Dr. Jerome Z. Litt
January 19, 1922 – September 8, 2019
"To Vel . . . without whom" . . . was the title with which he honored his wife, in every book that he wrote - A memorable life of truth and grit, stage and wit, world renowned and acclaimed, brilliant, enigmatic, witty, admired philosopher, revered scholar of opera, literature, music, art and science, Jerome Z. Litt, M.D., dear, honored, and glorious physician to more than a 100,000 patients. He was born January 19, 1922. He left our world peacefully and quietly, on Sunday, September 8, 2019, while enfolded in the arms of his beloved wife of 48 years, as she sang his favorite song to him: "Dein ist mein ganzes Herz" - (You are my heart's delight) . . .
Born in this world, to Beatrice and Herman Litvinov, in the Bronx, New York City, he was a surviving veteran of the greatest generation - a patriot of World War II, where he honored, and served proudly in the United States Army, as a member of the Corp of Topographical Engineers, as an aerial photographer, graphic and topographical draftsman, German translator, and rifle expert. He served in both the North Africa and the Asian-PacificTheater, in Morocco and Hawaii. His parents arrived at Ellis Island, from Russia and Hungary, and settled in New York City, where they lived for all their lives.
Dr. Litt managed and saw patients full-time, in his medical practice of dermatology, seeing patients by day, and writing by night, up until last year, in Beachwood, Ohio, July, 2018, where he completed 65 years of career, in medicine, in Ohio and several years of practice in New York City before his arrival in Cleveland, Ohio, where he began as partner in practice to Dr. Irving L. Schonberg, M.D., at 10900 Carnegie Avenue, Cleveland, Ohio, later moving, after Dr. Schonberg's death, to Beachwood, Ohio.
It was only last year, September 14, 2018, that Dr. Litt, authored an open page, full page advertisement in newspapers, that read: "It is with mixed emotions that I am leaving my practice of dermatology. I would like to thank the thousands of patients I have seen over the 65 plus years of my medical practice in Ohio. You have given me the great pleasure of providing for your healthcare and medical needs over the years. I will surely miss all of you. Thank you for your loyalty, your friendship, and the honor of allowing me to be your physician. I send you all, my sincerest wishes for your continued good health. I am forever grateful to every one of you."
Dr. Litt attended the world famous Erasmus Hall High School in New York City, graduating at age 14, and was educated at Brooklyn College, followed by medical school training at the Chicago Medical School, Chicago Illinois. He interned at Kings County Hospital in Brooklyn, New York, and did fellowship and residency in dermatology at Skin & Cancer Hospital, New York City. He was well-versed in the classics, science, music, art and philosophy, and was an avid sportsman. He became an Assistant Professor of Dermatology at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, Cleveland, Ohio, and visiting associate in dermatology at Metro Hospital. He taught residents at Mt. Sinai Hospital, Cleveland Clinic, Metro Hospital, University Hospitals. He was an active and honored member of the American Academy of Dermatology.
He is survived by his wife, Vel, five children; Erica Litt Rosen, deceased, (Gerald) - Monica Litt Lobser, (Greg) - Jessica Litt Lewis, (Michael) - Poppy Johnson, (Rogers) - Stephen Furcron. He was grandfather to eleven grandchildren; David, Daniel, Sarah (deceased) Lobser, Zachary, Jacob, Rachel Lewis, Midshipman, USNA, Jeremy Patrick and Jason Johnson, Shelby, Branden Furcron, Elizabeth Rosen. He was devoted uncle to nephews, Jason and Adam Litt.
He is the author of the very popularly acclaimed, "Drug Eruption Reference Manual," known as DERM, a treatise on drugs and drug interactions, that is now in it's 26th Edition, launched February 2019, and used by physicians in every specialty all over the world, and he has written over 100 books on skin from A to Z.. Dr. Litt, is known to have published hundreds of scientific papers on skin disorders and diseases, and many books for the lay public. In his practice he treated more than 100,000 patients in his career and has given lectures around the world from Australia and New Zealand, to the UK, and in China, where he gave lectures in Chinese, having learned from Chinese friends in Sunday sessions for more than a year. Well versed in Russian and German, he gave lectures in Russia. He gave major lectures in nearly every major city in the United States, from New York to California. He appeared on hundreds of television shows, all across the United States and abroad, especially proud of his acceptance and acclaim in New Zealand and Australia.
