Dr. John W. Duckett, World Leader in Pediatric Urology

John W. Duckett, a world renowned urologist and professor in the medical school, died on February 24 at the age of 60, from a sudden onset of acute respiratory failure.

Dr. Duckett was also director of urology at CHOP and a contributor and editor of numerous pediatric and urologic texts.

A native of Dallas, Dr. Duckett received his B.A. from the University of Texas in 1958; four years later he earned his M.D. from Johns Hopkins. He also earned an M.A. at Penn in 1971 and attended the Wharton School's Advanced Management Program in 1988.

Dr. Duckett began his postgraduate training in 1962 with a surgical internship at Boston's Brigham Hospital, where he returned for a residency in 1965, following service as captain in the U.S. Army's Surgical Research Unit at the San Antonio Burn Unit from 1963 to 1965. In 1966-67, he held pediatric surgery residencies at Boston Children's Hospital.

He returned to Dallas for a urology residency at Parkland Hospital in 1967-69 and a pediatric urology residency at the Children's Hospital of Dallas in 1968. He was senior registrar at the Hospital for Sick Children in London in 1969 and was named chief resident in urology at Parkland Hospital in 1970.

Dr. Duckett came to Penn medical school in 1970 as assistant professor of urology. That year he was also named assistant surgeon in urology both at HUP and CHOP. Dr. C. Everett Koop, former surgeon-in-chief at CHOP and former surgeon general of the United States, as well as the man who recruited Dr. Duckett to CHOP, described him as "... a most caring physician and beloved by his patients. His innovations in pediatric urologic surgical techniques brought children to him from as far away as Australia, Alaska, Germany, Panama and Saudi Arabia. Dozens of urologists from around the world came to observe his work."

In 1972, CHOP named him senior surgeon and the director of its urology division. In 1974, he became associate professor of urology at the medical school, and, in 1981, he was made professor of urology. During his tenure at the University, Dr. Duckett also held urological consulting positions at the Children's Seashore House, the U.S. Naval and Pennsylvania Hospitals, Presbyterian-Penn Medical Center and the Alfred I. duPont Institute.

Dr. Duckett was a member of several professional and scientific societies including the American Surgical Association; American Board of Urology; American Urological Association; Society of Pediatric Urology, where he was president 1989-90; American Academy of Pediatrics, where he was chair of the urology section, 1979-82; John Morgan Society; and the Philadelphia Urological Society, where he was president 1985-86. In 1992, he was peer selected in the Woodward/White "The Best Doctors in America."

"At the time of his death," wrote Dr. James O'Neill, Jr., surgeon-in-chief at CHOP, "he was at the height of his career, recognized as the leading children's urologist of our generation without any question. A man of superior intellect, he also had creative and conceptual talents that he shared unselfishly with others from all over the world. He took pleasure in seeing his complicated patients get well and his trainees succeed."

With his great enthusiasm and love for his work, Dr. Duckett built the pediatric urology service and training at CHOP to one of the most respected in the world. He also aided in the planning of their ambulatory care center. "He brought a flare for the imaginative combined with an inclination for the pragmatic to the process," said Edmond F. Notebaert, President and CEO of CHOP. "His contributions to the well being of The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia complimented his extraordinary surgical and teaching skills."

Dr. Duckett is survived by his wife, Margaret (Peggy), two sons, Jon Warner and Christopher Pace, his sister and father-in-law. A memorial service is scheduled to be held at CHOP on March 31 at noontime.

Maestro Lajos Csiszar, a retired fencing coach, died of heart failure on February 20, at the age of 93. Known as "Maestro" and regarded as one of the all-time great fencing coaches, he coached men's and women's fencing at Penn from 1948 to 1974.

In 1928, Maestro Csiszar studied with one of the world's greatest fencing coaches, Italo Santelli, and became a teacher at his school in Budapest. During this time, Maestro Csiszar attended the University of Budapest, earning his degree in 1932. When Mr. Santelli died in 1945, Maestro Csiszar took over the development of Hungary's championship teams.

In 1947, Maestro Csiszar came to Penn as an assistant professor of physical education. As head coach, he guided the fencing team to two NCAA team championships (1953 and 1969) and coached nine NCAA individual champions as well as 17 All-Americans. The 1953 NCAA title was the first national championship won by any Penn varsity team. Maestro Csiszar was twice named NCAA Coach of the Year (1967 and 1973).

He also founded and coached the Salle Csiszar Club in order to heighten fencing interest in the Philadelphia area. The Maestro was an Olympic coach in 1956, coach of the U.S. team in the 1970 world championships, a Pan-Am coach in 1971 and an advisor to the U.S. team in Munich.

Last April, Maestro Csiszar was honored for his remarkable career with his inclusion into the inaugural class of Penn's Athletic Hall of Fame. More recently, the U.S. Fencing Association bestowed him an honorary life membership.

Maestro Csiszar is survived by his wife Margit, their daughters Dora Beothy and Agnes Bakken and grandchildren. The University will hold a memorial service during the NCAA regional fencing championships.

Alzie Jackson, 69, a noted Philadelphia milliner who was also houseman, chef, and brother of the Tau Epsilon Phi fraternity, died on February 15 due to an apparent heart attack.

Mr. Jackson arrived at Penn in 1957 and became an integral part of the Tau Epsilon Phi house, befriending and mentoring the members of the fraternity, recalls Bob Holtz, C'71. In 1992, during a celebration of his 35th anniversary with the house, he was formally inducted into the fraternity.

Mr. Jackson was born in Camden in 1927. Family financial circumstances forced him to leave school at 16 and he went to New York City. Living in Harlem, he observed that women in the neighborhood seemed to love hats--so he taught himself to make them, and supported himself by selling them himself. He continued his hat-making throughout his lifetime, selling at first from from his home workshop and later from a shop in West Philadelphia.

His creativity caught the eye of the fashion community,winning high acclaim and numerous fashion awards for his designs.

His creations appeared in a millinery exhibit at the Philadelphia Museum of Art in 1993. Following the exhibition, the Moore College of Art invited him to teach a millinery course, which he had been doing ever since. He also conducted numerous hat-making workshops for various organizations, and was particularly delighted in teaching his skills to junior high school students who would visit his home workshop for class trips.

Mr. Jackson, predeceased by his close friend and former wife, Millie, is survived by his children, Leslie Johnson, David Jackson, and Tina Sorrell; two sisters and several grandchildren. One grandson, Ari Johnson, a Haverford Prep senior, was admitted early decision to Penn's class of 2001.


Volume 43 Number 24
March 4, 1997

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