Obituary: Robert Joseph Kerin, the first orthopedic surgeon in Milford

Robert Joseph Kerin passed away peacefully on March 19, 2014, surrounded by his family, including his wife of 57 years, Claire Kerin, as well as his two sons, Michael Kerin and Philip Kerin, and his two daughters, Claire Ourfalian and Melissa Kerin. In addition to his wife and children, he is survived by five grandchildren.

Robert Kerin was born in New Britain, CT, on January 12, 1924, graduated from New Britain High School in June of 1941, then matriculated to Wesleyan University in September 1941. Several months later, World War II was declared, and in early 1942, he enlisted in the United States Navy, where he was assigned to the Medical Corps and to the V-12 Program in the Navy.

He completed his course work at Wesleyan in two and a half years, and entered Yale School of Medicine in December 1944 at the age of 19. After graduating from Yale in 1947, he had a rotating internship at the Rhode Island Hospital, and a year of surgical training at Grace New Haven Hospital.

In 1950, he joined an Arctic expedition, sponsored by the United States Navy and the National Geographic Society under the command of Donald V. Macmillan, an early Arctic explorer. His 88-foot schooner, The Bowden, was able to sail within 660 miles of the North Pole, at which point the thick ice prevented further travel north.

In 1950, the Korean Conflict erupted, and he enlisted in the United States Air Force, where he was assigned to the Medical Corps and was discharged with the rank of Captain. In January of 1953, he began a residency at The Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City, finishing early in 1956. That year, he sailed on the Moore McCormack Line as the ship’s surgeon for a short time, traveling to South America.

In 1956, he accepted an appointment as an instructor of orthopedic surgery at Case Western Reserve, and in 1957, was appointed as an Assistant Professor at the Yale School of Medicine, where he remained in academic medicine for another year. In 1958, he opened a private practice, becoming the first orthopedic surgeon in Milford, CT.

Robert Kerin was certified by the American Board of Orthopedic Surgery, a member of the Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, and a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons. Robert Kerin was also the author of articles that had been published in The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, The Journal of Hand Surgery, The American Journal of Surgery, Bulletin of American College of Surgeons, Connecticut Medicine, and Medical Economics.

He also published three books, entitled Medicine In Milford: Memories & Myths, The Man In Mankind, and 60 Timely Thoughts In 60 Minutes. In June of 2012, he was honored by the Yale School of Medicine when he received the Distinguished Alumnus Award for outstanding service rendered to the school.

A Funeral Service will be held Saturday March 22, 2014 at 9:00 am in The First United Church of Christ, 34 W. Main St. Milford. Interment will follow in Milford Cemetery.

In Lieu of flowers, donations can be made to CT Hospice, 100 Double Beach Road, Branford, CT 06405., or First Baptist Church, 28 North St. Milford 06460.

The Smith & Sefcik Funeral Home, 135 N. Broad St. Milford is in charge of arrangements.

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