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Richard P. Wedeen ’51

January 19, 1934 - January 26, 2022

 

As reported by Christian Wolff ’51


Many years passed before I saw Dick Wedeen after Friends, at several of our reunions, maybe 10 years or so ago (Steve Chinlund was the organizer). I remember him as mentally lively and interested in our various lives, and modest about what must have been a successful medical career. He really won my heart when he turned up in Brooklyn (he came over from New Jersey) to attend a concert of my music. I caught him just before it began and realized he had no idea what he was in for, so I tried to orient him a bit (my music is experimental and not easy listening). I don't think he had any particular interest in music (but I'm not sure). Mostly in this case he came out of curiosity and in support. A very generous thing to do.

 

Published by New York Times on Feb. 13, 2022

Richard P. Wedeen, M.D., passed away Wednesday, January 26, 2022, after a difficult battle with COVID-19 pneumonia at Holy Name Hospital in Teaneck, N.J., the town he resided in since 1969. Dr. Wedeen attended Friends Seminary in NYC, Harvard University class of 1955, and NYU Bellevue Hospital Medical College class of 1959. He was an internist and nephrologist, and Professor of Medicine and Professor of Occupational Medicine at UMDNJ (New Jersey Medical School), and Associate Chief of Staff for Research & Development at the VA New Jersey Health Care System. Dr. Wedeen was the author of Poison in the Pot: The Legacy of Lead, and creator and co-editor of Toxic Circles - Studies in Occupational & Environmental Hazards from the Workplace into the Community. Richard, commonly known as Dick, always loved a good discussion, mentoring and becoming lifelong friends with students. He was a founding member and past president of the New Jersey History of Medicine Society, and an enthusiastic participant in the Collegium Ramazzini, a society concerned with ethics and health in public policy. Through Operation Crossroads Africa, he led a medical team in Nigeria in 1964 and also worked as a doctor in Sierra Leone and Ghana, subsequently winning grants for medical care and research. Dick was a man of research and science, a lover of the arts and the cultures of humanity. He was an adventurous world traveler, collector of art treasures, and a prize-winning photographer of people and their creative works in Africa and Central and South America. Dick was also a talented sculptor. As an athlete he loved skiing and cycling until hampered by Parkinson's. Dick was the beloved husband of 64 years to Roberta Rubien Wedeen, a loving father to son Timothy and daughter-in-law Christine Kavanagh, and a delighted grandfather to their daughters MacKenzie and Tierney Wedeen. He was a cherished brother to his sister Joan Wedeen Blumenfeld, now deceased. He is mourned by nieces Karen Blumenfeld and spouse Andrew Nierenberg; Laurie Russo and husband Robert Russo; and by nephews Eric Blumenfeld, David Rubien, Andrew Rubien and partner Christine d'Ascoli. Patriarch of a warm extended family, Dick will be sorely missed by family, friends and colleagues. "Good night, sweet prince, And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest!"


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