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Herbert E. Poch


1927 - 2014 Obituary Condolences
Herbert E. Poch

AGE: 86 • Long Branch

Herbert E. Poch, MD, a prominent pediatrician and teacher of medical students, passed away on Tuesday, March 18, 2014, at Monmouth Medical Center in Long Branch, the hospital where he last practiced. Born in Elizabeth on Sept. 4, 1927, he graduated from Thomas Jefferson High School in 1944. The first in his family to attend college, he entered Columbia College of Columbia University in New York, that year, with his enrollment interrupted for service in the U.S. Army, where he was quickly promoted to the rank of sergeant, serving in Germany for 13 months. He returned to Columbia in 1946 to complete and earn his Bachelor of Arts degree in 1949. At Columbia, he was captain of the Varsity Basketball team, taking them in 1949 to the NCAA finals. He subsequently earned his medical degree from Columbia University College of Physicians & Surgeons in 1953.

After his pediatric internship at Kings County Hospital in Brooklyn, Dr. Poch completed his training as a resident at Babies Hospital at Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center in 1956. He returned to his native Elizabeth to begin a private practice on Chilton Street where he remained until 1990, with the exception of a brief period in his move co-founding the Pediatric Medical Group, Union.

Dr. Poch commenced his second career as a full time teacher of medical students and post-graduate medical residents pursuing their advanced training in clinical pediatrics at Monmouth Medical Center, through an affiliation with Drexel University. Dr. Poch lived by the belief that the definition of doctor is teacher, and was well-known among parents as a physician who spent considerable time with each patient and family. He was also well-known while in solo practice for his telephone hour, making himself available each morning for consultation with parents, answering fundamental questions, identifying simple and sometimes complex issues and urging an office visit when required, and what he referred to as "tincture of time" when not. Through his early career, Dr. Poch also made house calls, visiting patients in their homes, but regretted time demands ultimately prohibited his availability to continue the practice. He claimed to know every route to save a stoplight or delay.

Remembering his modest roots, Dr. Poch committed deeply to service within the community and in the days before development of substantial medical insurance options, also served a large number of patients, pro bono. From the time of his graduation from his residency, he taught medical students as a volunteer at his alma mater, Columbia University College of Physicians & Surgeons one day a week.

Poch was a member of the medical staff at Elizabeth General Hospital, St. Elizabeth's Hospital (now Trinitas) in Elizabeth and St. Barnabas Medical Center in Livingston. He served as president of the Elizabeth General Hospital Medical Center. In 1992, he moved from his Elizabeth to retire from private practice and become director of the newborn nursery and clinical associate professor of pediatrics Monmouth Medical Center. He was honored multiple times twice receiving the dean's special award for excellence in Clinical Teaching from Hahnemann University School of Medicine for Outstanding Dedication to Teaching. He was named Attending of the Year by the Pediatric residents at Monmouth and received Oxsana Korzeniowski Patient Award for Outstanding Clinical Care of Patients from Drexel University School of Medicine.

After formally retiring from that position, he continued as a volunteer to continue training medical students and continued his leadership in educating future generations of doctors.

Poch was medical director and a co-founder of the Make-A-Wish Foundation of New Jersey in the early eighties and was honorary trustee of the Ronald McDonald House of Long Branch from 1992-1998. In June 1999, Congressman Frank Pallone had read into the Congressional Record, from the floor of the United States House of Representatives a proclamation honoring Dr. Poch's extraordinary service to children and his communities.

In 1952, Dr. Poch married the former Leila Kosberg who predeceased him in 2010. Also a native of Elizabeth, she a led a significant career of service for children through efforts with the Elizabeth Committee for UNICEF and successfully committed to education reform in moving the city to an elected board of education and joined they board, ultimately as president. Their deep partnership led to profound contributions to the cities of Elizabeth and later, Long Branch, where they maintained their residence.

A loyal sports fan, Dr. Poch followed the Yankees from the time of his childhood. He held season tickets to the New York Football Giants since 1959, following them from the old Polo Grounds to the original Yankee Stadium, to the Yale Bowl, Giants Stadium and even the new MetLife Stadium and was in the stadium for every home game with his family. He intently followed the Knicks, grew to be an avid tennis fan and player. He shared a love of dogs with his family and enjoyed the company of each of his children's three beagles.

Dr. Poch is survived by three children, Bruce Poch of Pasadena, CA, Andrea (Andi) Poch of Ocean Township, and Lesley Poch of Elberon.

A funeral service will be held at 11 a.m. Sunday, March 23, 2014 at the Higgins and Bonner Echo Lake Funeral Home, 582 Springfield Ave., Westfield. Interment will follow at Beth Israel Cemetery in Woodbridge.



Published in Asbury Park Press on Mar. 21, 2014
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