KENNETH FORDE
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FORDE--Kenneth A., M.D. The President and Trustees of Columbia University mourn the passing of Kenneth A. Forde, M.D., a distinguished surgeon, researcher, teacher, Trustee, alumnus, and benefactor of the University. After graduating from Columbia's Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons (VP&S) in 1959, Dr. Forde built his distinguished career at Columbia with over 50 years of service to the medical profession and the people it serves. He taught for more than 40 years, attaining the rank of professor of clinical surgery and occupying the Jose M. Ferrer Chair in Surgery. Specializing in diseases of the colon, he helped pioneer the use of endoscopy as a diagnostic and surgical tool. Known for the quality of his care, his eloquence, and the depth of his compassion, he once said he was "obsessed by the idea of educating patients," teaching them how not to be limited by challenges to their health. Dr. Forde served as a Trustee of Columbia University, a member of the Board of Advisors of Columbia University Irving Medical Center (CUIMC), and president of the VP&S Alumni Association. "Race," said Dr. Forde in 2008, citing his great-grandmother, "is something you run and win." The only African-American student in his medical school class, Dr. Forde worked throughout his career to increase the admission of qualified minority applicants. He received numerous honors, including the Columbia University Alumni Federation Medal, Gold Medal for Excellence in Clinical Medicine, the Charles Bohmfalk Award for Distinguished Contributions to Teaching in the Clinical Years, and Arnold P. Gold Foundation Award for Humanism in Medicine. In 1996, The Kenneth A. Forde Professorship in Surgery and the Kenneth A. Forde Diversity Scholarship were established at Columbia University in his honor. Dr. Forde and his late wife, Kareitha Forde, to whom he was married for 60 years, were generous supporters of scholarships at the Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons. Beyond Columbia, Dr. Forde was a pillar of Christ Church in Riverdale, New York, where he was a Eucharist minister and devoted member of the vestry and choir. He served as a trustee of New York- Presbyterian Hospital, president of the New York Surgical Society, director emeritus and founding member of the Society of American and Gastrointestinal and Endoscopic Surgeons Education and Research Foundation, and Commander in the Venerable Order of the Hospital of St. John of Jerusalem. We extend our sincerest sympathies to Dr. Forde's son, Trevor, his grandchildren, and all whom he healed, taught, and inspired in his life. He made Columbia and our world a better place and will be greatly missed.


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Published in New York Times on Jun. 4, 2019.
Memories & Condolences
Guest Book sponsored by Yvonne S. Thornton, MD, MPH
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34 entries
May 29, 2020
I miss Ken and Kaye; both were loved and held in high regard. Ken was formative in my measure of professional posture. "Where do we get such men?" - Bridges at Toko Ri.
Edward Lowe
Student
August 20, 2019
I am so sorry to hear of Dr. Forde's passing. He was one of my mentors at Harlem Hospital during 1969-1971.
John Buckner
July 20, 2019
I had the privilege of knowing Dr. Forde and Mrs. K. Forde while working in the Department of Surgery. Both of them had a great influence on me. I remember Dr. Forde encouraging me to look beyond the obstacles I faced. We may not have agreed at all times, but he was a pillar of great strength and wisdom. A father, a friend, mentor and guide with an infectious smile and laughter. I will miss him.
Levi Jeffers
June 28, 2019
I am saddened to hear of Dr. Forde's passing. Another great giant laid to rest in the arms of His maker. As a medical student I had the privilege of working with him, and getting to write my first publication on Endoscopy Polypectomy. He was a phenomenal teacher, mentor and surgeon who devoted his life to giving back in every way possible. He left behind a legacy that will forever be remembered. Rest In Peace.
Velma Scantlebury, Class 81
June 17, 2019
I am just hearing this terribly sad news. I was lucky enough to have worked with Dr. Forde, his wife and Barbara in the Department of Surgery on PH 14 Stem back in the late 70's, early 80's. He treated everyone with respect no matter what their station in life. He was an incredibly kind man and a gifted surgeon. He operated on my father and took great care of him. He will be truly missed. I'm blessed to have known him!
Sheila Ryan-Doherty
June 16, 2019
Sam Hazell, M.D.
Friend
June 14, 2019
I knew him as Ken, a singer in a group that stood around a piano and sang Gerhswin and Rogers and Hart. He told me he was a retired surgeon. That was good. But for me he was a guy I wanted to stand next to so I could get some guidance about singing. And after singing we'd talk, and I knew he had a huge other dimension to his personality. But for me he was Ken, a consummately cool guy with a great voice, who used to wield a scalpel. Everybody has to do something, but not everybody can sing like an angel.
Tom Casey
June 13, 2019
May his memory be for a blessing.

