In Memoriam: Edward A. Jaeger, MD
It is with deep sadness that we share the news of the passing of our beloved Director Emeritus of Undergraduate Medical Education, Edward A. Jaeger, MD. Dr. Jaeger passed away peacefully at the age of 88 on Thursday, June 11, 2020. The link to his obituary is here.
For 35 years, Dr. Jaeger was the face of Ophthalmology for generations of medical students from around the country and the world, being introduced to our field, exploring it as a career, and pursuing rotations and training at Wills Eye. “He had such a kind, warm, supportive demeanor and approach to teaching that as a mentor, students
liked him so much, for those not even first considering it, they’d say, ophthalmology is kind of cool,” said Bruce J. Markovitz, MD; Dr. Jaeger’s successor in 2014. Dr. Jaeger often lectured at Sidney Kimmel Medical College but “when students would come to Wills for their skills workshop, or to learn the basics of the eye exam, that’s when he would really shine. He loved one-on-one teaching and always made students feel good – even when they were struggling with something. The impression everyone had was always so positive, it was really something to see,” Markovitz said. “Dr. Jaeger is the reason I became an ophthalmologist,” said Laura J. Heinmiller, MD. “I was a med student doing a quick elective at Wills Eye when this gentle, soft voice asked if I had ever thought about being an ophthalmologist. I never looked back.” And the accolades continue to pour in.
“There was no finer person than Dr. Jaeger. He was the consummate gentleman and human being; he elevated everyone around him. I remember him every day and witness
the long-standing legacy of what he humbly and selflessly created over decades,” said Tara A. Uhler, MD, Director of Resident Education at Wills Eye who worked the closest
with him. “When I count my blessings, I include him.”
In addition to teaching and positively influencing countless students, that legacy at Wills and Jefferson also includes Dr. Jaeger having been an excellent physician, team player and crucial link between the two institutions. “He was committed to providing the best education in ophthalmology to our medical students and improving the learning experience overall,” said Joseph S. Gonnella, MD, Distinguished Professor of Medicine, Dean Emeritus, Jefferson Medical College from 1984-2000. “I relied heavily on Ed’s advice. He was one of the most respected members of our faculty and always did more than his share,” he added.
Dr. Jaeger also supported or volunteered for numerous top national professional organizations including The American Academy of Ophthalmology, The American Ophthalmological Society, American Board of Ophthalmology, and the Pennsylvania Academy of Ophthalmology. He served on University and Hospital Committees, was Co- Editor with Thomas Duane on a 10-volume textbook called Duane’s Clinical Ophthalmology and received many awards for his educational leadership including the
signature Wills Eye Award; the Silver Tray he received in 1998 from then-ConferenceChair, Christopher J.Rapuano, MD. In 2012 a new honor, The Citizenship Award, was
created by Dr. Uhler and is presented each year at graduation in Dr. Jaeger and Dr. John B. Jeffers’ names. “Ed was one of the most high-impact and effective educators and
mentors I’ve ever known, at the same time kind and loyal. Ed was true blue,” said Julia A. Haller, MD, Ophthalmologist-in-Chief, Wills Eye.
As we approach another graduation and incoming class, we remember with great affection and admiration all the ways Dr. Jaeger made a beautiful lasting impact on Wills - for many of us – by just having known him – for his warmth and generosity and especially for those lucky ones who attended annual summer parties at his home on the Jersey Shore. "He was always such a treasured presence at Wills, he will be deeply missed, " said Joseph P. Bilson, Chief Executive Officer, Wills Eye.
Dr. Jaeger is survived by his loving wife Sandra of 59 years, his three children and seven grandchildren. Family services are private.