Edward Benz Sr.

Dr. Edward J. Benz, Sr.
Dr. Edward J. Benz, Sr., died suddenly in Acton, MA, on October 26, at age 89. A beloved husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather, he was also a distinguished physician and medical leader who made enormous contributions to his profession and community during a career that spanned five decades. Born in Pittsburgh, PA, Dr. Benz received his B.S. in chemistry in 1943 and his M.D. with high honors in 1946 from the University of Pittsburgh, where he was elected to the Alpha Omega Alpha Medical Honor Society and received the Heard Prize for Excellence in Internal Medicine. After his internship at St. Josephs Hospital in Pittsburgh, he served as a Captain in the U.S. Army Medical Corps, and then completed his residency in Pathology at the Mayo Clinic, where he also received a Master of Science degree from the University of Minnesota. Upon completion of his training, Dr. Benz was named Chairman of the Department of Pathology at St. Lukes Hospital in Bethlehem, PA. In that role, he earned widespread admiration as a clinician, innovator, and medical leader. While building an outstanding program noted for its clinical excellence and personalized service, he founded one of the nations first private clinical pathology laboratories and was among the first in the country to computerize laboratory operations. Recognizing the need to ensure a safe supply of vital blood products to his community, he brought together medical, corporate and labor leaders to create the Miller Memorial Community Blood Bank in 1969. Among his many leadership roles were the Presidency of the Medical Staff and service on the Board at St. Lukes Hospital, Presidency of the Pennsylvania Association of Clinical Pathologists, and membership on the Board of the Bethlehem Chamber of Commerce. After 31 years of exceptional service, Dr. Benz stepped down as Chair of Pathology in 1984 to become Vice President of Medical Affairs at St. Lukes. He was named Medical Director of Utilization Management at Sacred Heart Hospital in 1990, and held that position until his retirement in 1998. An accomplished educator and mentor, Dr. Benz founded the School of Medical Technology at St. Lukes, contributed a number of scholarly articles to the medical literature, and achieved the rank of Adjunct Professor of Biology at Lehigh University, from 1956-1964, where he taught virology and mentored Ph. D. candidates. He also served as a lecturer in clinical pathology at the Medical College of Pennsylvania.To his family, friends and colleagues, Dr. Benzs personal qualities outshone his considerable accomplishments. He was a model of professional rigor and integrity who inspired affection for his unassuming manner and a sense of humor that enlivened every conversation. He quietly assisted many colleagues and friends who sought his clinical judgment or his wisdom about their personal or professional challenges. To his children, he was someone who set high standards for character and achievement while giving them his unfailing support, encouragement and the reward of his obvious pride in them. Dr. Benz and his wife, Verna Marie (Cuddyre) Benz, were a widely admired couple. They were celebrated as convivial hosts and revered for the durability and genuineness of the friendships. Mrs. Benz preceded him in death in 2009 after 64 years of marriage. Survivors: They are survived by their four children (Edward, Jr. (Margaret Vettese), of Boston, Thomas (Margaret) of London, Gregory (Ann) of Owings Mills, MD, and Mary Louise (John) of Westford, MA); 11 grandchildren, and six great-grandchildren. He was predeceased by his granddaughter, Kathleen. Services: Arrangements have been entrusted to the Connell Funeral Home, Bethlehem. The family will receive friends at Church of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Colesville, 4101 Old Bethlehem Pike, Bethlehem, PA 18015 on Saturday, December 1, 2012 from 9 to 10 a.m. A Mass of Christian Burial will immediately follow at 10 a.m. Interment will be held at Holy Saviour Cemetery. Condolences may be made online at: www.connellfuneral.com. Contributions: Donations, in lieu of flowers, may be sent to the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, 450 Brookline Ave., Room 1628D, Boston, MA 02215.

Published in Morning Call on Nov. 6, 2012