Dr. Sidney Koretsky
December 30, 1921 – January 4, 2020
Sidney Koretsky passed away peacefully at his Brookline home on January 4, 2020, days after celebrating his 98th birthday with his family.
The son of the late Harry Koretsky and Rachel (Greenfield), Sidney was born in Chelsea, Massachusetts, where he attended the local public schools. He received an AB degree in Biochemistry at Harvard in 1943 and an MD at Jefferson Medical College in 1946. He then served as a medical officer in the US Army from 1947 to 1949 in Korea and Japan. After returning from the Far East, Sidney spent 1949 to 1953 as a Resident in Internal Medicine at Boston City Hospital. In 1953, he married Elaine Stern and began to engage in the triad of patient care, the teaching of medical students at Tufts University School of Medicine, and research in cardiology at Beth Israel Hospital.
A deeply compassionate, devoted physician, Sidney maintained a medical practice for 40 years from an office within his Brookline home -- the same home in which Elaine grew up and the same office used previously by Elaine’s father, Dr. David Stern, an internist. Sidney was a member of the medical staffs of Beth Israel Hospital and Tufts New England Medical Center. He made house calls at night, often accompanied by his son Peter, a little boy at the time. In 1964, Sidney served as President of the Greater Boston Medical Society.
Sidney retired from medicine at the age of 76 and began to devote almost full time to research in paper history, assisting his wife who was a renowned scholar in paper history. An exceptionally talented amateur photographer and videographer, he became fully immersed in paper research, travelling throughout the world with Elaine, photographing the process of hand papermaking in remote places, and producing 17 documentary videos. In 2001, he received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Friends of Dard Hunter, an international organization dedicated to papermaking. In 2008, he became an Honorary Member of the International Association of Paper Historians.
After being declared legally blind in 2001, Sidney began writing short stories, largely inspired by his experiences in paper history. “Tales Along the Paper Road & other Short Stories” was published in 2008. Sidney retained an avid interest in gardening throughout his life. Over the years he won numerous Blue Ribbons in the Massachusetts Horticultural Society’s annual flower show, including one year when, despite being blind and in his 90s, he won 5 First Prizes for the specimens he submitted. Sidney was deeply devoted to his family and meticulously documented family events on film and video. He later converted everything to DVD format, added classical music in the background, and produced a trove of family life treasured by all.
His marriage to Elaine was a marvelous partnership, each contributing unique skills and attributes to the other. Common interests such as horticulture and travel existed, fortified by a commitment to intellectual inquiry and the pursuit of knowledge as a means to promote intercultural discourse, enabled the two to follow their interests to an unimaginable level. During Elaine’s last years, Sidney was by her side twenty-four hours a day, bestowing love and comfort.
Sidney’s personal qualities greatly contributed to his success and exerted a profound effect on family, friends and colleagues. He displayed an unimpeachable integrity. His organizational skills, attention to detail, and ability to focus inspired all around him. These characteristics were fueled by a self-discipline which he believed was the ultimate key to the attaining of one’s goals. Beneath a somewhat formal facade, which could be intimidating and softened considerably during his middle years, lurked an omnipresent playful sense of humor which, at times, could be shocking in its bawdiness.
Sidney is survived by his children Peter, David and daughter-in-law Anastasia, and Donna and son-in-law David Reina, and 7 grandchildren. He was predeceased by his beloved wife Elaine and brothers Schachna, Leo, and Irving, and sister Shirlee Ehrenberg.
Funeral Services on January 9 at 12:30 pm at Stanetsky Memorial Chapel, 1668 Beacon St., BROOKLINE. Friends are invited to the family home from 4:30-9 pm on the 9th. Donations may be made to Amnesty International www.amnesty.org .
Comments, remembrances, photos and other postings are welcome and may be posted on this website.
- Funeral Services Thursday, January 9, 2020