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Artist's support of resident and fellow training fund honors her late husband, a dedicated former faculty member

Marian S. Adcock with “Sunflower at First Frost”

Though she had never before considered herself an artist, life circumstances helped Marian S. Adcock uncover a previously untapped talent.

A year before she retired from a career in health care in 2006—most recently as CEO of the greater Minneapolis area chapter of the American Red Cross—Adcock’s husband of 27 years, longtime Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Women’s Health faculty member Leon L. Adcock, M.D., died at age 82.

Following her husband’s death, she was inspired by the beauty of nature to take up botanical art, an ancient tradition that involves creating scientifically accurate depictions of plant life. Plus, making art provided her with a good outlet for her emotions.

Lee Adcock, who graduated from the University of Minnesota Medical School in 1946, spent most of his career at the University. He started as a general practitioner in private practice but later—after spending seven years in Ghana establishing two hospitals as a missionary doctor and a completing a tour in the Navy—pursued gynecologic oncology.

He worked with patients of all ages, some of whom he treated for ovarian cancer when they were only 13 or 14 years old, Marian Adcock says. Her late husband worked hard to save their lives as well as their fertility.

Many of those patients still send wedding invitations, holiday cards, and pictures of their kids.

“That’s the kind of relationship he had with his patients,” Marian Adcock says.

Lee Adcock’s students admired him, too, although he was especially demanding of students working in the hospital. He took his work very seriously and was a tough teacher, Marian Adcock says.

“If you were in surgery with him, you had to do things just right,” she says,

But that’s because he was committed to training them well, she adds. Lee Adcock organized the department’s annual Autumn Seminar, which gave residents a chance to formally present their research to their colleagues. Largely because of his efforts, the Autumn Seminar continues to be one of the premier continuing education programs in the country.

In honor of Lee Adcock’s dedication to teaching, the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Women’s Health established the Leon Adcock, M.D., Fund for Residents and Fellows to further educational and research opportunities for its trainees.

Marian Adcock, who since 2002 has contributed $9,500 to the fund in honor of her late husband, sees it as a fitting tribute to his legacy.

“He thoroughly enjoyed teaching,” she says. “He really took residents under his wing.”

And meanwhile, Marian Adcock’s emotional outlet and hobby has blossomed into a business. She photographs various plants and uses magnifiers to get enough details for her drawings, which are done in colored pencil on vellum.

She has exhibited her art locally and nationally and sells it at two Twin Cities locations as well as through her website,

For Marian Adcock, a 1969 alumna of the University of Minnesota School of Public Health, botanical art is somewhat of an extension of her career as a nurse, hospital administrator, and CEO. Only now she’s using her scientific background to study plant anatomy instead of humans.

“It’s a different world from being in a hospital all of your life,” she says.

To contribute to the Leon Adcock, M.D., Fund for Residents and Fellows in the University of Minnesota Medical School’s Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Women’s Health, visit

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