Vivian O. Berger (widow of Dr. F's former patient, Prof. Curtis J. Berger)
June 9, 2019
Dr. Kenneth Forde's passing is a profound loss to the world. He epitomized brilliant surgical expertise and was an exemplary medical educator. His special grace, compassion, and gentility, were blessings to all who had the privilege and pleasure of knowing him. We felt very honored, to have been able to convince him to agree to accept nomination to receive CCNY Alumni's 2004 Townsend Harris Medal, 50 years after he graduated with a BS degree, with Honors. In his characteristic humble fashion, his acceptance speech was exactly one minute in length. May his wonderful soul rest in eternal peace as he joins his beloved Kareitha. Sincere and heartfelt condolences to his son, Trevor, and Family.
Cleonis Ellen & Constance Elaine Golding
June 8, 2019
When someone you love becomes a memory, the memory becomes a treasure. May the wonderful treasures fill your hearts with love and bring you joy. Hosea 13:14. Cherish the treasured memories shared as you celebrate a beautiful life that will never be forgotten and will forever be adored & cherished
Cherish
June 7, 2019
Dr.Ford was a great teacher historiographer , surgeon and great friend. I share his family's sorrow.
My deepest condolences
Dr.Nicole Suciu-Foca
Nicole Suciu-Foca
June 7, 2019
I will miss Dr. Forde's sonorous readings at Christ Church, as well as his quiet strength and gentle guidance. Rest in Peace, sir.
Melanie Scott
June 7, 2019
This is a personal loss to all who were fortunate enough to train under him. It is rare that a day goes by without thinking of something he taught me or reflecting on his manner with patients and students of all levels. To think about the challenges he faced while training and establishing his practice is humbling indeed. A truly great surgeon and man. Condolences to all.
Gary Tannenbaum MD
June 7, 2019
Caryl and I met Ken and Kay 53 years ago, when Ken and I were medical officers at the 98th General Hospital in Neubruecke, Germany. He was then as he remained in the ensuing 5 decades of our friendship: warm, gentle, loving, giving. We feel blessed to have had him as our friend. We feel impoverished by his loss.
John Pareja
John Pareja
June 7, 2019
Ken was, above all, a gentleman and dogged advocate for patients, friends, colleagues, and strangers alike. We could all do well to honor his memory and legacy by emulating his sublime. example.
Charles Stolar, MD
June 6, 2019
I am saddened to learn of Dr. Kenneth Forde's death. I remember him as a medical student and more recently was honored to receive an award from Columbia P&S named in Dr. Fordes honor. He was present that evening, as ever modeling how to be gracious but forceful. Revered not only as a great surgeon, but as an outstanding human being. He was universally admired, respected and well-liked. A great loss.
Mary Bassett
Student
June 6, 2019
Sad news. My condolences to the family. I remember Kenneth Forde as an undergraduate biology major at City College in the 1950s. I believe he was in the Class of 1954. That class also included Arno Penzias, Nobel Laureate in Physics and Philip Cohen, formerly Chief Hydrologist of the US Geological Survey.

Rest in Peace.



