'Old-school' doctor tackled genetic disorders
By Rick Wills
Published: Saturday, March 23, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
Years after he closed his pediatric practice, Dr. Kenneth Garver's former patients still greeted him when he was out in public.
“People really remembered him. He was a brilliant man with a big heart. ... He made house calls long after everyone else stopped. He never charged the poor,” Karen Santorum said of her father.
Dr. Kenneth L. Garver, who lived in Oakland and who for many years lived in Penn Hills, died at home on Thursday, March 21, 2013. He was 90.
Dr. Garver was the father-in-law of former Pennsylvania U.S. Senator and presidential candidate Rick Santorum.
Dr. Garver was a 1940 graduate of Central Catholic High School in Oakland. He earned a full scholarship to the University of Pittsburgh, where he graduated summa cum laude. He also graduated from Pitt's medical school.
Dr. Garver served in the Army for 10 years, three on active duty as a captain.
For 17 years, Dr. Garver practiced pediatrics in Penn Hills, where his interest in genetic diseases and defects took root, his daughter said.
At 43, Dr. Garver closed his practice and earned a doctorate from Pitt's Graduate School of Public Health.
He founded the medical genetics department in Magee-Womens Hospital, which later merged with UPMC. Dr. Garver created the genetics program at West Penn Hospital, said Dr. Alan Lantzy, vice chairman of pediatrics there, who worked under him for a time.
Dr. Garver retired in 1993.
“He was one of those classic, old-school pediatricians. If he got a call on a cold snowy night, he'd go out to someone's house,” said Dennis Kusturiss, a Pittsburgh lawyer and a son-in-law.
Dr. Garver was married to Betty Lee Garver for 67 years.
Dr. Garver had deep affection for the Santorums' daughter Bella, who is 4 and suffers from Trisomy 18, a rare genetic disorder. “He loved her like crazy,” Karen Santorum said.
In addition to his wife and his daughter Karen Santorum, Dr. Garver is survived by children Kenneth Garver Jr. of New Wilmington, MaryBeth Kusturiss of Bethel Park, James Garver of Point Breeze, Kathleen Lamb of Wexford, Maureen Schwartz of Charlotte, Bob Garver of Moon, Bill Garver of Penn Hills, Susan Rickerl of Reynoldsburg, Ohio, Michael Garver of Johnstown and Paul Garver of Scott. A son, John Garver, preceded him in death. He had 32 grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.
Friends will be received from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday in John A. Freyvogel Sons Inc., 4900 Centre Ave. at Devonshire Street. A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 2 p.m. Saturday at St. Paul Cathedral. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Good Samaritan Hospice or St. Paul Cathedral.
Rick Wills is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7944 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Steelers safety Polamalu finds himself in tough position
- Kovacevic: A great day to appreciate No. 68
- LeBeau wants to come back as Steelers defensive coordinator
- Pitt’s Donald sweeps Outland, Bednarik awards, named All-American
- Power play, penalty kill help put Penguins on another 100-point pace
- Man wounded in Mt. Lebanon apartment shooting
- Penguins notebook: Popularity with female fans brings test event to Consol
- Duo sought in spate of Greensburg graffiti
- Pirates claim 3 pitchers in minor league Rule 5 draft
- Pair jailed in Hempfield drugstore robbery
- Steelers notebook: Cutting down turnovers, sacks hasn’t led to victories