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Muehlig Funeral Chapel

403 South Fourth Ave, Ann Arbor, MI

OBITUARY

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.

  • DONATIONS

  • Turcotte Professorship in Transplantation Surgery

Services

  • Mass of Christian Burial

    Saturday, March 14, 2020

  • Reception

    Saturday, March 14, 2020

Memories

Jeremiah G. Turcotte, M.D.

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Libby Ford(Bole)

March 2, 2020

I began my career as a nurse in 1985 on old 8 N . soon after Vicki and Dr. TURCOTTE Were learning from the Pittsburgh team to get our liver transplant program up and running. It was amazing to work with Dr Turcotte and head nurse Coleen Dunlevy. I have had a wonderful 35 yr career as a transplant nurse-very rewarding and amazing people. Vicki and I referred to him fondly behind his back as "Dad" as he loved teaching and treated everyone kindly. My condolences to Claire and family

Gordon Hyde

March 2, 2020

Jerry was the most intelligent physician ever that I ever encountered. We were fellow undergrads at UM as well as fellow Med students and residents. As Pittsfield park home residents, our families grew up together and lead to Vince(Jerry’s brother) marrying Nancy - my wife Connie’s sister. We have remained close life long friends and I could never pass Ann Arbor without stopping to see him - even in his last challenging years. He will be forever remembered and hopefully we will be reunited in the future

Toby and Dick Anthony

February 26, 2020

" I shall pass through this world but once. Any good therefore that I can do or any kindness I can show to any human being let me do it now. Let me not defer it or neglect it for I shall not pass this way again."
Stephen Grellet, Quaker Missionary, 1773-1855

Jerry neither deferred nor neglected. He chose a profession where his unique skill and gifts affected the lives of so many and his ability to share his talent with those young physicians who were honored to work with him.
Know you were loved dear friend.

robert oneal

February 26, 2020

Jerry and I were friends ever since we started our surgical internship and residency in 1957, I feel so privileged to have enjoyed and benefited from his friendship during all of our clinical years in Ann Arbor and beyond. He was a kind, thoughtful and extremely intelligent friend and always a great inspiration to me.

Henri Bismuth

February 26, 2020

Dear Claire
It is so sad.
I remember that time when Jerry and you and your baby spent some time with me in Paris
Good time for Jerry in the OR ,discussing liver transplantation and liver surgery
Good time in Paris.Do you remember the day we went in this restaurant in the bois de Boulogne ,taking a boat to cross the lake.It was a sunny day and we were happy.
Françoise joins me to tell you our great sadness
Henri

Carol Hayes

February 18, 2020

I had the pleasure of working with Dr. Turcotte in the Operating Rooms. It was an honor to help him set up the Liver Transplant Program and be able to help with the first liver transplant at Michigan. He was truly a great man .

Jim Jackson

February 18, 2020

Dr Turcotte we spent many hours working together, at all times of the day and night.You were always calm and in control. Although if I had to listen too the "how to hold the needle holder talk" to a nervous first year resident at 3am I was going to go skyward. Good Man.
R.I.P. "Big Kahuna.

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.

FROM THE FAMILY

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