Dr. Herbert Mark ’42, Devoted Alumnus and Class Leader
Dr. Herbert Mark ’42, a devoted College alumnus and Class of 1942 leader, died on January
5, 2006. He was 84 and lived in Tuckahoe, N.Y. Classmates will remember Mark from his regular attendance
at Homecoming, his work on the Class of 1942 Newsletter and his CCT Class Notes columns, which he
had written since 1987.
Mark was a member of the freshman fencing and track teams and later became sports editor of Spectator.
He served on the Senior Advisory Council, was a ZBT brother, worked on the Varsity
Show and was a
member of the Columbia University Players. He was a Gold and Silver Crown recipient.
Mark earned a B.A. in pre-med and graduated from Downstate Medical Center. He became an Army medical
officer during WWII and went to Japan in 1946 on the troop ship Stetson Victory; he was stationed
at the 49th General Hospital in Tokyo. After returning stateside, Mark was in private practice in
White Plains, N.Y., from 1951–64 and was a cardiologist who often advised his patients, “Never
be an interesting case.” His next position, which he held until 1969, was as full-time medical
director at Coler Hospital on Welfare Island and at Montefiore-Morrisania in the Bronx.
From 1969–75, Mark was appointed to and worked at the New Jersey Medical School (now the
University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey). There, he worked alongside his best friend,
Dr. Melvin Hershkowitz ’42, and the two jointly published several articles in medical journals.
Mark then left the New Jersey Medical School and became chief of medicine at the Bronx VA and
professor of medicine at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine. He retired from both institutions in
1990 after a distinguished career, during which he also served as a v.p. of the American Heart Association
and was active on its research committees. Mark made significant contributions to the study of congenital
heart disease in adults and published a lead editorial in the New England Journal of Medicine on
the effects of cocaine on the heart.
Mark’s love for Columbia was strong, and he attended every Homecoming and was a regular
reunion participant. He often went on road trips with Hershkowitz to Columbia football games at Harvard,
Yale, Brown and Princeton. The class’ pre-game tailgates at Baker Field, often with Gerry Green ’42
and Ray Robinson ’41, “were great fun and lessened the pain,” Hershkowitz noted.
When Class of 1942 President Vic Zaro passed away in 2002, Hershkowitz succeeded him as president
and Mark was confirmed as class secretary and correspondent. “Herb’s writing and editing
skills were vital in producing the class newsletter during the past three years,” said Hershkowitz,
who was one of 10 speakers at a memorial for Mark held at the Columbia Club on February 4. “I
had seen this talent many years ago, when Herb and I worked together at the New Jersey Medical School … He
was a superb organizer of complex data and an excellent narrative writer.”
Mark’s interests included photography and classical music, and he was devoted to his family
and to Columbia. Hershkowitz said, “Herb’s devotion to Columbia was unwavering and widely
recognized by friends, family and members of the Columbia faculty and administration. His personal
qualities of courtesy, probity, decency, gentle humor and wisdom in daily life were extraordinary.”
“Herb quietly wove his way into the hearts of others,” observed Art Wellington ’42.
Mark is survived by his wife of 60 years, Avra Kessler ’45 Barnard; sons, Peter, Thomas
and Jeremy; daughters in-law, Odile, Amyjane and Marilyn; eight grandchildren, including Christopher
Mark ’02; and brother, Stanley. Memorial contributions may be made to the Columbia College
Fund or to Student Advocacy.