Wednesday, May 5, 2004

Dr. Donald Ebersold could heal with laughter

Milford physician was also professor emeritus at UC medical school

By Rebecca Goodman
The Cincinnati Enquirer

MILFORD - Donald K. "Doc" Ebersold believed in the medicine of laughter.

Famous for his joke collection and original satirical poems, he once said in a University of Cincinnati newsletter, "I always felt if you could just take someone's mind off (their pain), it would help. And I thought it made the whole process more enjoyable for the patients, as well."

Dr. Ebersold, a Milford family doctor and UC College of Medicine emeritus professor of clinical family medicine, died Friday of heart and lung failure at Jewish Hospital. He was 78.

"He was gravely ill, but was able to voice his choice to minimize treatment in the last few hours of his life," said his daughter Donna Ebersold of San Mateo, Calif.

"He spoke with clarity and courage."

Dr. Ebersold's general practice in Milford was of a bygone era. He delivered babies at patients' homes and often provided treatment for free.

"He practiced by the motto that the doctor's duty is to cure occasionally, to relieve frequently and to comfort always," his daughter said.

Most regarded him not just as a doctor, but as a friend.

"Whether they were sick or not, people wanted to go see him to hear a joke," said his son Thomas Arthur Ebersold of San Francisco.

Dr. Ebersold grew up in Northside and attended Kirby Road Elementary and Hughes High School. He organized reunions for students of both schools and maintained friendships for more than 60 years.

He received his undergraduate degree from the University of Cincinnati and an M.D. from the UC College of Medicine. He served a residency at the old St. Francis Hospital.

After 26 years of solo practice in Milford, Dr. Ebersold joined the faculty of the UC College of Medicine in 1980.

He most enjoyed teaching students how to interview patients and take clinical histories, according to his daughter.

He was also director of the clinic of the UC Department of Family Practice.

Dr. Ebersold was team physician for Milford High School from 1960 until 1977 and a member of the Milford Athletic Boosters Club Hall of Fame.

The Family Physicians Foundation recognized him for 50 years in practice last year and the Ohio Academy of Family Physicians recognized his contributions in 2003.

In addition to his daughter and son, survivors include: Dorazella "Dodie" Ebersold, his wife of 52 years; another daughter, Elizabeth Ann Bowers of Madeira; and three grandchildren.

Visitation is 10 a.m. today followed by the funeral service at noon at Milford First United Methodist Church, 541 Main St. Burial will be at Greenlawn Cemetery in Milford.

Memorials: Milford First United Methodist Church, 541 Main St., Milford, OH 45151 or Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, 3333 Burnet Ave., Cincinnati, OH 45229-3039.

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