suite 122, Phoenix, Arizona 85016, or the Huger Mercy Living Center, 602-406-5600, 2345 West Orangewood Avenue, Phoenix, Arizona 85021.
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