Former U.S. Surgeon General C. Everett Koop died at his home in Hanover today. He was 96.
Koop served as surgeon general of the United States from November 1981 to October 1989.
It was during that time when he became known as “America’s Family Doctor.”
Shortly after his tenure as surgeon general was over, he returned to his alma mater. In 1992, he established the C. Everett Koop Institute at Dartmouth College.
Friend and Dartmouth colleague Joseph O’Donnell describes Koop as the founder of the field of pediatric surgery.
“Many of the pediatric surgeons in the country trained under him and he really put that field on the map.”
In the role of surgeon general, O’Donnell says Koop took on issues with courage, such as the fight against tobacco and bringing attention to the HIV epidemic.
But O’Donnell also remembers his friend’s vibrant sense of humor.
“You know, he could always connect with kids and it was because of that genuine heart that he had, a big heart.”
In 1995, Koop was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
His wife of 68 years passed away in 2007. They had three children. He remarried in 2010 and resided in Hanover.