John F. Kurtzke

September 14, 1926December 1, 2015

John Francis Kurtzke, M.D.

September 14, 1926- December 1, 2015 John Kurtzke, of Falls Church, Virgina was born in Brooklyn, New York. After active duty in the U.S. Navy during World War II he remained in the Naval Reserves retiring as a two-star Admiral in 1986. A summa cum laude graduate of St. John’s University, he earned his medical degree from the Cornell Medical School. He is predeceased by his parents (John and Teresa), a brother William and two of his children, John F. Kurtkze, Jr., CSC and Patricia. He is survived by his loving wife, Peggy whom he married in 1950 and their children Catherine Brown (Stephen), Elizabeth Siebert (Keith); Joan Brennan (Philip), Robert (Leala), James (Kate) and Christine Hughes (Paul), 21 grandchildren, 9 great-grandchildren, two brothers, a sister and numerous nieces and nephews.

A world reknowned neurologist, he helped establish the field of neuroepidemiology. In the 1960s Dr. Kurtzke developed a disability scale for Multiple Sclerosis which assists physicians in diagnosing and treating MS patients; it is still in use today. He was a full-time professor of Neurology and Community & Family Medicine at Georgetown University as well as Chief of Neurology Services at the Veterans Administration Hospital from 1963 until retiring in 1995. He was also a consultant in Neurology at Bethesda Naval Hospital and held academic appointments/visiting professorships at more than 40 colleges and universities around the word. A recipient of numerous awards and honors, in 2009 the Consortium of MS Centers and the American Academy of Neurology Foundation created the John F. Kurtzke Clinician-Scientist Three-Year Award. In retirement Dr. Kurtzke continued to serve as a consultant to the Veterans’ Administration as well as deliver numerous authored and co-authored papers throughout the world.

A Funeral Mass will be offered Monday, December 14th at 10:00 a.m. at St. James Catholic Church in Falls Church, VA. In lieu of flowers contributions may be made to St. James Church or Holy Cross House,



  • Funeral Mass Monday, December 14, 2015


  • Inurnment

John F. Kurtzke

have a memory or condolence to add?


December 18, 2015

Dear Robert,
We send our deepest sympathy to your family. You are a kind doctor and friend. The apple doesn't fall far from the tree.
Julie Hughey

John Basile

December 16, 2015

Dr Kurtzke was a valued friend and colleague. We will all miss him. My sincere condolences go out to all of the Kurtzke family. This world's loss is Heaven's gain.

Dr John J Basile

Michele Joseph

December 10, 2015

Over Winter Break 1985-86, Dr. and Mrs. Kurtzke bravely allowed some 19 year old college students to prepare and host a first "dinner party" in their home. We were even provided some wine. To this day, I remember the warmth I received from Dr. Kurtzke every time I paid a frequent visit to the the family home.

My heart goes out to all of you in this difficult time.

Cathy Davis

December 9, 2015

" I want to offer you all my condolences for the loss of your husband dad grandfather and great grandfather. You will all be in my thoughts and prayers on Monday."

Margie Lyons

December 8, 2015

I offer my sincere condolences to all of Dr. Kurtzke's family for their loss of this great man. I knew him when I worked as a medical secretary in the Department of Neurology at Georgetown University Hospital under Dr. Des O'Doherty's reign. I remember him with much reverence and great fondness.