OBITUARY

Kenneth Alan McKusick

April 19, 1931November 4, 2020
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Kenneth Alan McKusick passed away peacefully at his home on November 3, 2020. Ken was born and raised in Newton, MA. Ken’s early years on the farm helped shape his character and strong value system. He had fond memories of delivering milk with his father, Harold, and as the baby of the family, the special attention he got from his four older siblings and stepmother, Jesse. Beginning with an academic scholarship to Bowdoin College, Ken continued his education studying medicine at McGill University and later at Johns Hopkins. As an internal medicine physician for many years, Ken’s intellectual curiosity drew him to continue his studies in the then emerging field of Nuclear Medicine. Ken spent 25 years as the Director of Nuclear Medicine at Mass. General in Boston, contributing to his profession during his career and long after his retirement. As a pioneer in his field, he was a contributing author to numerous studies and texts, served on numerous national committees, and lectured nationally and internationally. Throughout his life Ken used his medical training and keen intellect to help others. Ken’s professional accomplishments are extensive, but nothing gave him greater pride than his family. His marriage to the love of his life, Gussie, and the merging of their two families brought him untold joy. Be it the family trips, celebrations, sharing their home on Cape Cod or vacation house in Key West – Ken was always bringing out his calendar to plan time for everyone to be together. Ken served as an example of a life well lived. He embraced every experience as an opportunity to learn something new and to meet new people. He and Gussie traveled extensively across six continents, experiencing new cultures and meeting people around the globe. He shared his life with many friends and colleagues, always making time for others to listen, give advice, and to share his good humor. He was committed to his community and over the years served on numerous boards and committees, using that time to extend his knowledge, improve his community and create opportunities for others to contribute. The blaring bagpipes of his ringtone were a frequent reminder of his zeal for this life and his connection to others. Ken’s scientific mind made him want to understand the world and his generous heart made him listen. Time spent with Ken meant time spent being valued and heard. He sought to understand, listened attentively, and honored others for who they were, unequivocally. Ken was one of a kind. His love and wisdom have impacted many generations and we count ourselves amongst the lucky to have had him in our lives. We are grateful for the time we had with him and will miss him dearly. A memorial visitation will be held in Ken’s honor at Nickerson Funeral Home, Orleans, MA on November 21 from 1-4 pm. Social distancing and face masks will be required and strictly enforced. In lieu of flowers, the family welcomes donations in memory of Ken to the Orleans Conservation Trust, 203 South Orleans Road, Orleans, MA 02653. For online condolences, please visit www.nickersonfunerals.com

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    Saturday, November 21, 2020

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Kenneth Alan McKusick

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Ross McDonald

November 23, 2020

I met Ken at his Orleans home, maybe 30 years ago, while doing a tile job that his son, my friend, Scott hired me to do. I was there for about two weeks and had the chance to "hang out" with Ken as I worked the installation. By the end of the job we were like "old friends". This was Ken's nature, although brilliant and very accomplished, he was a "salt of the earth" kind of guy. He told me one day, as we stared out the window through his back yard down to the wide stream below: " I love living near water. It changes with every new day". I eventually was fortunate enough to live near water (Minister Pond, Eastham), and I often think of Ken when looking out over the pond and the water color has changed so dramatically from just the day before. Thrilling, really.
To Gussie and Scott: Barbara and I offer our deepest condolences. You are all such good people.

Jana Lee-Hogan

November 23, 2020

Gussie & family, I'm so sorry to hear about Dr. McKusick's passing. He was so loved at MGH. I was fortunate that I had the opportunity to work for and learn from him. So many great memories. Including Blueman Group retirement photo! Thinking of you and your family, Jana

Tricia McKusick

November 19, 2020

I will forever hold him in my heart. He was more than an Uncle to me. Everyone has posted how he was a wonderful and compassionate person. Those words are repeated over and over. They are so true and his compassion was deep within him. He left behind two wonderful sons, Mark and Scott, who must have learned or inherited from him this wonderful gift....a warm heart and a good ear. I have enjoyed knowing them as much as Ken.
Gussie, I’m without words for you. Nothing can fill that hole he left in our hearts and especially yours. You have always been that crazy, spirited person that I love hanging with. I love you with all my heart

Yang Gyeltshen

November 19, 2020

Druk and I join the rest in offering our sincere condolences to McKusick Family and friends at this difficult time. Though we did not get to know Kenneth Alan McKusick much, his warmth and friendliness was surely felt when we got the opportunity to meet shortly a couple of times. Just as we felt his warmth and friendliness, we are sure there is lot more to cherish his fond memories than to be taken over by the grief of his lost. Our out sincere thoughts are with you.

