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Jack Tetirick


1926 - 2019
Jack Tetirick Obituary
Tetirick, Jack
1926 - 2019
Jack Elmer Tetirick, M.D., age 92, died suddenly August 26, 2019 in Columbus, Ohio. Jack was born in Marysville, Ohio to humble but hard-working parents, Harry and Gladys Tetirick. The family moved to Columbus when Jack was young and they wound up settling in the friendly confines of Clintonville. He developed his love of nature and the creatures that surround us in the creeks at Whetstone Park behind his house and along the banks of the Olentangy River. Ever curious about many things scientific, at one point in his teenage years Jack attempted his own process for creating diamonds. To do this, he placed some pieces of coal and homemade gunpowder inside a metal pipe, capped it off, and threw it in a fire in the family's backyard barbeque pit. A short time later there was a huge explosion with a large chunk of the pipe flying past Jack and directly over the head of the neighbor's previously yapping dog. Jack located the pipe. There were no diamonds to be found "but that dog never barked at me again" he would say with a chuckle when recounting the scary tale. In his later teens he became an Eagle Scout and like many of his cohorts of that time, joined the Armed Forces at the age of seventeen. He enlisted in the Navy and was sent to Naval Station Great Lakes and later for training to become a Naval Aviator. WWII ended prior to the completion of his training and after his Honorable Discharge he matriculated to Ohio State University where he met the love and light of his life, Helen Hartman. Jack, along with a few fraternity brothers, serenaded Helen from the lawn of her sorority house as an invitation to their first "Coke date" at Hennick's Soda Shop. Jack and Helen were married 70 years and had many adventures together. Jack finished his undergraduate work at Ohio State and was accepted to medical school at the university. Two years later he transferred to Harvard University where he completed medical school and afterwards was accepted into a surgical residency at the prestigious Massachusetts General Hospital in 1951. Jack and Helen immensely enjoyed their time in Boston where they made lifelong friends with Walt and Ruth Haynes, George and Sally Murphy, Jack and Aggie Burke, Dick and Marcia Austin, Clem and May Hiebert, and many, many others with whom they maintained contact throughout their lives. Helen's propensity to make her own Christmas cards and send them to their many friends facilitated communication over the years. Jack's interests were diverse. As an offshoot of his adventures in his youth he developed and maintained an interest in ornithology. He was a member of the Weaton Club for many years. While at Ohio State he was a member of the dive team with his long-time good friend, Dan Shafer. They were both trained by Mike Peppe. He raised tropical fish and in his later years had such good success at raising angel fish, he would sell his surplus to local aquatic stores in Columbus. Hunting and fishing were also passions of his and he passed these passions to his children and grandchildren with trips to Zanesfield Rod and Gun Club where he was a Life Member. The best fisherperson of the group was likely Helen; she would be catching fish while others were helplessly flailing the water. She and Jack took many memorable trips in their motor home to Yellowstone National Park and Idaho in the autumn to take in the sights and pursue the wily trout. Jack's medical career began in Boston but blossomed in Columbus. In the early years he was on staff at most local hospitals performing as a general surgeon but was also frequently involved in serious trauma cases. He was requested to be the surgeon on call when President Gerald Ford visited Columbus in 1975. He dearly loved his patients and the majority of them felt the same about him. His children, Dan, Ruth, and Jim, upon meeting new folks in Columbus would so often be then greeted with, "Is Jack Tetirick your father? He fixed my hernia," or "he operated on my wife. He's a great man. He must be a great dad," which he was. Jack's medical career in Columbus settled into a busy practice at Riverside Methodist Hospital and Grant Medical Center, then known simply as Grant Hospital. Dr. Tetirick's presence was actually vital in the transformation of GH to GMC. In the last 15-20 years of his medical practice he also served as the Director of Medical Affairs at Grant. He and the administrator of Grant, Don Ayers, brought the first air transport medical service to central Ohio, LifeFlight, in 1983. (If you want a nice memory of Dr. Tetirick, think about him as an emergency service helicopter whizzes over your head trying to capture the "golden hour" of first treatment for severely injured patients.) With the influx of terribly injured patients, of course there had to be the necessary support for the critically ill and injured. Thusly the foundations of its Level I Trauma designation, a task Mr. Ayers laid at Dr. Tetirick's feet to recruit those qualified and put them in place. While at Grant, Dr. Tetirick also started the Grant Hospital Family Practice Program. He modeled the development of this program from what he had seen at the Massachusetts General. Currently known as the Family Medicine Residency at OhioHealth Grant Medical Center, its establishment in 1971 was one of the first programs approved by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education. Dr. Tetirick is also a past president of the Columbus Medical Association, the author of four books, and acquired two U.S. patents. Dr. Tetirick's medical career could not be closed without mentioning he served on the maiden voyage of the hospital ship, USS Hope, in 1960, volunteering his time and talents. There is an interesting article in the December 19, 1960 issue of LIFE magazine documenting the efforts of those who served: "The big white ship, her name emblazoned on her side, edged into the port of Djakarta, Indonesia. She had barely docked when the work she had sailed half way around the world to do began in bustling earnest. On board came scores of Indonesian doctors and nurses, eager to learn. With them came dozens of patients, some crippled, some critically ill, hoping for a miracle." Dr. Tetirick was part of that miracle for those he touched. He always described the experience as one that he gained more than he gave. Known as Dr. T., Dr. Jack, Jack, Granddad, Granddad-dad, or "my grandfather", he is preceded in death by his wife Helen, his parents Harry and Gladys Tetirick, and his brother Carl Tetirick. He is survived by his children, Dan (Melissa) Columbus, Ohio, Ruth Tetirick Zanesfield, Ohio, and Jim (Lisa) Zanesfield, Ohio; and grandchildren, J.D. (Sarah) Tetirick, Jesse Tetirick, Kelly (Galen) Freeman, Daniel Tetirick, Laura Tetirick, Colin (Jessica) McNamee, and Erin (Alex) Shattuck; in addition to 11 great-grandchildren. Friends of Jack and the family are invited to attend an open house at Clintonville Woman's Club, 3951 North High Street, Columbus from 1-4 p.m. on Saturday, October 5, 2019, to celebrate his life. The family requests no flowers. If desired, donations can be made to Grant Medical Center or Riverside Methodist Hospital through OhioHealth Foundation.
Published in The Columbus Dispatch from Sept. 14 to Sept. 15, 2019
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