Ernest Louis Mazzaferri, Sr, MD, MACP, of Henderson, Nevada, passed away peacefully at home on May 14, 2013 after a short illness, surrounded by his family. He was born September 27, 1936 in Cleveland, Ohio. Dr. Mazzaferri spent most of his medical career at The Ohio State University, serving as Division Director of Endocrinology from 1974-1978, then Chairman of Internal Medicine from 1984-1999, during which time the Department of Medicine grew fivefold. From 1978-1984, he was Chairman of Internal Medicine at the University of Nevada-Reno, serving as Acting Dean from 1979-1981.
Dedicated Veteran, Researcher, Educator, Scholar
Dr. Mazzaferri earned his MD degree at The Ohio State University in 1962. After a year of internship at Ohio State, he proudly served as a Captain in the United States Air Force from 1964-1966, and as a Lieutenant Colonel from 1970-1972. He continued to serve in the U.S. Army Reserves, and on active duty status, served during Desert Storm as a Colonel at Madigan Army Medical Center in Seattle, Washington. His military career concluded with the Meritorious Service Medal in 1991.
Dr. Mazzaferri was a dedicated researcher, educator, and scholar. With an uncompromised drive to provide excellent care for patients, he led by example training and educating generations of physicians to do the same. Friend and former colleague Richard Kloos, MD, of Ohio Statue University said “Ernie is remembered as a caring and talented physician, an accomplished scholar and educator, as well as a loving husband, father, and grandfather. He was a luminary figure, and few people have had a greater impact in thyroidology.1”
Dr. Mazzaferri was generally regarded as one of the world's experts on thyroid cancer. He won the prestigious Paul Starr Award from the American Thyroid Association in 2009 for his fundamental contributions to improving the care of patients with thyroid cancer. Under his leadership, Ohio State became a world-class center for the study of thyroid disease. In 2009, Dr. Mazzaferri was awarded the Ohio State University Distinguished Service Award. He was elected as a Master in the American College of Physicians in 1996.
After a romance that began in the ninth grade, Ernie married Florence Marolt, his best friend and lifelong partner, on November 23, 1957. Dr. Mazzaferri is survived by his wife, 4 children, 14 grandchildren, and 6 great-grandchildren. Above all of his accomplishments in medicine, Dr. Mazzaferri was especially proud of the thousands of students, interns, residents, and fellows that he mentored throughout his illustrious career; however, he always said that his marriage to his wife and the accomplishments of his children were his greatest achievements in life.
1. Kloos RT, et al: Ernest L. Mazzaferri, MD, MACP (1936-2013). Thyroid 23:917-923, 2013.
Adapted from The Columbus Dispatch, May 19, 2013.