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Gilbert "Gil" H. Friedell, M.D.

Gilbert "Gil" H. Friedell, M.D.
  • February 28, 1927 - September 23, 2018
  • Charleston, South Carolina
  • In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to:
  • The Gilbert H. Friedell Resident Scholar in Cancer Prevention and Control Fund
    Univ. of Kentucky - Markey Cancer Center - ATTN: Elisha Maxson
    800 Rose Street
    Lexington, KY 40536

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“I just finished a book by Garrison Keillor, "Homegrown Democrat," inscribed to Gil: "To Gil Friedell,many thanks for the trip to Norway," signed ...Read More »
1 of 6 | Posted by: A friend

“It was a blessing to have gotten to know Dr. Friedell during my post-doctoral fellowship in 2002-2004 at the University of Kentucky. I had just...Read More »
2 of 6 | Posted by: Kimberly Kelly - Morgantown, WV

“Gil was just beginning community outreach efforts in Eastern Ky. I was teaching Public Health Nursing at Berea College and working closely with Judy...Read More »
3 of 6 | Posted by: Judy Myers Myers - Lexington, KY

“I worked with Dr. Friedell when I came to UK and I have great memories of our time together. One of those memories was when he would go on overseas...Read More »
4 of 6 | Posted by: Janet Jones - Lexington, KY

“I worked with Dr. Friedell From 1998 until 2011 when I retired from the Kentucky Cancer Program. He was a great man working tirelessly for the...Read More »
5 of 6 | Posted by: Diane Watson - Lexington, KY

“I had the pleasure of working with Dr. Friedell for many years. His dedication was evident in the work he did for others. Thinking of you during...Read More »
6 of 6 | Posted by: Beth Potter - Lexington, KY

Gilbert (Gil) H. Friedell, age 91, passed away peacefully on September 23, 2018. Gil was born on February 28, 1927, the second son of Emma and Aaron Friedell. An avid student, he attended Harvard College in 1943 at the age of 16 and graduated from the University of Minnesota in 1950 with his B.S., M.B., and M.D. degrees. Gil received his medical training in pathology in Boston, and served as a physician in the U.S. Navy Reserves.

He is survived by Jan, his wife and partner of 67 years, and four of their five children. Sadly, in 2016, their eldest son, Mark, passed away. He is survived by his daughter-in-law, Donna Friedell of Orlando, FL, son Ben (Diana) of Oneonta, NY, daughter Anne Lewis of Charleston, SC, son James (Laurie) of Newton, MA, and daughter Sarah O'Connell (Brian) of Somerville, MA; as well as seven grandchildren and one great-granddaughter.

During his expansive medical career, Gil worked tirelessly in the field of medicine and consistently placed an emphasis on reaching the medically underserved. At St Vincent's Hospital in Worcester, MA, Gil served first as Chief of Pathology and then Medical Director while serving as Executive Director of the National Cancer Institute National Bladder Cancer Project and Professor of Pathology at University of Massachusetts Medical School from 1971 to 1983. Gil became the first Director of the Markey Cancer Center at the University of Kentucky in 1983, co-founding the Kentucky Cancer Registry and serving as the Principal Investigator of NCI's Mid-South Cancer Information Service and Co-Director of an expanded statewide cancer control outreach program. In 1994, along with his colleagues, Gil started the Kentucky Home Place to facilitate greater access to healthcare for the rural poor. They also established Indian Summer, a camp for children living with cancer.

After his "retirement" from the Markey Cancer Center in 2000, Gil continued his passion of educating communities and individuals about public health issues in underserved communities. He also co-authored a book on diabetes control The Great Diabetes Epidemic: A Manifesto for Control and Prevention published in 2014. Gil also helped launch a 501(c)3 committee to educate public health departments and others with a call to action for public involvement. The group was later named the Friedell Committee for Health System Transformation, and much of Gil's focus was with that organization's work until his last days. Gil was the recipient of numerous awards, including honors from Planned Parenthood (1995), the Avon Foundation (1996), the Susan G. Komen Foundation (1998), the American Cancer Society (1998), as well as the Dorothy Height Lifetime Achievement Award from the Intercultural Cancer Council (2004). He authored over 200 articles in medical publications and served on numerous public health committees at state and national levels throughout his career.

To those who knew him, Gil will be remembered for his wise personal and professional counsel, incisive questions, wit, infectious chuckle, poetic annual holiday letters and fondness for bowties.

A memorial service will be held in Charleston, SC in the fall with details to follow.

Gil dedicated his life to transforming inequitable systems to make the world a better place.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to:
The Gilbert H. Friedell Resident Scholar in Cancer Prevention and Control Fund
University of Kentucky
Markey Cancer Center
800 Rose Street
Lexington, Kentucky 40536
Attention: Elisha Maxson

"I am no longer accepting the things I cannot change. I'm changing the things I cannot accept." - Angela Davis