In Memoriam

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John R. Goldsmith ’42

John R. Goldsmith ’42, October 22, 1999, in Omer, Israel, where had lived since 1978. He was an environmental epidemiologist and retired professor of epidemiology at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. He graduated from Harvard Medical School in 1945, interned at the University of Chicago, and worked for several years in the Veteran’s Administration. He and his wife, Naomi, also a doctor, then moved to Salem, Oregon, where they opened a family practice and began raising their family of four children. In the ’50s, he received fellowships from the University of Washington and Harvard, where he began his long career in the epidemiology of respiratory diseases. In 1957, the family moved to Berkeley, California when he accepted a position with the California Health Department to head research on the health effects of air pollution. While with the health department, he held a number of temporary posts both in the U.S. and in Europe. In 1964, he served for two years as the first environmental epidemiologist at World Health Organization headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland. He was a visiting professor in Stockholm in 1968 and 1970, and worked for two years with the National Cancer Institute, studying environmental causes of cancer. In 1978, he joined the medical faculty of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Beersheba, Israel, where he remained until his retirement. He was the author of four books and hundreds of research papers and was a founding member and president of the International Society for Environmental Epidemiology. Survivors include his wife; two daughters, including Rosi Goldsmith ’71; two sons; and nine grandchildren.

Appeared in Reed magazine: February 2000

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