David A. Ontjes
{ "" }
Share David's life story with friends and family
Send an Email
Or Copy this URL to Share
David Ainsworth Ontjes

Chapel Hill

David Ainsworth Ontjes, 79, a long time professor of Medicine at UNC, lost his battle with cancer on May 7, 2017.

He was an excellent student, graduating with Highest Distinction from the University of Kansas as a part of their Honors program; attending Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar and graduating in the First Class, Final Honors School of Physiology, and graduating Magna Cum Laude from Harvard Medical School. After his internship and residency at Boston City Hospital, he spent three years as a commissioned officer in the US Public Health Service doing research at the NIH in the laboratory of Dr. Christian Anfinsen.

In 1969, he joined the medical faculty at UNC School of Medicine, contributing as Professor of Medicine; Chief, Division of Endocrinology & Metabolism; Chairman, Department of Medicine; Chairman, UNC Physicians & Associates Executive Committee; and Eunice Bernhard Distinguished Professor of Medicine. He was board certified in Internal Medicine, Endocrinology & Metabolism, and Geriatrics.

Each year, at UNC, the David A Ontjes Award is presented to residents who exhibit excellence in research and academics as well as outstanding service to others. In addition, David personally initiated and funded the David Ontjes Residents Teacher Lecture Fund on effective teaching methods, lifelong learning and other topics related to medical education. He also initiated the "David A. Ontjes, MD Honors Opportunity Fund" at the University of Kansas to fund special opportunities for the University of Kansas undergraduate Honors students.

Always a dedicated gardener, David also enjoyed sailing, wind surfing and kayaking. He often entertained his family and friends with his sly sense of humor. In recent years, David and his wife of 13 years, the former Joan Troy, have traveled both domestically and internationally with both bicycle and choral groups. They performed regularly with Voices (formerly Chapel Hill Community Chorus) as well as the Prime Time Players, a group of older adults who perform humorous musical shows in support of the local senior centers.

In addition to his wife, Joan, David leaves behind his four children, Linden Ontjes of Asheville, Sarah Ontjes Lynch and her husband Greg of Charlotte, Ethan Ontjes and his wife Stacia of Raleigh, and Jason Ontjes and his wife Jennifer of Orcas Island, Washington; step-children Leslie Tsui and husband Walter of Wellesley, MA, as well as Clark Troy and his wife Mary of Chapel Hill; grandchildren Austen and Claire Lynch; Olivia, Noah, and Max Ontjes; and Roan, Finn, and Wren Ontjes; step-grandchildren Daniel and Caroline Tsui; Natalie and Graham Troy; his sister, Carolyn Ontjes Falletta and her husband John of Chapel Hill; his brother, Robert Samuel Ontjes and his wife Judy of Hutchinson, Kansas, along with their children and grandchildren; and Sherri Ontjes, his former wife..

A memorial service will be held at 10:30AM on Saturday, May 13, at the University Presbyterian Church on Franklin Street in Chapel Hill.  Memorial contributions may be made to the University of Kansas, KU Endowment in support of the David A. Ontjes, MD Honors Opportunity Fund and sent to KU Endowment, PO Box 928, Lawrence, KS, 66044 or Ontjes Resident as Teacher Lecture Fund, The Medical Foundation of NC, 880 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., Chapel Hill, NC 27516 https://give.unc.edu.

Online condolences:

www.hallwynne.com Select obituaries.

To Plant Memorial Trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.
Published in The News and Observer & from May 10 to May 11, 2017.
Memorial service
10:30 AM
Memories & Condolences
Not sure what to say?
3 entries
September 13, 2017
David joined our Harvard Medical School class as a sophomore in 1961 and he was a great contributor to our experience. After we graduated, he took internship and assistant residency at Boston City Hospital from 1964-66. He was a gifted physician, and put many of us to shame with his efficiency. We usually carried responsibility for 7-15 patients at a time, and David's signal accomplishment (in addition to his great care for his patients) was efficiently whittling down his census to low single digits. In fact, he got down to just two cases one time, Then one died, and the other signed out against medical advice, and so for 2 days, he had NO patients - to the great admiration and acclaim of his fellow interns!
He had a droll sense of humor and used few words to get his ideas across. I recall when Linden was born, and also the twins. I'm sure that you all will miss him a lot. The world is a better place because of his life. Rest in peace, David.
Rob Roy MacGregor
May 17, 2017
I felt so confident in your care as my endo, Dr. Ontjes. You were always kind and reassuring and helped me in many ways during my endless journey through life with Diabetes. Thank you for everything.
Anita Galliher
Anita Galliher
May 16, 2017
With sympathy Gene& Ginny List
Thank you David for great memories from Stafford High. I still remember the dress I wore to the Prom our Senior year when you were my escort. Those were great days when everything was "easy". You have led an interesting life and accomplished much. When our lives are over what really matters is our relationship with Jesus. How well did we love Him?
Virginia List
Invite others to add memories
Share to let others add their own memories and condolences