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Starzl family: He was a 'force of nature'

| Sunday, March 5, 2017, 10:06 a.m.
Joy and Dr. Thomas Starzl were among the guests attending the 1879 Founders' Circle Dinner at the Heinz History Center in the Strip District on Nov. 21, 2014.
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Joy and Dr. Thomas Starzl were among the guests attending the 1879 Founders' Circle Dinner at the Heinz History Center in the Strip District on Nov. 21, 2014.

The family of Dr. Thomas E. Starzl issued the following statement upon his death on Saturday.

“Thomas Starzl was many things to many people. He was a pioneer, a legend, a great human and a great humanitarian. He was a force of nature that swept all those around him into his orbit, challenging those that surrounded him to strive to match his superhuman feats of focus, will and compassion. His work in neuroscience, metabolism, transplantation and immunology has brought life and hope to countless patients, and his teaching in these areas has spread that capacity for good to countless practitioners and researchers everywhere. With determination and irresistible resolve, Thomas Starzl advanced medicine through his intuition and uncanny insight into both the technical and human aspects of even the most challenging problems. Even more extraordinary was his ability to gift that capacity to those around him, allowing his students and colleagues to discover the right stuff within themselves. Nobody who spent time with Thomas Starzl could remain unaffected.

Thomas Starzl is a globally recognized pioneer in science and medicine, but beyond that mantle he was simply known and loved for the person that he was. He was husband and soulmate to Joy Starzl; father to Tim Starzl (Bimla), Thomas F. Starzl and Rebecca Starzl; grandfather to Ravi Starzl (Natalie); and godparent to Lamont Chatman and Angela Ford. He was deeply loved for his tremendous wit, humor and sensitivity. His traits of humility, keen observation and seemingly limitless memory fused to create a unique personality that was at the same time inspiring and comforting. His drive to always remain in motion led him on grand adventures around the world, from his beloved Colorado Rockies to the sea of Japan, from the tundra of northern Finland to the beaches of Monaco. He had an expansive knowledge and appreciation for all music, from classical to modern jazz. He enjoyed watching and analyzing movies, often researching their production and topic matter for hours, both before and after repeated viewings. He raised and cared for many canine companions, including Bevo, Thor, Maggie, Tiki, Shelby, Basta, Chooloo and Ophelia. Their unconditional love was matched only by his own love for them. He will be greatly missed.”

Starzl is survived by his wife of 36 years, Joy Starzl, of Pittsburgh; son Timothy (Bimla) of Boulder, Colo.; and a grandchild, Ravi Starzl (Natalie) of Pittsburgh. He was preceded in death by a daughter, Rebecca Starzl, and a son, Thomas F. Starzl.

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