Herbert Leonard Fred, MD was born June 11, 1929 in Waco, Texas. He was known for his contribution to medical education. He was an award-winning clinician, diagnostician, and professor of internal medicine. Dr. Fred, an emeritus American Osler Society member, centered his medical practice on the patient, championing the use of the mind and five senses to develop medical diagnoses.
In Waco, the Fred family was known for community service, keen athletic team support, and their jewelry store, L. Fred and Son. His father, Isadore (Isie) Fred (1897-1969) received a posthumous City of Waco Commemoration for contributions to the community. Famous for his zest for life and his warm heart, Isie was a friend of many community and national leaders in athletics and film. Dr. Fred’s mother was Helen Louise Marks (1905-1985). He had one sister, Shirley Fred Strauss (1932-2014). Dr. Fred’s paternal grandparents were Louis Fred (died 1940), a Prussian immigrant who became a naturalized citizen of the United States in 1908, and Pauline (Peshi) Fred (1866-1950). Dr. Fred’s maternal grandparents were Samuel Marks (1866-1932) and Fannie Marks (1869-1956). Dr. Fred married Lucille (Lucy) Therese Maule (born 1928) in 1954. They had three children: Stuart Fred (born 1955) and twins Nancy Lynn Fred Sadick and Michael Fred (born 1957). Dr. Fred and Lucy divorced in 1976. Dr. Fred married Judith Ann Edgar Biddington in 1978. She had four children from her first marriage: Lisa Collette Biddington (born 1961), Floyd Wesley Biddington (born 1965), Gregory Leonard Biddington (born 1969), and Stefani Biddington, (birth date unknown).
Dr. Fred spent his boyhood in Waco, Texas, graduating from Waco High School in 1946. He attended then Rice Institute (today Rice University) in Houston, TX, graduating in 1950. He attended medical school at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in Baltimore, Maryland from 1950 to 1954. He completed his medical training as an internist with a two year internship and residency at The University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah in 1957. Dr. Fred served as a Captain in the United States Air Force Medical Corps from 1957-1959, acting as Chief of Medicine at the Amarillo Air Force Base Hospital in Amarillo, Texas. He then returned to Salt Lake City first as Chief Resident, Department of Internal Medicine, at the Salt Lake City General Hospital and then as an Instructor in Medicine at the University of Utah College of Medicine from 1959 to 1961. In 1962, Dr. Fred and his young family moved to Houston, Texas where Dr. Fred accepted an appointment as Instructor in Medicine at Baylor University College of Medicine.
Dr. Fred worked at institutions in Houston, Texas for the remainder of his career. After holding a number of academic positions at Baylor from 1962 to 1969, Dr. Fred left Baylor to accept a position as Director of Medical Education at St. Joseph Hospital in 1969 where he continued until 1988. In addition, he accepted positions as Clinical Associate Professor of Medicine at the University Of Texas Graduate School Of Biomedical Sciences in 1968 and as Professor, Department of Internal Medicine, at The University of Texas Health Science Center in 1971, retaining both appointments today. From 1979 to 2002, Dr. Fred served as Adjunct Professor, Human Performance and Health Sciences, at his alma mater, Rice University. From 1988 to 1993, Dr. Fred held a position as the Educational Coordinator at the HCA Center for Health Excellence. Beginning in 1982, Dr. Fred served as a medical expert witness in a number of medical malpractice trials. Records pertaining to these trials from 1988 to 2011 are located in the Legal Series. These folders are restricted due to the use of patient names until 2050. Dr. Fred is a member of thirteen medical societies including the American Medical Joggers Association, American College of Physicians, American College of Chest Physicians, American College of Sports Medicine, American Medical Writers Association, and American Osler Society.
Dr. Fred received numerous awards for teaching excellence from students and peers. Highlights include: Outstanding Full-Time Clinical Faculty Member at Baylor University College of Medicine in 1964 and 1967; a citation from President Ronald Reagan in October 4, 1988 for 27 years as a medical educator; The Benjy F. Brooks, M.D. Outstanding Clinical Faculty Award from the Alumni Association of the University of Texas Medical School in Houston in 1999; honoree of The Herb Fred Medical Society, Inc., a corporation established in 2002 by former students; The American College of Physicians – American Society of Internal Medicine Distinguished Teacher Award along with election to Mastership in The American College of Physicians in 2004; the TIAA-CREF Distinguished Medical Educator Award in 2005; and The American College of Physicians Laureate Award in 2012.
Dr. Fred’s running and medical practices intersected. Some of his scholarly articles include clinical descriptions of long distance running effects on the human body and promote running as preventive medicine. He often combined participation in running events with visiting professorships and Grand Rounds at other medical institutions. Dr. Fred began his competitive running career by running marathons but later switched to ultra-marathons, 100 mile races lasting 24-26 hours. Dr. Fred holds 3 National Age Records. By 2011, Dr. Fred had run a total of 244,950 miles.
Dr. Fred’s writing career arose from his medical practice and running competition. A tenacious advocate of clarity and precision in medical discourse both in his teaching and as an author, Dr. Fred determined to improve the accuracy of medical communication, written and spoken. Dr. Fred wrote over 450 scholarly medical articles. He served as editor-in-chief of the Houston Medical Journal from 1984 to 1988 and Houston Medicine from 1988 to1993. Other editorial responsibilities included positions with Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise from 1979 to 1986, Annals of Sports Medicine from 1982 to 1985, Circulation from 1995 to 2004, Resident and Staff Physician from 2003 to 2008, and Texas Heart Institute Journal from 2011to the present. Dr. Fred served as a peer reviewer for Southern Medical Journal, Chest, Journal of the American Medical Association, and Circulation. He was a correspondent for Ultrarunning magazine from 1981 to 1986. Dr. Fred authored several books in his career, including "Elephant Medicine and More", "Say Aah, Medical Writing: A Practical Guide", "Looking Back (and Forth): Reflections Of An Old-Fashioned Doctor", "Images of Memorable Cases: 50 Years At The Bedside", and "The Best of Herb Fred, MD".
Dr. Fred served on the Board of Trustees for the Houston Congregation for Reform Judaism from 1995 to 2004, acting as President of the Board from 1996 to 1998. Additionally, he joined the Board of Directors for the Friends of the Texas Medical Center Library in 2007, acting as Secretary from January 2011 to the present.
Dr. Fred continued to practice medicine and ran 11 miles a day on his treadmill until 2016. He retired in 2016. Dr. Fred died on December 30, 2018 and is buried in Agudath Jacob Cemetery in Waco.