BURLINGTON, Vt. -- Dr. Peter Linton, the surgeon who started the first cleft palate clinic in Vermont, died Sunday. He was 74.
Dr. Linton was chief of plastic surgery at Fletcher Allen Health Care and taught at the University of Vermont.
Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., he moved to Burlington in the 1960s.
"He loved to see them smile," his daughter Sarah said of her father's patients. "When you have a cleft lip, you can't smile."
During his career, Dr. Linton treated thousands of Vermont children. He also performed free surgeries in India and Haiti for three months once a year from 1989 until he retired in 1995.
Dr. David Leitner, who now holds Dr. Linton's post at Fletcher Allen, said his colleague preferred working in the country instead of in a big-city plastic surgery hospital. "He was a New Yorker, but he really loved Vermonters and their practical ways," he said. "When they came in with injuries, their basic concern was to get better from the injury, but not make too much of it or dwell on it too long."