Newton Rose
Classmate
June 5, 2019
Dr. Forde was a legend in his own time. His eloquence was matched only by his dedication to his patients, his colleagues and to his community. He was and, in a way, still is my mentor for how a life should be livedin service to others. My condolences to his family and may he rest in peace, as he joins his lovely wife, Kay.
Dr. Yvonne S. Thornton, MD
June 5, 2019
As a former CUMC enterostomal therapy nurse, I had the pleasure of working closely with Dr. Forde and caring for his patients. Of the many physicians I worked with over the years, Dr. Forde was indeed a favorite of mine ! Besides being a wonderful surgeon, his soothing voice, compassionate manner and gentle touch put his patients at ease. Dr. Forde, a class act, had all qualities a doctor should exemplify. With heartfelt sympathy,
Yvonne (Esposito) McGrath
June 5, 2019
The universe has seen one of its stars transformed,
Into a burning ember with a lasting force,
That will continue to guide those of us lucky,
To have been in his orbit,
The power of your legacy,
Will continue to exert its gravitational pull,
As the force of your energy, brilliance, innovation,
Grace and wisdom,
Shines through never to be diminished.
Dr. Forde you will be greatly missed,
But your enduring legacy will still brightly shine.
Vaughn Whittaker
June 5, 2019
I am deeply saddened by this news. Dr. Forde was more than a mentor to me; a friend and roll model; someone whose clinical excellence to emulate. CCNY & P&S. My condolences to his family and all whose lives he touched; we shall miss him deeply. Let us carry on in his model.
Edward H Lowe, M.D.
June 5, 2019
Sincere condolences to family, colleagues and trainees of Dr. Forde. He was my preceptor in P&S surgery rotation back in 1978 and had a great and positive influence on my career. His enthusiasm, optimism and quest for betterment and knowledge were infectious. His influence on modern medical and surgical treatment were huge.
Alan Lipkin
June 4, 2019
Ken was a wonderful friend, mentor, and colleague who will be profoundly missed by all members of our family who were privileged to know him
Henry and Sharon Spotnitz
June 4, 2019
Ken was a rare and magnificent human. It was an honor to have known him as a friend. He was truly loved. Caryl Pareja new york
June 4, 2019
One of the greatest mentors in surgical training and a compassionate physician . He will be missed.
Dr Joanne Starr
General Surgery Class 1996
Joanne Starr
June 4, 2019
My heart is broken. I met Dr. Forde In 1979 when I was suffering from a near-fatal disease of my colon. Dr. Forde saved my life and became a life-long friend who will be truly missed. RIP my friend, may God hold you and keep you.

Until we meet again dear friend!

Joe Kowalczyk
Joe Kowalczyk
June 4, 2019
Dr. Forde was one of the major reasons I chose Columbia (now Vagelos) P&S for medical school. I remember during my interview we talked more about the Yankees and the Orioles than we did about Medicine!

He was a giant in the field of Surgery and inspired awe in all of us who studied under him, but he was at the same time one of the most approachable people I've ever met. We will miss him dearly.
Kimberly Joseph
June 4, 2019
Dr. Forde was a great surgeon and one of the kindest and most genuine humans I have had met. It was a privilege to count him as a teacher and mentor. Although his legacy will endure, he will be greatly missed.
Adam Griesemer
June 4, 2019
Ken was my mentor at Columbia, teacher and friend! He was a giant who was kind, compassionate and wise. Always a kind word for all! I will miss him very much. My condolences to his family!
Philip Caushaj
June 4, 2019
some yeqrs qgo, my own internist referred me to Dr. Forde for a second opinion common procedure. I realized I was in the hqnd of an expert physician, as the entire contqct was handled with grace and tact. subsequently, i learned what a pillqr of the community i had encountered. best wishes to Dr Forde's family and friends.
June 4, 2019
We all stand on the shoulders of giants and Dr. Forde was a true giant for med students at Columbia. Condolences to his family. Thank you for sharing him with us!
Dara Matseoane
June 4, 2019
Ken was a great friend and colleague. I will miss him very much and treasure having known him. My deepest sympathies to your family.
Jeffrey Ponsky
June 4, 2019
As a former patient of Dr. Forde's, I can attest to his skill as a surgeon, his great gift of intuitive compassion and his innate decency. He was a really good human being.
maary Russell
June 4, 2019
My condolences on the loss of this great man and surgeon. May God's grace provide peace and comfort to the mourning loved ones.
Vincent Naman
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