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Dr. Roland Anthone, 95, pioneer in kidney transplants

Dr. Roland Anthone, 95, pioneer in kidney transplants

Jan. 10, 1925 – Jan. 28, 2020

Dr. Roland Anthone, a Buffalo surgeon who with his identical twin brother, Dr. Sidney Anthone, were pioneers in kidney transplants locally, died Jan. 28 in Sarasota, Fla. He was 95.

“They were together in everything in life,” his son Dr. Kenneth D. Anthone said. “The only difference was they married different people.”

Born in Buffalo, the sons of Joseph Anthone, founder of Anthone Furniture Co. on Genesee Street, he and his brother were 1942 graduates of the Nichols School.

They interrupted their studies at Harvard College to serve together in the Army stateside during World War II, first in the infantry, then in the engineers. Both attained the rank of corporal.

Returning to Harvard, the brothers took summer courses and completed their bachelor’s degrees under an accelerated program in two years. They graduated from medical school at the University of Buffalo in 1950.

When they were surgical interns at Buffalo General Hospital, one brother often was mistaken for the other. An article in The Buffalo News in 1950 noted, “Frequently patients, not realizing that their doctor has been changed, will ask Roland about matters they have previously discussed with Sidney.”

They eventually distinguished themselves with their watchbands – Roland’s was gold, Sidney’s was silver – and with the frames of their eyeglasses. Later Sidney grew a mustache, while Roland remained clean-shaven.

The Anthone brothers helped start a kidney dialysis service at Buffalo General in 1955 and built the original dialysis machines. To find a better treatment for renal disease, the Anthones researched transplants and did the first kidney transplant operation in Western New York in 1964.

The brothers often performed surgery together and for many years did the majority of kidney transplants here.

They went on to develop comprehensive transplant programs at Buffalo General and Children’s hospitals. In 1979, they started New York State’s first dialysis service outside of a hospital, the Western New York Artificial Kidney Center.

Dr. Anthone also was a clinical assistant professor of surgery at the UB Medical School and was coordinator of the UB transplantation program.

He and his brother were authors of more than 30 scientific publications. They were both members of the Organ Procurement Agency of WNY and Upstate New York Transplant Services.

Dr. Roland Anthone was president of the surgical staff at Children’s Hospital in the 1970s. He also was president of the Buffalo Surgical Society and National Network Coordinating Council 26 for End Stage Renal Disease. In 1970, he succeeded his brother as president of the UB Medical Alumni Association.

They received many honors together, including Gift of Life Awards in 1979 from the National Kidney Foundation, its highest honor. He also was recognized as Alumnus of the Year in 1996 by the Harvard-Radcliffe Club of Western New York and received a lifetime achievement award from the UB Medical Alumni Association.

A former Eggertsville resident, he lived on Buffalo’s waterfront before moving to Sarasota after he retired in the mid-1990s.

In addition to his brother and son, survivors include his wife of 71 years, the former Betty Seidenberg; two daughters, Peggy Walker and Cathy Bern; six grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren.

Services were held Feb. 3 in Sarasota.

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