It is with deep sadness that we have received the news of the passing of our colleague and dear friend Jerry F. Gurkoff, DO, FAOAO. All of us, who have witnessed his contributions to the growth and development of our profession, knew Jerry very well. He brightened everyone’s day, with either advice or one of his many clever jokes. He had humor for every circumstance and it was always welcomed.
Jerry was born in Chambersburg, PA on March 2, 1949. He graduated from Kenyon College in Gambier, OH in 1970 with degrees in biology and history. He graduated from the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine in 1975, and completed a rotating internship at Harrisburg Community Hospital the following year. His orthopedic surgery training was at Harrisburg Community Hospital, Tripler Army Medical Center in Hawaii and Dallas Fort Worth Medical Center Grand Prairie, TX graduating in 1982.
He served as a staff orthopedic surgeon for the United Nations Forces – US 8th Army 121 Evacuation Hospital in Seoul, Korea and then Dewitt Army Hospital at Fort Belvoir, VA. He served as an attending orthopedic surgeon at several hospitals in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, starting in 1982. During that time, he was a trainer in the orthopedic surgery residency program, and later program director at DFW Medical Center. After DFW closed, Jerry continued his orthopedic practice in various towns, including Cory, PA and Corsicana, TX. He served the AOAO on many committees and was president from 1996-1997.
Jerry was married to the love of his life, Gloria, for 48 years. They have two daughters, Lori and Gina. He has a grandson, Jack, with whom he adored and loved spending every minute possible. Jerry enjoyed breeding and showing Arabian horses, model railroading and reading.
So many of us had the pleasure and fortune of being Jerry’s residents. He was an excellent surgeon and teacher. He took such meticulous care of his patients. He was such a kind physician, and he treated anyone who needed care, regardless of his or her ability to pay.
His talent at teaching residents was extraordinary. He had the unique ability of demanding excellence from his residents but not demeaning them as he corrected them. He motivated us by being such a good physician, that we wanted to be as good as him. He could socialize with us and still maintain our total respect and discipline in the hospital. He taught us not only the science of medicine, but also the art.
Jerry will be missed by all. He contributed so much to the growth and development of our Academy and profession. He helped by improving our education, both in residency training and CME at our meetings. Although he is not with us physically, he lives on in each of us whom he trained, and all members of the osteopathic orthopedic profession who benefited from his contributions.
Jerry was a friend to all of us.