1932 - 2019
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NOVITCH Avrum Mark Novitch Died on September 16, 2019, age 87, of complications from Myelodysplastic Syndrome (MDS). A physician and retired executive, Mark is survived by his wife of 48 years, Louise; daughter, Julia; sister, Beth Rossheim of Williamsburg, VA; and several nieces and nephews. His brother Joel predeceased him. Mark was born on April 23, 1932 in New London, CT to Charles and Mary Novitch. He graduated from Bulkeley School in 1950, Yale University in 1954 (BA), and New York Medical College in 1958 (MD). He served his medical residency at Boston City Hospital until 1960. Various fellowships and assistantships followed throughout most of the 1960s at Peter Bent Brigham Hospital in Boston, MA and Harvard Medical School. He held a lifelong love for both New London and Boston. Mark moved to Washington, DC in 1967 and began a remarkable career of public service when he joined the US Department of Health, Education, and Welfare as Assistant to the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Health and Scientific Affairs. He was Assistant Staff Director of the Task Force on Prescription Drugs from 1967 to 1969. In 1970, he became a Federal Executive Fellow at the Brookings Institution. A year later, in 1971, he joined the US Food and Drug Administration as Deputy Associate Commissioner for Medical Affairs. He became Deputy Commissioner in 1981. In 1982, he spearheaded urgent policy changes during the "Tylenol Crisis," leading to breakthroughs in medical and food safety packaging. He served as Acting Commissioner of the FDA in 1983 and 1984. In 1985, Mark began his career in the private sector when he joined The Upjohn Company in Kalamazoo, MI as Corporate Vice President. He retired in 1994 as Vice Chairman, Board Member, and Chief Compliance Officer. Mark believed strongly in giving back to one's community and became very active in local affairs. He served on the Board of Trustees at Kalamazoo College and as Chairman of the fundraising campaign for the Kalamazoo Valley Public Museum. For a decade, Mark served first as President of the US Pharmacopeia, then as Past President and Member of the Board of Trustees. After leaving Upjohn in 1994, he returned to Washington, DC as Adjunct Professor of Health Care Sciences at George Washington University and served on various boards throughout the US. Mark loved to travel, and his work took him to a multitude of places around the world. He was a keen reader of history and a passionate collector of medical books and antiquities. He always maintained an inquisitive mind. Mark devoted his working career to public service, believing passionately in and striving for accessible, affordable health care for all. Anyone who knew him, casually or personally, witnessed a man who treated all people with equal kindness and respect. Around 2005, he retired from public life to spend more time with his family. People who knew him well marveled at his humility and integrity. Demonstrating this humble quality, in death as in life, he requested no memorial services. His family would like to extend a special thanks to the Infusion Center at Sibley Memorial Hospital and to the blood donors who gave the family more time together.His family would like to extend a special thanks to the Infusion Center at Sibley Memorial Hospital and to the blood donors who gave the family more time together.

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Published in The Washington Post on Sep. 22, 2019.
No memorial events are currently scheduled. To offer your sympathy during this difficult time, you can now have memorial trees planted in a National Forest in memory of your loved one.
Memories & Condolences
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6 entries
September 16, 2020
Thinking of you today,Louise. Be well
Doreen Rusch
October 6, 2019
Mark and I, together with Dick Crout, arrived at the Food and Drug Administration to begin our work there on the same day: Monday, September 6, 1971. We have been good friends ever since. I shall miss our continuing lunches and mutual interest in FDA greatly.
Peter Barton Hutt
September 25, 2019
Louise, Julia & Beth,

I have been deeply saddened by Mark's passing and I still am dealing with the realization that a wonderful man, a life long friend of over 80 years, an outstanding public servant, a person who worked to improve the health of all, a devoted husband, father and brother has left us. From Harbor School, thru Bulkeley High School to many visits in DC and numerous calls, letters and emails we remained good friends always talking about current events, family and the state of affairs in our home town of New London, CT.
The thoughts and comments from others who have shared them about Mark on this site are "right on".

Rest in Peace, Avrum Mark Novitch.
Saul Fern
September 23, 2019
Louise, Nancy and I wanted to share our thoughts with you and your family on your husband's passing. The obituary was very informative but, we suspect, could have been dramatically enlarged if it included just half of what he did with his life. What an exciting and loving life you and he shared. We hope your memories will bring you great joy in the years ahead. Bill
William Montwieler
September 23, 2019
Dear Louise,
I am so sorry for your loss . What an illustrious career Mark had. I know you are so proud of him. Even more importantly, he was a wonderful human being.
Please know you and your family are in my prayers.
Fondly, Doreen Rusch
Doreen Rusch
September 22, 2019
Dear Louise, Ann and I were deeply saddened to learn of Avie's passing. Avie and I became "best friends" in the fifth grade at Harbor School in New London and went on to Bulkeley School together where we founded and edited the school newspaper. In between, there were many other boyhood adventures and Monopoly games. Our paths diverged as our careers took us in different directions,but, as you know, we reunited for a bit here in Washington. Avie's medical and business skills were superb, but his finest quality was his care, kindness,compassion and humanity. I shall miss him. The world will miss him.
Ann joins me in expressing our deepest sympathy to you.
Bruce Lane
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