Fred Randolph Dee, M.D.

Fred Randolph Dee, M.D.

Fred Randolph Dee, M.D.

Iowa City

As the sun rose on Monday, March 4, 2024, Fred Randolph Dee, M.D., 81, passed away peacefully at UIHC.

Fred was born on June 22, 1942, in Waverly, Iowa. He grew up in Waterloo, IA, graduated from West High School before attending the University of Iowa for undergraduate (BA, Phi Beta Kappa, 1963) then medical school (MD 1967). He met his wife, Donna, in 1968 during his University of Minnesota residency internship at St. Paul Ramsey Hospital. They were married on January 11, 1969, in Des Moines, IA. From 1972-74 Fred served in the U.S. Army, stationed at Walter Reed Hospital. Upon discharge with the rank of Major, Fred and Donna returned to Iowa City where they have resided since 1974.

Fred was a beloved husband, father, grandfather, role model and mentor. During his long career as a Professor of Pathology at the U of I, he served as Course Director within the Medical School, Director of the Residency Program, Medical Director of the Clinical Laboratory Sciences Program and Vice Chair for Education. An intellectually curious learner, intrigued by education and innovative developments in his field, he also oversaw the Pathology Learning Center. He left as his ongoing legacy for future medical students his groundbreaking work in virtual microscopy, (“The Iowa Virtual Slidebox”). This set of slides continues to be distributed to medical colleges worldwide. After nearly 50 years as a revered professor, Fred retired to Professor Emeritus status.

In his free time, Fred loved to travel. He and Donna visited 49 of the 50 United States. They went to China and on numerous trips to Europe. Late in his career, Fred made a trip to India to donate sets of slides for educational purposes to medical schools. Throughout his life Fred hauled gear and rods up to the Boundary Waters for fishing—taking his children along when they were old enough—instilling in them an appreciation for nature, patience and quiet. When not travelling, he could be found watching his favorite teams, the Hawkeyes and the Vikings—or recording the games, only to watch if they won. He was a masterful woodworker in his youth, making furniture, and enjoyed playing tennis.

Most of all, Fred adored summering at the family’s cabin on Lake Sissabagama in Wisconsin. There, he lounged with Donna, his children, and grandchildren, went fishing for walleye, bass and pike, but of course everyone caught a lot of blue gills. The family established traditions including excursions from the lake to fish fry nights at Pine Ridge or outings to Hayward to see the logging world championships, revisit the giant musky fish museum or pick up fudge or peanut brittle at Trembly’s candy store. A discrete romantic, Fred always enjoyed taking Donna on boat rides around the contours of the lake to see the eagles, admire the sunsets and just enjoy the views.

In recent years Fred enjoyed more free time which he devoted to cooking, golf or fishing local lakes like Lake Belvedere. He took up courses in French and art and spent time with Donna on visits with his kids and grandkids. He picked up painting—first oil then watercolor—leaving a legacy of artistic practice he shared via Zoom with his granddaughter Caroline Gracey. He shared his avid love of baseball and golf with his grandsons Harrison and JJ. And even during his illness these past years he could be found walking 9 or even 18 holes. As he was drifting away from us this week, he left a last bit of advice for his youngest granddaughter, Zaara, who just got her first bat. Watching her over FaceTime, he advised: “be sure to choke up”.

A gentle man, attentive to others, Fred was loved by many and will be missed by all.

Fred is survived by his wife, Donna K. Dee, his children Jennifer K. Dick, Melanie Gracey (and husband Kevin Gracey), Kevin Dee (and wife Shilpa Reddy), four grandchildren: Caroline Gracey, Harrison Gracey, Jonathan Gracey and Zaara Dee; two sisters: Bonnie Dunham and Patricia McCabe, and his brother John Dick.

Fred was preceded in death by his parents, Fred and Thelma Dick.

Fred’s family would like to offer their sincere and profound appreciation to the staff at the UIHC for their patient, attentive, and compassionate care.

A celebration of Fred’s life will be from 11:00 am – 1:00 pm on Saturday, March 9 at Lensing Funeral & Cremation Service, Iowa City with remarks to be made at 12:00 pm. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be directed to Iowa Public Radio (classical music) in honor of Dr. Fred R. Dee. (

Online condolences and memories may be shared at

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