Dr. George Elbert Omer, Jr.

December 23, 1922November 20, 2014
Play Tribute Movie

Dr. George E. Omer, Jr. 1922 - 2014

Former President of the American Orthopaedic Association, esteemed member and former President of the American Society for Surgery of the Hand, and former Professor and Chairman of the Department of Orthopaedics and Division of Hand Surgery at the University of New Mexico Medical Center, Dr. George E. Omer, Jr. passed away peacefully on November 20, 2014, in Spring, TX, surrounded by his family. Dr. Omer was born in 1922 in Kansas City, KS as the oldest child of Dr. George E. Omer, Sr. and Edith Mae Omer, living with his family in western Kansas during the 1930’s and the worst years of the Great Depression. In the 1940’s he attended Ft. Hayes Kansas State University for his undergraduate studies and the University of Kansas Medical School for his graduate work, serving also as a non-commissioned surgical technician in the United States Army during World War II. Honorably discharged in 1945, he later rejoined the Army as a commissioned officer serving over 20 years in the Army Medical Corps and earning his Army Parachutist Badge and the American Legion of Merit Medal, among many other commendations and awards along the way. In 1949 he married Wanda (Wendie) Vilven, and they raised two sons, George Eric Omer and Michael Lee Omer, over the next two decades as Omer served at various medical posts throughout the country and S. Korea as an Army surgeon. During the 1950’s and 1960’s Omer’s skill, experience, training and reputation in the field of hand surgery earned him national acclaim and eventually he assumed the position of Chief of Orthopedic Surgery and Hand Surgery at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio during the height of the Vietnam War. He retired from the Army in 1970 with the rank of Colonel and moved to Albuquerque to assume the position of Chairman of the Department of Orthopedics and Division of Hand Surgery at the University of New Mexico Medical Center. Over the next two decades, Omer’s reputation in the medical community would continue to expand world-wide, allowing him to serve in key rolls with numerous national and international medical societies while growing the size and reputation of the medical programs that he initiated and fostered at the University of New Mexico. During this period, Omer’s writings and lectures extended his work and reputation to prestigious international academic medical organizations in Britain, France, Australia, Brazil, New Zealand, South Africa, Turkey and Canada, to name only a few, as well as to the most premier American medical societies and organizations for orthpaedics and hand surgery. In 1990 Omer retired as the Chairman and Chief of the UNM medical departments he had founded and assumed the roll of Professor and Chairman Emeritus for the Department of Orthopedics and Rehabilitation at the UNM School of Medicine. In the 1990’s Omer continued his practice of medicine by lecturing, writing, consulting and serving on national and international advisory boards for numerous medical societies and publications all while remaining active as a physician, educator and consultant with organizations as varied and diverse as the Carrie Tingley Children’s Hospital, NASA, the U.S. Surgeon General’s Office, the Navajo Tribal Health Authority and the Houston Oilers Football Team.

Omer’s legacy to medicine represents over a half century of selfless dedication and exemplary commitment to the improvement of the field of hand surgery and the education and training of countless doctors who now carry on his life’s work as their own. He earned and cherished the friendships of colleagues all over the world who recognize him as a pioneer in the field of hand surgery and acknowledge that his skill, dedication, work ethic and integrity have set him apart from his peers. Dr. Omer was preceded in death by his older son, Eric, but is survived by his wife, Wendie, his sister Betty Creek, his son Michael and daughter-in-law Marla, by his grandchildren Adria, Miranda, Tera, Cody, Macy and Greg and by his nephews and niece Doug and Jon Vilven, Robert (Bob) and David Creek, Sharyn Holt and their spouses. He loved his family dearly and after 65 years of marriage considered the roles of Husband, Father, Grandfather, Brother and Uncle to be the most cherished of all his lifetime honors. A memorial service for family and friends will be held Sunday, December 7th at 2:00 PM at Earthman Hunters Creek Funeral Home located at 8303 Katy Freeway, in Houston. Military internment services will be held at Ft. Sam Houston National Cemetery in San Antonio on December 8th at 1:30 PM. A memorial service will also be scheduled for family, friends and colleagues in Albuquerque, NM at a date yet to be announced. The family requests that in lieu of flowers, gifts may be made to any of the following: (1) the UNM Foundation, at Two Woodward Center, 700 Lomas Blvd. NE, Albuquerque, NM 87102 for the “George E. Omer, Jr., M.D. Professorship” Endowment; or (2) to the Carrie Tingley Hospital Foundation, P.O. Box 25424, Albuquerque, NM 87125; or (3) to the Fisher House Foundation, Inc., 111 Rockville Pike, Suite 420, Rockville, MD 20850 for the benefit of The Center for the Intrepid at Ft. Sam Houston.


  • Funeral Service Sunday, December 7, 2014
  • Reception Sunday, December 7, 2014

Dr. George Elbert Omer, Jr.

have a memory or condolence to add?


receive updates when new memories are posted

Tom DeCoster

January 8, 2015

Thank you for your guidance as my boss and mentor.

December 3, 2014

All "Docs" go to heaven! God bless him!

December 2, 2014

" With his tough questions and quick smile, we are all better for knowing Dr. Omer. Mrs. Omer, Mike, my thoughts are with you, and my condolences for your loss.

Mike Menicucci (Albuquerque, NM)

Kathy Brown

December 2, 2014

To Wendie and family, I was so sorry to hear of Doc's passing. I always enjoyed the time I got to come visit you both out at your home in Albuquerque. There is not a time that I drive by Live Oak that I don't think of the both of you. It was a privilege.

Vernon Akes

December 1, 2014

To Wendie and the Omer family, The Akes family sends it's condolences in the loss of Dr. Omer. My father, Dr. Leonard Akes and my mother Helen were also from Kansas and were long time friends with George and Wendie. Prayers be with the Omer family.

Betty Creek

November 30, 2014

He was a loving son, brother, husband, father and devoted physician whose demand for excellency in all he did left a legacy that will live on long after he is gone. I know that because throughout my life any physician I ever met and heard George was my brother would say, "one of the finest physicians who ever lived." What a beautiful life.

Ken Skirtz

November 30, 2014

It was an an honor to meet and get to know Dr. Omer.

Dennis Phelps MD

November 30, 2014

Few people get to influence ones life and I am thankful to have Dr Omer help shape my carrer. A Giant in Orthopaedics