With a history of about 35,000 pediatric surgeries over 40 years, Dr. Stacy Roback was known not just for the quality of his work but also for a gentle manner with patients and their families.

"He had golden hands," said Dr. Phillip Kibort, chief medical officer at Children's Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota, where Roback practiced.

Roback, 70, of Edina, died Jan. 20, apparently of a heart attack, a year after he had retired from active practice. He had been a senior partner at Pediatric Surgical Associates and in 1983 was chief of staff at Children's.

"He was almost an icon around here. Other doctors wanted to work with him and his team," Kibort said. "Stacy was a really kind man, and he was an important mentor for me and a lot of other doctors."

Roback also was an art collector who once dined with Andy Warhol. It was an interest he and his wife, Donna, developed in the early 1970s after they met Gordon Locksley, a well known Minneapolis art dealer.

"It was such great fun," Donna Roback recalled. "Gordon mentored us and allowed us to hobnob with such fascinating people."

Roback also was unusual for the breadth of his training. He was board-certified in pediatrics, general surgery, pediatric surgery and thoracic/cardiovascular surgery.

"He operated on so many people, from tiny infants to young adults, and he always had time for people, time to explain, to listen, tell stories. But never boastful. For all his talent, he was an amazingly humble man," Kibort said.

Roback was born on May 3, 1941, in Dallas, Texas, and graduated from Tulane University and Tulane University School of Medicine in New Orleans. He completed his internship and residencies at the University of Minnesota.

"Stacy was such a kind, thoughtful man," said his wife, an attorney who began law school in 1976, the year after her husband completed his final residency. "He was always figuring out how he could help other people. He loved it when he got a complicated case."

Roback received a Lifetime Achievement Award from Children's Hospitals in 2010 and last year received the Charles Bolles Bolles-Rogers Award from the Twin Cities Medical Society for outstanding professional achievement.

In addition to his wife, Donna, he is survived by two sons, Scott and Robert, both of Los Angeles; a daughter, Stephanie Shapiro of Minneapolis, and eight grandchildren.

Services have been held.

Warren Wolfe • 612-673-7253