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1925 - 2017 Obituary Condolences
Bernard Leon Klionsky MD, of Sq. Hill, passed away on November 12, 2017. Bernie was born in Binghamton, NY on October 8, 1925. He was preceded in death by his beloved Esther, his bride of 66 years. Bernie is survived by Nina (Leon), Matthew (Susan), Ruth (Steven), and Dan (Janee); as well as grandchildren and a great-grandchild. A native of Binghamton, NY, his childhood companions included a future Federal Judge, Ike Margolis, as well as television writer and actor Rod Sterling. Admitted to Harvard at the age of 16, Bernie completed three years of school before entering into the wartime service of his country and becoming one of The Greatest Generation. At the time the United States secret technology was Radar. At the beginning of the war only 79 sets had been installed on naval vessels. There was a great need to train men on radar maintenance and repair. Clearly, thousands of sets would be needed and men to maintain and repair those sets. The Navy sought qualified candidates through the EDDY Exam. Of some 500,000 men to take the exam only 30,000 ultimately finished the intense program to qualify as specialists. Bernie was one of those men. A graduate of Hahnemann Medical College, Dr. Klionsky became the Directory of Laboratories at Magee- Women's Hospital and Professor of Pathology at the University of Pittsburgh Medical School. He created a centralized system of clinical laboratories for all the hospitals affiliated with the University of Pittsburgh. His research included isolating and characterizing the chemical structure of the stored lipid in a rare metabolic disease. He was a technological innovator introducing computers into his laboratories. Dr. Klionsky was for many years the Vice-Chairman of the Department of Pathology and President of the Department's practice plan. During a 1974 sabbatical he set up a Department of Pathology for the New Ben Gurion Medical School at Beersheba in Israel. Amongst his numerous accomplishments were the invention of the open-top cryostat for rapid diagnosis of tissues from the operating room, forever changing surgical pathology. Instead of applying for a patent the cryostat designs were sent to two manufacturers so the device could be manufactured and sold for a lower price. Versions of the design are still in use today. In addition, he identified the chemical structure of the lipid in tissues of patients with Fabry's disease, and contributed to the understanding of the pathogenesis of yellow hyaline membrane disease and the associate low bilirubin kernicterus, present at autopsy in many premature infants. His collaboration with his clinicians and contributions to the understanding of the biochemistry brought an end to those conditions. A lifetime supporter of the arts and a passionate supporter of the State of Israel, Dr. Klionsky established a charitable foundation that will continue to support his vision of the way people should humanely interact with each other. Graveside Funeral Services will be held on Tuesday, November 14, 2017, at Homewood Cemetery at 3:30 p.m. Arrangements were entrusted to the GESHER HACHAIM JEWISH BURIAL SOCIETY. Contributions can be made to YPS Synagogue, 6404 Forbes Ave., Pittsburgh, PA 15217 or to The Klionsky Family Science and Literature Scholarship established at The American Hebrew Academy Co/ The American Hebrew Academy , 4334 Hobbs Road, Greensboro, NC 27410.
Published in Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on Nov. 14, 2017
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