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C. Everett Koop (October 14, 1916 – February
25, 2013)

Charles Everett Koop was born in
Brooklyn, New York in 1916. In 1937 he earned his A.B. degree from Dartmouth College. He earned his MD degree from Cornell Medical College in 1941 and his doctor of science degree in medicine from the University of Pennsylvania in 1947. Koop developed an interest in medicine after a young Koop had to spend a year in hospital from a skiing accident that led to
a brain hemorrhage.

From 1946 to 1981, Koop worked as the surgeon-in-chief at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. In 1959, Koop became a professor of pediatric surgery; in 1971, a professor of pediatrics at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. Great, right, but what is a surgeon and a professor doing in a celebrity blurb? Koop was nominated as the 13th Surgeon General of the United States under President Ronald Reagan from 1982 to 1989. The AP (Associated Press) has called Koop “the only surgeon general to become a household name.” Koop is most known for his work preventing tobacco use, AIDS and abortion. He was a tireless supporter for the rights of disabled children. (Funny how one event from your childhood can reshape your entire life!)

Koop was married to Elizabeth with whom he shared two sons. In 1968, their son David was killed in a rock climbing accident on Cannon Mountain in New Hampshire. His son Norman became a Reverend. In April 2010 he married his second wife Cora Hogue. At a 2010 news conference, Koop spoke from a wheelchair to reveal that he was “very, very deaf” and legally blind. He was 94 years old.

On February 25, 2013, Koop died at his New Hampshire home at age 96. He had been ill for quite some time and suffered from kidney failure.