- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 6, 2006

NAHANT, Mass. (AP) — Charles Schepens, a leader in the French resistance during World War II who later became a pioneer in retina surgery, died March 28 after suffering a stroke, his son said. He was 94.

The covert role played by Dr. Schepens while working with the resistance was so successful he fooled both the Nazis and his French neighbors.

Dr. Schepens worked under the guise of a lumber mill operator named Jacques Perot in the French town of Mendive, using the mill’s tramway to smuggle people and documents over the mountains.

The Germans learned about the operation, and Dr. Schepens was forced to abandon it.

After the war, Dr. Schepens returned to a career in ophthalmology and is considered the father of modern retina surgery. He developed instruments that helped doctors more easily diagnose retina problems and repair them. His work is credited with improving the success rate for surgical retina reattachment from about 40 percent to more than 90 percent, the Boston Globe reported.

“He was quite a man. He accomplished a lot on his life,” said his son, Luc Schepens.

On March 21, a few days before his stroke, the consul general of France presented Dr. Schepens with the French Legion of Honor award for smuggling more than 100 people from France into Spain during the war.

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