Dr. Roy Korson – Shelburne

Dr. Roy Korson, 90, died Aug. 24, 2013, in the company of relatives and friends in Shelburne at the Wake Robin Senior Living Community. Along with his wife, Lorraine, who survives him, he lived for more than six decades as an accomplished and respected member of the Burlington community. Roy Korson was born Oct. 24, 1922, in Philadelphia, Pa., to David and Sarah Korson. His father was a sales representative for several motion picture companies, and his mother raised Roy and his three siblings. After graduating from Olney High School in Philadelphia, he majored in biology at the University of Pennsylvania and received his M.D. in 1947 from Jefferson Medical College of Philadelphia. Dr. Korson was a resident in pathology at Mary Fletcher Hospital. He became a full-time faculty member at the University of Vermont College of Medicine in 1951 and was a professor in the Department of Pathology until he became emeritus in 1992. He served in the U.S. Army Medical Corps during the Korean War. He dedicated his efforts after that to clinical pathology at Fletcher Allen Hospital and teaching medical students at the University of Vermont. Dr. Korson was a research fellow in the U.S. Public Health Service at Columbia University and UVM, and was the recipient of a Research Cancer Career Development Award (1958-63). He was also a visiting scientist at the Postgraduate Medical School in London (1961-62). Dr. Korson’s longstanding interest in the basic mechanisms of carcinogenesis led to many publications as well as serving as a member of the ACS national Board of Directors. In addition to research, Dr. Korson was recognized by his colleagues and students as one of the outstanding teachers at the College of Medicine, receiving many awards throughout his career including two Teacher of the Year awards. Dr. Korson also provided for a legacy of his dedication to teaching and scholarship: in 2012, he and his wife established the Roy and Lorraine Korson Green and Gold Professorship in the Department of Pathology at UVM to promote academic excellence. UVM students and the Medical School were extremely fortunate to have Roy Korson as a Pathology professor. He was always available for his students and will be remembered for his patience and for his clear, rational explanations to their questions. In addition to his reputation as an outstanding teacher and skilled clinician and researcher, Dr. Korson served for many years as treasurer of the medical staff at Fletcher Allen Health Care. He achieved such impressive investment returns that the staff was able to donate one million dollars to the Dr. John Herschel Davis Auditorium, and his humorous quarterly treasurer’s reports were legendary among his colleagues. On the personal side, Dr. Korson was a respected role model, entertaining humorist, and a wonderful friend. He taught his students much more than science, providing a model of respect for others and an example of what it means to live a principled, humane life. He also had a sly sense of humor. Roy would often unexpectedly pull a harmonica from his pocket and play musical medleys and was famous for his renditions of popular TV commercials. Whatever the setting, he was always the life of any gathering. Roy was an active member of Ohavi Zedek Synagogue; he enjoyed music and theater, gardening, and stamp collecting. Dr. Korson is survived by his beloved wife, Lorraine; sister, Ruth Gardiner of Portland, Ore.; brother, Donald and wife, Betty Jeanne, of suburban Philadelphia and Cape Breton Island; as well as several nieces and nephews. He will be missed by his many close colleagues and friends. The family is grateful for the kindness of the staff at Wake Robin and Roy’s doctor and friend, Dr. Frank Landry.

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