Skip to content
Link copied to clipboard

Jack Rosenberg, 83, surgeon who took up running

In the 1970s, when he was in his 40s, Jack Rosenberg decided to give up swimming and start running every day.

In the 1970s, when he was in his 40s, Jack Rosenberg decided to give up swimming and start running every day.

The kind of man who "never did anything in a mediocre fashion," in the words of his daughter, Anne, the surgeon ran eight miles each morning along Route 130 from his Mount Laurel home to his office, at what was then Rancocas Valley Hospital in Willingboro.

Each morning his wife, Sylvia, to whom he was married for 57 years, would be waiting at his office with his suit. After work, he'd run home.

The 16-mile daily run, which replaced swimming "because he said he could never talk to anyone," let him qualify for marathons up and down the East Coast, including Boston, where his best time was 2:37, his daughter said.

Jack Rosenberg, 83, a surgeon who in 1961 with 10 other physicians founded what is now Lourdes Medical Center in Willingboro and who served on its staff for 35 years, died Saturday in hospice care after a long illness.

He was born in Philadelphia, earned his undergraduate degree at Pennsylvania State University, and started medical school at Indiana University but switched to Thomas Jefferson in Philadelphia.

It was while he was a resident at the Albert Einstein Medical Center's Northern Division that he met his future wife.

In the late 1950s, when Willingboro was still known as Levittown and that area of Burlington County was growing, Dr. Rosenberg and his fellow doctors decided a hospital was needed.

"As kids, we watched them build it," Anne Rosenberg said. "It was like watching someone building a house."

The group of doctors was "a very close community," she said. "They worked hard to treat people."

Recently, the hospital, which had reconfigured the front area where Dr. Rosenberg's offices had been as an outpatient facility, recognized his contributions by placing a portrait of him there, she said.

Whenever Dr. Rosenberg took on a new challenge, he always gave the effort 100 percent, his daughter said.

"He was running when few people did, and everyone who saw him knew him," Anne Rosenberg said. "No was not in his vocabulary."

He also was a master bridge and chess player, avid photographer, and an eager learner who traveled to Princeton University for night-school classes in many subjects unrelated to medicine.

Dr. Rosenberg traveled the world, too, his daughter said, eventually visiting every continent - except Antarctica - accompanied by his wife and four grandchildren.

"He gave them the choice of Antarctica or Dubai, and they chose Dubai," his daughter said.

In addition to his wife, daughter, and grandchildren, Dr. Rosenberg is survived by a son, Harold; another daughter, Joan, and three brothers.

Graveside services will be observed Monday, May 6, at Crescent Memorial Park in Pennsauken.