Peter Puchner had a distinguished medical career. After graduating from Carleton College, he enrolled in the College of Physicians and Surgeons at Columbia University. Following residency in urology at Columbia, he joined the faculty in 1970, practicing and teaching urology. He eventually became head of the teaching program in that department. Over the course of his career, he received several teaching awards from the medical school. In 2003 he retired from practice, becoming an emeritus professor of clinical urology.
Following his retirement from practice, he was asked to help solve a significant problem related to the advising and mentoring of Columbia’s medical students. After studying the problem, he helped implement a program whereby six senior clinicians were recruited to be advisors and mentors to six groups of students as they begin their matriculation. First and second year students meet with one of the six advisory deans weekly as a group and individually on an as-needed basis. Third and fourth year students meet with their advisory dean on an as-needed basis, mostly on matters related to choosing a career and residency.
Peter continues to serve as chair of the committee that monitors the program. He takes pride in the fact that the program has been emulated in several medical schools across the country. I take pride in knowing a guy who is giving back to the profession that has been the central focus of his adult life.
It has been a sad two weeks in our community with the deaths of three longtime summer residents. Larry Stewart had a distinguished legal career. Among other things he was a past president of the Cleveland Bar Association, the Ohio Academy of Trial Attorneys and the Cleveland Academy of Trial Attorneys. East Chop residents remember him as an avid sailor, golfer and tennis player. I cherished most his sense of humor and his positive outlook on life.
George Sanford had an impressive business career, retiring as president of Pratt and Whitney, a division of United Technologies. As a former officer in the United States Marines, he received a burial with full military honors: bagpipes, a bugler, a riderless horse and a 12-gun salute. Many East Choppers attended the funeral in Glastonbury, Conn. and were deeply impressed with the burial service. George is remembered as a patriot, a devoted family man and an avid golfer. He was also a generous friend. My wife Lyn continues to play golf with his driver.
Finally, Biff Cooper died in Newnain, Ga. after a long struggle with prostate cancer. Biff is fondly remembered as the tennis professional at the East Chop Tennis Club in the 1980s and 1990s. He was a frequent winner of the July and August men’s singles tournament at the ECTC, and played second singles for the University of Virginia in college. We will greatly miss these three members of our community.