Muehlig Funeral Chapel

403 South Fourth Ave, Ann Arbor, MI


Jeremiah G. Turcotte, M.D.

January 20, 1933February 12, 2020

Jeremiah George Turcotte, M.D., University of Michigan Professor Emeritus of Surgery, died peacefully at age 87 on February 12, 2020, in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Jerry was born on January 20, 1933, in Detroit to Margaret Campau Meldrum and Vincent Joseph Turcotte, Sr., M.D. He graduated from De La Salle Collegiate as valedictorian in 1950. At Michigan, he earned his B.S. with high distinction, Phi Beta Kappa, Phi Kappa Phi, receiving the Phi Sigma Award. He earned his M.D. cum laude as president of the class of 1957, receiving the Oreon E. Scott Award. A true Michigan man, Jerry completed his internship and surgical residency at Michigan in 1963, and was honored with the Intern-Resident Outstanding Achievement Award. In 1958, Jerry married Claire Lenz, also a Michigan graduate. They and their four children enjoyed summers at the Racquet Club and Barton Boat Club in Ann Arbor and up north at their cottage at Presque Isle boating and fishing on Lake Huron. An avid sailor, Jerry competed in the Mackinac yacht races, with the Esprit sporting a maize-and-blue spinnaker. For over 50 years, Jerry and Claire cheered the Wolverines at home football games.

Jeremiah G. Turcotte, M.D., enjoyed a distinguished career at the University of Michigan. He was the 12th Chairman of the Department of Surgery, 1974-1987, and the second Frederick A. Coller Professor of Surgery, 1978-1989. He was a pioneering transplant surgeon. Dr. Turcotte was a founder and Director of the Surgical Transplant Program, 1964-1984, and Director of the Organ Transplantation Center, 1984-1996. In 1964, as a 31-year-old first-year faculty member, Dr. Turcotte performed the first organ transplant at Michigan, a kidney, the first in the state of Michigan. In 1985, he performed the first liver transplant at Michigan as well. Throughout his career, Dr. Turcotte practiced general and transplant surgery; he was devoted to Michigan, academic medicine and his patients. His major investigative interests focused on transplantation of the kidney, pancreas and liver, prognostic indices for liver disease, portal hypertension, and bioethics. As Chairman, he dramatically modernized and expanded the Department of Surgery so that excellent faculty could be hired and clinical and laboratory research advanced. He also played an important role to replace the original University Hospital.

An internationally recognized general and transplant surgeon, Dr. Turcotte was a Director of the American Board of Surgery, a Governor of the American College of Surgeons, and President of the Central Surgical Association, the Coller Surgical Society, the American Society of Transplant Surgeons, and the United Network for Organ Sharing. Throughout his career, Dr. Turcotte was revered as a visionary leader. In 1970, he received Michigan’s Henry Russel Award for Distinguished Achievement in Scholarly Research, and in 2004, the Medical Center Alumni Society Distinguished Service Award. In 2002, the Department of Surgery named its library the Jeremiah G. Turcotte, M.D. Surgical Library. In 2005, the American Society of Transplant Surgeons honored him with the Pioneer Award.

Jeremiah George Turcotte, M.D., was the beloved husband of Claire Mary Lenz Turcotte; father of Elizabeth Margaret (David N. Parsigian), the late John Jeremiah Turcotte (1961-1988), Sarah Lenz (Richard J. Manser) and Claire Meldrum (James E. May); grandfather of Jeremiah James May and Joseph Casper Manser; and brother of Vincent J. Turcotte, Jr., M.D. (the late Nancy H.)

A funeral mass will be held on Saturday March 14, 2020, at 11:00 a.m. at St. Mary Student Parish with a reception to follow at the Michigan League at 12:30 p.m. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Turcotte Professorship in Transplantation Surgery c/o Chairman, Department of Surgery, 2101 Taubman Center/SPC5346, 1500 E. Medical Center Drive, Ann Arbor, MI 48109.


  • Turcotte Professorship in Transplantation Surgery


14 March

Mass of Christian Burial

11:00 am

St. Mary Student Parish

331 Thompson St
Ann Arbor, Michigan 48104

14 March


St. Thomas Catholic Cemetery

Ann Arbor, MI 48104

14 March


12:30 pm

Michigan League

University of Michigan
911 N University Ave
Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109


Jeremiah G. Turcotte, M.D.

have a memory or condolence to add?

Mary Grimmette

February 17, 2020

I am very sorry for the loss of Dr Turcotte my sincere sympathies to his family, coworkers and friends. Dr. Turcotte was one of the first transplant drs that I saw to have a liver transplant my disease that I was born with is rare and when I went on the list there had not been a successful liver transplant on a person with my disease only two attempts in CA and both passed away shortly so my case was taken carefully under consideration by my GI Dr and Dr Turcotte and almost 20 years later I am still here. Thank you to him for whatever input he had in making it happen.

Tony Mattar

February 17, 2020

Farewell to an outstanding fellow De La Salle graduate. Jerry, you brought great honor and distinction to our Class of 1950 by your world renown surgical achievements. You carried yourself with class and dignity. We are proud of your accomplishments. May you enjoy the everlasting happiness in Heaven that you have richly earned. God Bless You. Tony Mattar, DLS Class of '50

Terese Howell

February 17, 2020

Dr. Turcotte, the "father of transplant" at the University of Michigan. He was a brilliant man and surgeon. I recall my first time in the OR to observe a liver transplant (thanks to Richard Chenault) he said, "stand wherever you want, ask me anything you want, just don't touch anything blue". He was truly an inspiration to everyone. Maybe he's the reason why I'm still with the transplant department after 29 years. Rest in heaven Dr. Turcotte.

Richard Heinlen

February 15, 2020

Jerry married my cousin Claire many years ago ago in the
1950's and was always a man to admire as he pioneered an area of medicine many believed would never become such a huge success..
I'm soon to be with you as I close on 92 myself** Dick Heinlen

Mike Roney

February 15, 2020

Dr. Turcotte (or Uncle Jerry) really went out of his way to take care of me when I was a freshman in 1973 at the University of Michigan and I came down with an unknown illness. I spent a week at the U of M hospital and he came to see me frequently. He also arranged top doctors to diagnose my illness. He was first class and I have never forgotten his generosity and kind manner. He was a great person and a credit to his profession. May he rest in eternal peace. Mike Roney

Richard Dickerman

February 14, 2020

Dr Turcotte took me under his wing when I was a third year resident in Ann Arbor and put me in the lab researching pancreases transplants in 1973. This began my 40 year career in transplantation which is ongoing. During that time he came to speak for me at seminars and always put up my picture and referred to me as “Dickie “. He had wanted me to stay in Ann Arbor but when I left for Texas he only wished me well and continued to support my membership in many organizations. Now after more than 3000 transplants I can say he was the one who responsible for my commitment and passion. He was a true giant and father of American surgery as we know it today. He never was vindictive or had a bad word to say about another person. Although the past years have been hard I will chose to remember the kind man who changed my life. Rest In Peace my gracious mentor and friend

Mark Eberbsch

February 14, 2020

A kind man when I felt vulnerable. A true gentleman. Thank you.