Thursday, April 18, 2024

Washburn High School

Class of 1956 - In Memory Of

John Kersey

John H Kersey, MD

Kersey, John H., M.D. age 74, of St. Paul, died on March 10th. Will be greatly missed by wife Anne; son Charlie and daughter-in-law Tzeitel Kersey; daughter Meg Kersey Isaacson and son-in-law Brian Isaacson; son Tim Kersey; grandchildren Marit and Sig Isaacson and Alida and Sadie Kersey; brother Gene Kersey. Graduated from Washburn HS in 1956, Dartmouth College in 1960, and the University of MN Medical School in 1964. Lifelong faculty at the U of MN Medical School, pioneer in pediatric leukemia care and research, and founding director of the University of MN Cancer Center. Loved his family, his work, world travel, his cabin on the north shore, and his more than 50 canoe trips to the Quetico. In lieu of flowers, memorials preferred to the John H. Kersey Chair in Cancer Research (Fund 1149) at the U of MN Foundation. Memorial service Thursday, March 21st at 6:30 pm at the U of MN McNamara Alumni Center. There will be two receptions: one at 5 PM and another immediately following the service. Parking info at

Published in Minneapolis Star Tribune from March 17 to March 21, 2013

Press Release from the University of Minnesota March 13th, 2013

The University of Minnesota suffered a significant loss over the weekend when John Kersey, one of our most respected physicians and scientists, died unexpectedly. John is one of the towering figures in the history of the Medical School. He left a lasting mark as a researcher, as a physician, and as a mentor to those who will now carry on his work.

John was a native Minnesotan who obtained his undergraduate degree from Dartmouth College and his medical degree here at the University of Minnesota. Following his internship and residency in Pediatrics and Pathology, he joined the faculty where he rose from Assistant Professor to Professor in 6 years.

John had a passion for discovery, and he translated that passion into breakthrough thinking and extraordinary results. He was the founder of the University's Blood and Marrow Transplant program, serving as director from 1974 to 1995. He was also the founding director of the Masonic Cancer Center, University of Minnesota, which is one of only 40 centers around the country designated as a comprehensive cancer center by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). John was the driving force that led both of these institutions to become recognized internationally for excellence in cancer treatment and innovation.

The underlying goal for all of John's work was to improve outcomes for cancer patients; his efforts truly changed the field when it came to the treatment of blood cancers. In 1975, John led the team that completed the world's first successful transplant for malignant lymphoma.

Throughout his career, John continued to advance science and improve care for patients with catastrophic diseases. Just as importantly, he served as a mentor to generations of investigators who now work at transplant and leukemia centers throughout the world. John was generous with his time and expertise to provide sage advice and counsel in a manner that was always kind, always enthusiastic, and always focused on the great possibilities that research could bring to patients and families facing cancer.

John's legacy will be measured by the teams of researchers who have been inspired by his spirit, and by the countless patients who have benefitted from his passion, vision and care.

John is survived by his wife, Anne, three children and four grandchildren.

A Memorial Service will be held on Thursday, March 21 at McNamara Center beginning at 6:30 p.m.

Memorials may be directed to the John H. Kersey Chair in Cancer Research, Fund (#1149), at the University of Minnesota Foundation, 200 Oak Street SE, Suite 500, Minneapolis MN 55455-2010.

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