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Reflections
Jan 2012

In Memoriam: John Albert Kirchner, MD (1915-2011)

Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2012;138(1):9. doi:10.1001/archoto.2011.230

John A. Kirchner, MD, 96 years old, was Chief of the Section of Otolaryngology at Yale Medical School, New Haven, Connecticut, from 1951 through 1980 and was an internationally recognized pioneer in laryngology and cancer research. Born March 27, 1915, in Waynesboro, Pennsylvania, the oldest of 4 children, Dr Kirchner grew up in Lancaster. After graduating from high school, he hitchhiked across the country, foreshadowing his lifelong love of travel. Among his many adventures, he spent a week in a Tennessee jail after being arrested for hopping a freight train. This was during the Depression, and one of the enduring lessons Dr Kirchner learned was that the most generous people were often those who had the least.

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