Siegfried Max Pueschel, M.D., Ph.D., J.D., M.P.H., died Sept. 2, at the age of 82 years. He was born in Silesia, Germany, on July 28, 1932, to Max and Erna Pueschel.
His family was relocated as refugees to Emsland, Germany, following the end of World War II. He trained as a butcher, baker, and farmer prior to obtaining the opportunity to finish his schooling at Braunschweig College. He then chose to pursue a career in medicine at Dusseldorf Academy, graduating in 1960 with his medical degree. He emigrated to the United States with the assistance of the Ventnor Foundation and began his internship in New Jersey.
There he met his wife of 31 years, Eny Vergara. They had four children, Siegfried Jr., Christian, Pamela, and Jeanette. His later training in pediatrics and biomedical genetics led him to Harvard University's Boston Children's Hospital and McGill University's Montreal Children's Hospital, respectively. He returned to Harvard in 1965 as a professor of pediatrics, where he obtained his Master in Public Health.
After 10 years of clinical service and research, he was recruited to Brown University's Rhode Island Hospital as the director of the child development center. He continued his clinical practice and research authoring hundreds of scientific articles and medical texts. In 1985, he obtained his Ph.D. in psychology from the University of Rhode Island.
He was invited to speak all over the world on the topic of Down syndrome, even meeting with Pope John Paul II and the queen of Spain. His love for children led him to be a strong advocate for children with disabilities. He was involved in multiple organizations including the National Down Syndrome Congress, the National Down Syndrome Society, and the Association for Retarded Citizens.
He partially retired in 1994, becoming a professor emeritus at Brown University, while continuing a part-time clinic and speaking engagements. He added to his prior studies at Southern New England School of Law, graduating with his Juris Doctorate in 1996. He volunteered his medical services for numerous organizations including Special Olympics and Habitat for Humanity, as well as several mission trips organized by Christ Church of East Greenwich.
He was an accomplished athlete running 38 marathons, with a yearly devotion to the Ocean State, Boston and New York events. He enjoyed mountaineering, climbing Mounts Kilimanjaro and Shasta, among others. He did not slow down with age. In fact at age 70, he climbed to the base camp of Mount Everest and obtained his black belt in Tae Kwan Do. He traveled tirelessly, visiting all parts of Europe, China, the Middle East, Central America, Haiti, and the Galapagos. He was a lover of the arts, especially classical music and opera. He was an avid gardener sharing his harvest with neighbors and coworkers. He was known for his energetic and generous spirit.
Due to illness, he retired in January 2013. He finally lost his battle with prostate cancer, leaving his two surviving children, Siegfried R. Pueschel, Jr., of Riverside R.I. and Jeanette Pueschel Larson of Asheville N.C., as well as five grandchildren.
A memorial service will be held at Christ Church, 1025 Main St., East Greenwich, on Saturday Sept. 7, at 11 o'clock in the morning. A reception will follow the service at the same location. In lieu of flowers, donations can be sent to the Down Syndrome Society of Rhode Island, 99 Bald Hill Road, Cranston R.I. 02920.