He was best known in musical circles by his ability to hum the tunes of a symphony from memory, by even mention of the source or the composer. He appeared in 103 Metropolitan opera performances, and he and his wife were married backstage between Act I and Act II during Met opera performance of "Tosca", where the supernumerary Cardinal on stage happened to be the very famous, Honorable Judge Jim Divinne, who conducted the ceremony. The best man in the ceremony, happened also to be a priest in the opera. A thousand friends were in attendance in the audience on the day the Litts were married. Dr. Litt was in costume and onstage as a supernumerary spy. Later he and his wife were married by the renowned Rabbi Arthur Lelyveld, at Fairmount Temple, Beachwood, Ohio.
Dr. Litt's many ideas, that he called "pearls" remain, and shine brightly and everlastingly in the world of dermatology. He wrote with confidence and wit on every aspect of your skin and how to live in it, that became title of one of his many books.
But his genuine pearls were his grandchildren who write illustriously of their grandfather, and are included in every aspect of his memory.
From his children, and his grandchildren; precious memories, precious thoughts:
Jessica Litt Lewis, (Michael): parents of Rachel, Zachary, Jacob;
Monica Litt Lobser (Greg): parents of Daniel, Sarah (deceased) David; Poppy Johnson (Rogers): parents of Jason, Midshipman Jeremy Patrick, United States Naval Academy; Stephen Furcron: parent of Shelby, Branden.
From Poppy: "He sparked an interest in all things military and technological in my boys, Midshipman Jeremy Patrick Johnson, and Jason Grant Johnson, and told them, "If nothing else. BE PRECISE!" He continues to touch me with his honesty, integrity,and love each time I think of him."
From Zachary: "He introduced me to all sorts of new technology and interests. He sent me my first CD-ROM in 1992, bleeding edge technology at the time. And growing up! All the books . . . I mean, who does this? Each month, for months and months, and months, and months, he would gift my brother, my sister, and me, and all the grands, $50 each in money to purchase books! Any kind of books, new, old, fact, fiction, young-adult, technical, humor, comic or erotica. It was amazing! He was ageless to me, a grandfather I loved for his many moods and faces."
From Monica: "My father was probably the most popular man I'd ever known. It was like I was living with a celebrity, loved by everyone who met him, no matter who they were or what position they had in life. People flocked to be in his presence. He always encouraged us to be ourselves and follow our path. Anything was OK with him as long as we were happy. He was a star even to my teen peers!"
From Jessica: "Everyone loved Dad at first meeting. He was magnetic, whether with patients, friends or family. As loudly as he lived, with such robust passion, there was a quietude of gentleness - a true gentle man. When he loved, he loved deeply."
From Stephen: "Be on time and be civilized - my favorite Dadisms. Dad always encouraged us to do better and to think. I frequently find myself reciting the alphabet in my head, as he always did, to remember a word, a phase, or things to do. I will forever embrace the life lessons he shared and taught me - and I hope I'm able to be the positive influence for others that he was for me."
From Poppy: "He lived in us, one and all, now and forever. He was and is, dearly loved. We have not lost a great man, father, grandfather, healer, husband, wife, physician, friend - We have gained his presence even more deeply in our hearts.
WILL THE REAL JEROME Z. LITT, PLEASE STAND UP!"
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Dr. Jerome Z. Litt
September 20, 2019
Jerry was a true gem! Like the pearls discussed in his obituary, he sparkled with a genuine zest for life and the people who surrounded him at any given moment. When I think of those who inspired me in the world of dermatology and medicine, he has always been among the most important and influential people in those arenas. I have been lucky enough to “break bread” with him more than once at dermatology events as well...having Jerry at my side or table was always memorable. As his family stated well, he certainly lives in me and I’ll remember him forever. L’Chaim (remember, it’s the plural, “to lives”....we’re all in this together! )
Karen Maffei MD
September 16, 2019
He was a powerhouse. He taught me so much from his drug eruption book. He will be missed.
September 16, 2019
I remember Dr Litt so fondly. He was a powerhouse of energy always plotting and planning his next project. I worked for Galderma Labs and purchased his DERM CD Roms to distribute to dermatology residents. He was always such a generous teacher. But I truly enjoyed his friendship and that of his gracious and lovely wife Vel. I will miss his always happy smile
Marvin and Mick Brook
September 16, 2019
Jerry was a good and special person. A friend until the very end. We recall many a great time and will remember him always.
September 15, 2019
September 10, 2019
Since childhood Dr. Litt has been my most special doctor/friend. The appt went as : Saw me, treated me and ALWAYS “Discharged Cured”........After moving to Chicago in 1972, I would visit Dr. Litt because of the trust I had in him and his superior expertise. Rest well, my friend....... always in my heart. 💚
September 10, 2019
Z"L Jerome Z. LItt (Dad) - Flashback 40 Years (Summer of 1979) in Cleveland, Ohio: Our two Fathers preparing for our wedding