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John W Athens

October 2, 1923 ~ June 1, 2017 (age 93)

John William Athens M.D.

John William Athens (Jack) age 93, much loved husband, dad, grandpa and great grandpa passed away in his home in Salt Lake City, UT on June 1, 2017, after living a long, happy, and accomplished life. Jack was born in Buhl, MN to A.G. (Mike) and Rachel Y. Athens and spent his formative years in Duluth, MN. His younger sister Ann Athens Leavenworth preceded him in death on April 25 of, 2017 and, his younger brother Thomas C. (Jean) Athens of MN survives him. Jack graduated from the University of Michigan, attended The University of Indiana, and graduated from the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in Baltimore, MD.

Jack met Georgia Rauch while they both attended Johns Hopkins. They were married on July 2, 1949 in Bethlehem, PA.

Jack served as a Lt. in the Navy and Captain in the Army at Walter Reed Medical Center in Washington, D.C. In 1949, he completed a medical internship at Peter Bent Brigham Hospital in Boston, MA and a Post Doctorate Fellowship with the Atomic Energy Commission at Johns Hopkins in 1950.  From there, the Jack and Georgia Athens family’ moved to Salt Lake City so Jack could study and complete his residency with Maxwell Wintrobe at the Salt Lake County General Hospital, which later became the University of Utah Medical Center Hospital. Jack and Georgia made a home in Salt Lake City where their children were born and raised. He also spent a lot of time at his ranch in Fairview, UT.  Jack served as Division Chief of Hematology at The University of Utah Hospital from 1967-74 then served as Department Chief of Hematology / Oncology at the University of Utah. from 1974 until he retired in 1991.  Jack co-wrote, edited and authored the book Clinical Hematology for many years. Many of the clinical papers he authored on treating blood disorders, are considered classics. Jack’s approach to patient care was personable, compassionate, calming, and realistic, and his patients and their families loved him.  Retirement didn't slow him down as he continued attending medical rounds at The University of Utah School of Medicine, U Med, asking questions, and keeping up on the latest information until he died. Jack enjoyed gardening, skiing, hiking, backpacking, fishing, horseback riding, and camping, and wind surfing. He especially enjoyed duck hunting at the Rudy Duck Club along with a lot of other outdoor activities, many of which he practiced up until the time of his passing. He taught us to be good stewards of the earth, we learned to always completely put out our campfires and bring out all our trash when we camped and backpacked and to be good stewards of the earth. . He composted before composting was cool. He was a fun guy to be around and always told great stories. Our dad taught us many valuable life lessons and we will miss his “Heimlich” big, giant hugs that knocked the wind out of the lucky recipients.

Survived by his wife of almost 68 years, Georgia R. Athens.  Children, Joan (Sherwin) Knudsen, Kathy (Steve) Sedlacek and Corey (Genevieve) Athens. Grandchildren, Kelly Knudsen, Dane (Keri) Knudsen, Anna (Kyle) Looper, Mark (Leslie) Sedlacek, Claire Athens and Cole Athens, great granddaughters, Olivia and Everly Knudsen and Baby Girl Looper due in August. He died with his boots on, as he wished.

In lieu of flowers, kindly consider donating to the University of Utah Medical Center, Hospital Division of  Hematology, in the name of John W. Athens M.D..  Any questions may be directed to Brian Davis, Director of Development, Department of Internal Medicine, University of Utah, at (801) 587-7903.

Online Condolences and memories may be shared at aspenfh.com


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