Dr. Jerome M. Cotler, 85, orthopedic surgeon

Jerome M. Cotler
Jerome M. Cotler
Posted: April 14, 2014

Dr. Philip Marone, team physician for the Phillies from 1972 to 1999, recalled Dr. Jerome M. Cotler as "a great guy, the nicest man you'll ever find."

At Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, Marone said, they shared an office from 1992 to 2002, when Dr. Cotler "was the spine surgeon and I was sports medicine."

Dealing with spinal injuries, "he would get calls all hours" of the night.

"I cherish the times we spent with each other through the years," Marone said.

On Thursday, April 10, Dr. Cotler, 85, of Voorhees, director of orthopedic surgery at Jefferson Hospital from 1986 to 1995, died of multiple systems atrophy at home.

Dr. Cotler was president of the American Board of Orthopedic Surgery in 1982-83 and earned the Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Spinal Injury Association in 2003.

A grandson of Russian immigrant farmers in Cumberland County, N.J., "he worked extremely hard his whole life," daughter Michele Bronkesh said.

"It was all about hard work, academics, and ethics," she said. "He had this really strong moral fiber."

Born in Bridgeton, Dr. Cotler earned a bachelor's in science at Ursinus College in 1948 and graduated from Jefferson Medical College in 1952.

After completing his residencies in 1957, he began as an instructor at Jefferson Medical College and an associate orthopedic surgeon at Jefferson University Hospital.

He became the Dr. Everett J. and Marian Gordon Professor at the medical college in 1991.

He was affiliated with several hospitals in South Jersey and Southeastern Pennsylvania, serving at Elizabethtown Hospital for Crippled Children and Youth as president of its medical staff from 1971 to 1975.

His daughter said that he published "hundreds of clinical research papers and coauthored several orthopedic textbooks" and lectured at scientific conferences worldwide.

He was chairman of the North American Spine Society in 1996-97 and chairman of the board of councilors at the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons in 1975-76.

The Jewish National Fund named him its Man of the Year in 1997; the Arthritis Foundation of Eastern Pennsylvania gave him its Sir John Chamley Award in 2007; and Ursinus College gave him an alumni award in 2003.

Besides his daughter, Dr. Cotler is survived by his wife of 62 years, Florence; son Dr. Howard Cotler; four grandchildren; and a great-grandson.

A graveside service was set for 11 a.m. Sunday, April 13, at Locustwood Cemetery, 500 Route 70 West in Cherry Hill.

Donations may be sent to the Parkinson's and Movement Disorders Program, Jefferson Foundation, Suite 700, 125 Ninth St. Philadelphia 19107.

Condolences may be offered to the family at www.plattmemorial.com.


610-313-8134 @WNaedele

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