Dedicated student, educator, physician and family supporter, George Henry Koepke died Nov. 26, 2013. He was the first child born on Jan. 1, 1916, in Toledo, Ohio. Gust and Louise (Kutz) Koepke were his parents. His wife, Helen K. LaBoiteaux Koepke, a younger brother, Dr. Charles Koepke, and son-in-law, Lloyd Bunting, preceeded him in death.
He is survived by daughters, Susan M. Healy (David) and Sandra S. Bunting, grandchildren, Robert (Melissa) Healy, Heather (Ken) Caligiuri, Melinda Healy, Lance(Mary Beth) Healy and great-grandchildren Shayle, Allyssen and Kelsey Welch, Lucas and Kate Healy.
Koepke graduated from The University of Toledo (Bachelor of Science) in 1945 and The University of Cincinnati Medical College, (M.D.) in 1949. He was professor of physical medicine and rehabilitation at the University of Michigan and was later chairman of that department. He was on staff at the University Hospital and the Veteran’s Administration Hospital 1954-76. He was U-M’s first medical resident in this young specialty during the polio epidemic of the 1950s and was a member of the team when Dr. Jonas Salk announced the polio vaccine. Koepke developed a division of orthotics and prosthetics for amputees and developed new techniques for respirator-dependent patients. He also worked with burn patients and became a national expert in burn rehabilitation.
Koepke was chairman of the Board of Directors of the American Board of Physical Medicine. He was a senior fellow of the American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation and American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, and an emeritus member of the Ohio Orthopedic Society and The American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicines. He was a founding member and chairman of The American Association of Electrodiagnostics Medicine.
Koepke was a member of the The Hancock County Medical Society (Findlay) and an honorary staff member of The Blanchard Valley Health System, Rotary International (Paul Harris Fellow: twice), The First Presbyterian Church, The Findlay Country Club, The American Medical Equestrian Association, Beacon Club and Who’s Who in Medicine.
Retiring to Findlay to be with his family, Koepke became an avid horseback rider, gardener and made voluntary commitments to the BVHC Medical Library supporting research and continuing medical education. The medical library is named in his honor. He was a mentor in his field.
In lieu of flowers the family requests memorials be made to The First Presbyterian Church of Findlay or The Blanchard Valley Health Foundation designated to “The Physicians Medical Education Endowment Fund” or to “The George and Helen Koepke Endowment Fund” of the Community Foundation.
— Submitted by Suzi Koepke Healy