Emile Eugene Werk Jr., 93, endocrinologist and professor of medicine

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Emile Eugene Werk Jr.

Emile Eugene Werk Jr., 93, died July 17, 2016, at his home in Wilmington, N.C.

Dr. Werk, a native of Cincinnati, Ohio, was an endocrinologist and professor of medicine who devoted his career to clinical research, patient care and the training and education of new physicians. He possessed an extensive medical background marked by numerous highly distinguished staff positions. After completing a research fellowship in metabolism under the renowned Dr. Frank Engle at Duke University Hospital in 1954, he joined the Veterans Administration Hospital in Cincinnati, Ohio, as chief of the metabolism section. Nine years later, he was named associate chief of staff for research at the hospital.

From 1964 to 1965, he served as director of medical education at Cincinnati’s Christ Hospital and research associate at Christ Hospital Institute of Medical Research. Later in 1965, Dr. Werk was appointed director of the endocrinology laboratory at Cincinnati General Hospital.

In 1972, he left Cincinnati for Wilmington, N.C., to serve as chief of the University of North Carolina Medical Service at New Hanover Memorial Hospital (now New Hanover Regional Medical Center), and to establish a medical resident training program through the state’s newly formed Area Health Education Center (AHEC) program.

Through Dr. Werk’s supervision and direction, hundreds of physicians received their graduate medical training through the Wilmington-based AHEC program, which he led until 1986. He continued to work part-time at New Hanover Memorial Hospital until retiring in 1994.

Dr. Werk received his undergraduate degree from Williams College in Massachusetts in 1944. He received his medical degree from the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine in 1946. From 1946 to 1947, he served a rotating internship at the Medical College of Virginia Hospital in Richmond, Va. He completed his medical residency at the Medical College of Virginia Hospital and at Cincinnati General Hospital.

Beginning in 1948, he served two years as a captain in the U.S. Army Medical Corps, through which he was stationed at Camp Pickett in Virginia and in Bremerhaven, Germany.

Throughout his medical career, Dr. Werk authored or co-authored more than 60 articles in medical journals; wrote, co-wrote and/or presented more than 40 medical papers; and delivered hundreds of teaching lectures.

Dr. Werk was an avid sports fisherman, sailor and musician. While living in Cincinnati, he sailed Snipes, annually taking part in regattas on freshwater lakes in Ohio and Michigan. Upon his move to North Carolina, he transitioned to sports fishing — cruising the coastal waters off of Wrightsville Beach in search of King Mackerel. He spent decades playing the banjo, and often visited Wilmington-area retirement homes with fellow musicians to entertain residents.

Many of the Werk family’s favorite memories were spent with Dr. Werk on vacation at Walloon Lake in upper Michigan, sailing in the Bahamas and on other trips to the Bahamas and the Caribbean.

He was born August 8, 1922, the son of Emile E. and Viola Werk. His only sibling, Sara Werk Headley, died in 2006.

Dr. Werk is survived by his loving wife of 64 years, Dorothy Rodgers Werk of Wilmington, N.C.; sons, David Michael Werk (Cheyenne), Stephen Rodgers Werk (Lynn) and Thomas Alan Werk (Paula); daughter, Susan Marie Werk (Patrick Culton); grandchildren, Jean-Michel, Stephan, Emily, Caroline, Allison, Collins, Lauren and Jenna; and two great-grandchildren, Mariella and Emilia.

The Werk family expresses its deepest thanks and appreciation to Lower Cape Fear Hospice and for the love and devoted care provided by Dr. Werk’s caregivers over the past many months: Ginger Desfonds, Ramona H. Jones, Debra McKoy, Jennifer Lowery and Josie Walton. A special thanks to Dr. James McCabe, Dr. Werk’s primary care physician and friend for 22 years.

A memorial service will be at 2 p.m. Saturday, July 23, 2016, at St. James Episcopal Church. A reception will follow at the church. Burial will take place at Spring Grove Cemetery in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Gifts in Dr. Werk’s memory may be made to the American Diabetes Association, Lower Cape Fear Hospice, or a charity of one’s choice.