Dr. Edmund F. Ackell

Dr. Edmund F. Ackell passed away on May 16, 2014 at his home in La Jolla, CA after a lengthy illness. Dr. Ackell, whose parents, Barbara and Ferris Ackell, emigrated from Lebanon, was born in Danbury, CT, on November 29, 1925. He was a pilot in the naval air force during WWII. Assigned to the carrier Tripoli, he flew Corsairs for three and one half years and briefly considered becoming a commercial pilot before attending Holy Cross College where he graduated in 1949. A scholar and an athlete, during his years at Holy Cross Edmund played AA baseball for the Yankee farm team and was a member of the famed Crusaders basketball team (where, he said, he spent much of his time on the bench watching teammates such as Bob Cousy during the 1948 NCAA Men’s Division Basketball Tournament). Perhaps his proudest athletic achievement came on the golf course where, over decades of practice and play, he hit four holes in one and won two cars.

Dr. Ackell earned a doctor of dental medicine degree from Tufts University in 1953 and completed his graduate work at the University of Pennsylvania where he received a fellowship from the American Cancer Society for teaching and research. Following that, he attended Case Western Reserve University where his abilities were recognized with an early nomination to the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society. He received his doctor of medicine degree in 1962. Dr. Ackell’s executive career began in 1966 when he was invited by the University of Florida to help establish colleges of dentistry and veterinarian medicine and where he was soon named Dean and Vice-President for Health Affairs. This led to his appointment as Vice-President for Health Affairs at USC where he served until he was recruited by VCU.

Dr. Ackell integrated his medical background with his interests in health planning. He crisscrossed the globe working as a consultant. For more than twelve years he advised, served on, and chaired committees for health related organizations such as the NIH; the Department of Health, Education and Welfare; the Los Angeles County Steering Committee on health planning; and VA hospital. Internationally, he served as consultant on health planning to the government of the former Yugoslavia where he helped develop a health care plan for the Republic of Montenegro. He was also involved in the establishment of a health care plan for Saudi Arabia and served as a consultant on education to the Israeli Universities study group for Middle Eastern affairs.

Dr. Ackell is survived by his brother Edward F. Ackell and sister-in-law Beverly M. Ackell of Danbury, Ct. He was predeceased by his parents, his sister Najla Ackell O’Dell; and his brother Albert F. Ackell all of Danbury.

A Memorial Liturgy will be celebrated on Saturday, June 14, 2014 at 5 PM in St. Anthony Maronite Catholic Church, 17 Granville Ave., Danbury.

In addition to several nephews and nieces in the Danbury area, Dr. Ackell is survived by his wife Judith Fox of CA and Connie Kelly Ackell, mother of his children Adele Ackell, M.D.; Edmund F. Ackell, Jr.; Brian Ackell; Rochelle Ackell and four grandchildren.

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