Kenneth J. George, 56, of Philadelphia, a clinical pharmacist with a deeply held compassion for HIV/AIDs patients and the homeless, died Friday, April 28, of cancer at his home.
Four months elapsed from the time he complained of stomach pain to his death, said his husband, William K. Fisher. “It was very quick,” Fisher said.
Mr. George was a clinical pharmacist at the Partnership for Comprehensive Care, a part of Drexel Medicine that is affiliated with Hahnemann University.
In that role, he treated HIV/AIDS patients with complicated pharmacological therapies in a comprehensive-care setting. He recently had branched out to include hepatitis C patients.
“The number of lives that he touched there is immeasurable,” his husband said.
Born at Lower Bucks Hospital in Bristol, Mr. George was the son of Lorraine Ulrich and John L. George.
Mr. George graduated from William Tennent High School in Warminster and earned a bachelor’s degree in pharmacy in 1983 from what is now the University of the Sciences. He returned to the institution in 1999 to earn his doctor of pharmacy degree.
He started his career in 1983 and spent the next six years administering nuclear medicine at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital. From 1989 to 1998, he coordinated home infusion treatments under the aegis of Graduate Health Systems. When he joined the Partnership for Comprehensive Care at Drexel in 1998, he treated those with HIV/AIDS as outpatients. Some of his patients were homeless.
He also published numerous papers on various aspects of AIDS treatment; lectured across the country; taught at Jefferson, Hahnemann, and the University of the Sciences; and served on the advisory board for the Pennsylvania AIDS Drug Assistance Program.
His husband said Mr. George’s “great love for service” was the motivating force behind his work.
“On a difficult hospital evening, a very kind nurse sat on the edge of Ken’s bed, and gently asked him what would be the most difficult part of dying,” Fisher said. “Without hesitation, Ken replied that he 'would not be able to contribute to society' anymore.”
Mr. George and Fisher met in February 1989 through a mutual friend, and spent the next 28 years together. They were married in their Fitler Square living room on Feb. 21, 2015, and had already lived there “for 20 wonderful years,” Fisher said.
Besides his husband and mother, he is survived by two brothers and a sister, three nieces, and four great-nieces and nephews.
Mr. George chose cremation. Plans for a memorial service were pending.
Memorial donations may be made to the Sunday Breakfast Rescue Mission, Box 297, Philadelphia 19105, or via www.sundaybreakfast.org. Contributions benefit the mission’s Health and Growth Center for the homeless. The mission hosts a free weekly health clinic and offers HIV testing, insurance assistance, and some prescriptions.