American Surgical Association Transactions

Search Transactions

1933 - 2020

Jeremiah G. Turcotte, M.D., 1933-2020

Jeremiah George Turcotte, M.D., University of Michigan Professor Emeritus of Surgery, died peacefully at age 87 on February 12, 2020, in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Jerry was born on January 20, 1933, in Detroit, Michigan.

He graduated from De La Salle Collegiate as valedictorian in 1950. At Michigan, he earned his B.S. with high distinction, Phi Beta Kappa, Phi Kappa Phi, receiving the Phi Sigma Award. He earned his M.D. cum laude as president of the class of 1957, receiving the Oreon E. Scott Award. A true Michigan man, Jerry completed his internship and surgical residency at University of Michigan in 1963, and was honored with the Intern-Resident Outstanding Achievement Award. In 1958, Jerry married Claire Lenz, also a Michigan graduate. Jeremiah G. Turcotte, M.D., enjoyed a distinguished career at the University of Michigan. He was the 12th Chairman of the Department of Surgery, 1974-1987, and the second Frederick A. Coller Professor of Surgery, 1978-1989. He was a pioneering transplant surgeon. Dr. Turcotte was a founder and Director of the Surgical Transplant Program, 1964-1984, and Director of the Organ Transplantation Center, 1984-1996.

In 1964, as a 31-year-old first-year faculty member, Dr. Turcotte performed the first organ transplant at Michigan, a kidney, the first in the state of Michigan. In 1985, he performed the first liver transplant at Michigan as well. Throughout his career, Dr. Turcotte practiced general and transplant surgery; he was devoted to Michigan, academic medicine and his patients. His major investigative interests focused on transplantation of the kidney, pancreas and liver, prognostic indices for liver disease, portal hypertension, and bioethics.

As Chairman, he dramatically modernized and expanded the Department of Surgery so that excellent faculty could be hired and clinical and laboratory research advanced. An internationally recognized general and transplant surgeon, Dr. Turcotte was Director of the American Board of Surgery, a Governor of the American College of Surgeons, and President of the Central Surgical Association, the Coller Surgical Society, the American Society of Transplant Surgeons, and the United Network for Organ Sharing. Throughout his career, Dr. Turcotte was revered as a visionary leader. In 1970, he received Michigan's Henry Russel Award for Distinguished Achievement in Scholarly Research, and in 2004, the Medical Center Alumni Society Distinguished Service Award. In 2005, the American Society of Transplant Surgeons honored him with the Pioneer Award. In 2006, the Jeremiah and Claire Turcotte Professorship in Transplantation Surgery was inaugurated.

Dr. Turcotte retired on 2001 and became a Professor Emeritus of Surgery.