Peter Randall, 91, formerly of Chestnut Hill, a plastic surgeon, died Nov. 16 at Foulkeways in Gwynedd, where he had been a resident for the past 15 years.

Dr. Randall was a former chairman of the departments of plastic surgery at both the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, where his research focused on the repair and reconstruction of facial deformities, especially cleft lips and palates.

He helped to develop one of the most robust training programs for plastic surgeons in the United States and founded the Cleft Palate Clinic at Children’s Hospital.

He was past president of the American Society of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeons, the American Cleft Palate Association and the Robert H. Ivy Society. He was a member of the International Society of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeons, the American College of Surgeons and the Pithotomy Club.

Dr. Randall traveled the world to train doctors and nurses to perform reconstructive surgery. In India, he operated on lepers to restore the use of their hands, and in Vietnam during the war, he volunteered to teach local surgeons how to perform skin grafts on burn patients.

Through several tours with Operation Smile, Peter, with his wife, Posey, and multidisciplinary medical teams, traveled to China, Israel, Vietnam and India to work with cleft lip and palate patients. His service and compassion changed the lives of thousands of patients.

Dr. Linton Whitaker, who followed Dr. Randall as chair of the department of plastic surgery at HUP, said that as a teacher, “Peter was patient, thoughtful and always considerate and kind.”

“He was an extremely important individual in the history of cleft lip and palate surgery,” Whitaker said. “His technique for lip repair set the standard for years and is still used.”

Dr. Randall was an enthusiastic singer, gardener, birder and sailor, and enjoyed his summers in Saunderstown, R.I., where he swam, sailed and puttered. He was instrumental in the restoration of the Dutch Island Lighthouse and ensured that it was lit properly at sunset every evening.

Peter is survived by his wife of 66 years, the former Rose “Posey”Johnson, of Baltimore; a son, Peter; daughters Deborah, Julia and Susanna, and six grandchildren.

A celebration of Dr. Randall’s life will be held at 2 p.m. Saturday, Nov.29, at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, 22 E. Chestnut Hill Ave. in Chestnut Hill. – WF

  • Tim C

    Doctor Randall had such a huge impact on my life. Not only was he a top notch physician and at the forefront of cleft palate reconstruction, he was a kind, caring man who looked after his patients’ well-being. Even as a child, I noticed the time he took to get to know me and my family. Even though, like most kids, I struggled with the physical deformities of a severe cleft palate and the seemingly endless years of plastic surgery and doctors appointments, I always looked forward to my appointments with Doctor Randall

    I really enjoyed my time with him, no matter the situation. Understanding that I was probably just one of many patients of his, I still felt that he saw me as someone important to him and someone who’s care was his sole responsibility.

    The greatest and lasting memory I have of Dr. Randall is when he covered the remaining costs of one of my many surgeries. We were in his office and he told my Mom not to worry about paying the rest of the balance. He was going to cover it no matter what. That meant a great deal to her and me. This was probably soon after my Dad had passed away from cancer the previous year (1984). He must have known our situation and that my Mom was left to raise five teenagers alone, with me being the youngest at the age of 13.

    I’ll always remember what Dr. Randall did for me and my family.

    May you rest in peace in God’s glory.

    Tim C

  • Valerie Marano

    Dr. Randall changed my life by providing me with the life-saving surgeries I needed to repair my cleft. I haven’t seen him in 25 years, since the one kindness I could give back- he asked me to participate in an MRI study for further research. Of course, I jumped at the chance. He was such a kind man, and I will never forget him.