Yang and Druk
170 West Street, Granby, MA

Marsha Ouimette

November 15, 2020

Dear Gussie and family,

Peter and I are so saddened to hear of Ken’s passing. A wonderful man who contributed so much to life both medically and personally. A man with love and passion. The true heart of a good human being who will always be remembered.

Fondly our friend,

Marsha and Peter

Denise A Merlino

November 15, 2020

Part 2 of 2
So, Ken could be an instigator at times too. He would be out playing (Boston roof deck, cape gatherings, political or local events, with family or friends, wine typically involved), and we needed to have a PowerPoint presentation completed for a talk he was giving. He would give me 10 changes that were needed 10 minutes before he was about to present. He would politely say, no pressure, you can do it, we want the information as good as we can give them, right? Then he would twinkle his eyes at me, and I would simply smile and get it done, just in the nick of time. Occasionally, to keep him on his toes or to get back at him, I would drop a slide into the talk that was a funny photo or a topic he did not expect. He was so professional; he could make up something like it was planned to have been in there all along and only the two of us knew. After the talk, we would share a laugh about it.
I will miss him, but he is in my heart and memories always. Key West will not be the same without him, but he will want us to still make it special, so we will. Goodbye my friend.

Denise Merlino-Felock

November 15, 2020

Dear Gussie, (Part 1 of 2)
My heart aches for the loss of your “Kenny”, it never failed to put a smile on my face to hear you call him “Kenny” with that devilish smile on your face. This usually resulted with him raising his eyebrows, as if to say, “oh no”, what is she or they (when I was part of your mischief) up to now? I want to tell you and all your family and friends how much knowing you and Ken have enriched my life. I will apologize now, if I have to go on for a bit, but I want to share some of my special memories for all.
Ken was my personal mentor, friend, colleague, instigator, travel buddy, wine tasting buddy and second father to me. I know others think the same as he has touched many lives, he just had a knack for making you feel comfortable and special and he did that with everyone he met. I have cherished the many years that I have been privileged to have known him. If it were not for him, I would not have likely gotten into this coding and billing business that then lead to health policy jobs and ultimately to me opening up my own business that is strong for over 17 years.
Ken was always there to listen, guide, share interesting information on a wide variety of topics and then most important also have fun! There was always balance when you were with him, he worked hard, he respected other contributions and he was fair, but had strength in his convictions which I always respected even when we agreed to disagree. My husband John and I love the analogy he shared, in most couples, there is a string and a kite, we know Gussie is the kite with the dependable and loving Kenny as the string. For John and me, John is the kite mostly, but at times we go back and forth based on the topic.
End of Part 1

Kevin Galligan

November 15, 2020

Gussie & family: Vince and I share in your loss of an amazing man. Our friendship came first but I think I will miss most those visits when Ken would ask "what about..."., and we would move an idea or two forward. Ken was always learning and sharing his insights into so many endeavors. He was a true teacher and friend. The Town of Orleans was served well in everything Ken committed his volunteer time to including our current comprehensive plan, the best quality water system and town staff who he always respected and supported.
with our deepest sympathy,
Kevin & Vince

Dawson Farber

November 15, 2020

My family was lucky to know both Ken and Gussie, both socially and professionally. When my wife Lynn was diagnosed with cancer my first and only call was to Ken. He opened every door at Mass General to the finest doctors in the world. Lynn was tough as nails, but cancer her took her from our family in 2015 after a valiant six year battle. My greatest regrets are two fold; I never got the chance like Gussie to say goodbye, and he had to watch from Heaven to see the demise of trump. I am sure he and Lynn continue to celebrate the Biden/Harris win. Ken was a great chef and taught me things I never thought existed on our "man cook" adventures. Gussie is a saint and also very good at making snow angels!! Cheers from the Farber family

Jeannine Hughes-Veautour

November 15, 2020


Gussie, I am sending my deepest sympathy to you and your family. I will always remember the many parties up on the hill and down at the cape. I also will remember his expertise in nuclear medicine and teaching us to do that something extra to get the best image, which I still follow today. He always helped with the Fellows, and whenever I was on call. I especially remember the gracious lunch you gave me on that July 4th weekend after a long and difficult V/ Q Scan. His smile and wisdom will be greatly missed by many. You are all in our thoughts and prayers at this difficult time.

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