Left to right: Gerald Kerby, MD; Steven Simpson, MD; Arlis Kerby

In memoriam: Gerald Kerby, MD

Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine

On June 12, 2013, we received news that Gerald Kerby, MD, a dear friend and member of our faculty, passed away at home. Dr. Kerby has been a pillar within the Department of Internal Medicine and Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine at the University of Kansas Medical Center (KUMC) for 48 years with 36 of those years as a full professor. He is survived by Arlis, his wife of 55 years, children, Gwen, Patrick and Allyson and 7 grandchildren. 

Dr. Kerby was born in Wakefield, Kansas on October 3, 1932; he graduated from Wakefield High School and began his undergraduate studies at Washburn University. He graduated with honors from the University Of Kansas School Of Medicine in 1958.  He entered the Navy immediately thereafter, completing his internship at the Naval Hospital in Bethesda. He returned to KUMC to a residency in Internal Medicine and fellowship in Pulmonary Medicine and in 1965 accepted a position as instructor within the Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine at KUMC. He quickly moved through the ranks to full professor and over his tenure, served as a mentor for over 150 pulmonary fellows and innumerable students and housestaff.  

Dr. Kerby pioneered multiple aspects of pulmonary medicine still active today including the nasal approach to bronchoscopy, the application of noninvasive positive pressure ventilation by mask, as well as groundbreaking work on tubercular lung disease through his time spent at the Muirdale Tuberculosis Sanatorium in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. His Grand Rounds lecture focused on his experiences in building the history of pulmonary medicine lecture at KUMC and was followed by the dedication of the KUMC Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine Fellow conference room as the Gerald and Arlis Bergsten Kerby Conference Room. 

    During his career, Dr. Kerby received a pulmonary academic award from the National Heart and Lung Institute at the NIH. He also served as an honorary senior fellow at Brompton Hospital in London, England under the tutelage of Dr. Margaret Turner-Warwick. Additional awards include the ACP Fellow, Master Clinician and Laureate awards, governor of the Kansas ACP Chapter, and the Mahlon H. Delp award for Clinical Excellence in 2008. His leadership in pulmonary organizations reached national and international levels in his role as treasurer of the Board of Directors of the American Thoracic Society. 

Dr. Kerby had recently attempted to retire, but he continued to come to work, maintain a clinic and be available for questions regarding the most difficult of cases. At the same time, semi-retirement gave him more time for his other interests; he was an Eagle Scout and served as a volunteer physician at the Philmont Boy Scout Ranch in New Mexico for more than 20 years, where Jerry and Arlis made a second home. Family time with Arlis, his children, their spouses, and his 7 grandchildren were an important part of his life. 

    Dr. Kerby will always have a place in our hearts and be sorely missed by the University of Kansas Medical Center, and our Department faculty and learners. For those wishing to honor Dr. Kerby’s legacy, his family has requested that donations be made to the Gerald and Arlis Kerby Fund in Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine. To help support endowing their fund at the professorship level, please visit http://www2.kumc.edu/internalmedicine/pulmonary_giving.html or contact Bruce Broce, Development Director of Internal Medicine, at bbroce@kuendowment.org or 913-588-5960.