George Manstein, 99, who lent financial support to Israel’s Shaare Zedek Medical Center and Philadelphia-area Jewish institutions while enjoying a decades-long career as a plastic surgeon in the region after emigrating as a child from what is now Ukraine, has died.
Dr. Manstein, of Abington, died Dec. 2 of end-stage senile deterioration of the brain.
He had worked for more than 40 years in the plastic surgery department at Philadelphia’s Einstein Medical Center until the late 1990s, more than half of that time as the unit’s chair, his son, Mark “Rick” Manstein, said Sunday. He worked for several more years after that at Holy Redeemer Hospital in Montgomery County.
Dr. Manstein, whose father was a tailor, was born Dec. 25, 1917, in a small village near the city of Lviv in modern Ukraine, which he fled with his family as a young boy following the Russian Revolution. He first arrived in Buenos Aires before reaching the United States in 1922, his son said.
Dr. Manstein graduated from Central High School when he was 15, having skipped two grades, and enrolled at the University of Pennsylvania, where he earned a medical degree in 1941.
He returned to Penn to study surgery after serving as an anesthesiologist in the U.S. Army’s medical corps during World War II, then joined Einstein in 1956 as what would for years be its only plastic surgeon.
Aside from his local work, Dr. Manstein retained a longtime affiliation with Israel’s medical and plastic surgery communities after going to the country in the weeks following the Six Day War of 1967 to aid those injured during the conflict.
He and his wife, Marial, a chemist who died last year, were avid donors to Jerusalem’s Shaare Zedek hospital, which named its plastic and maxillofacial surgery and microsurgical unit for the couple. Dr. Manstein also served as a member of Shaare Zedek’s International Board of Governors and was the first non-Israeli member of the Israel’s professional society for plastic surgeons, son Mark said.
Local institutions supported by Dr. Manstein included Beth Sholom Synagogue in Elkins Park and what is now the Abramson Center for Jewish Life senior care facility in North Wales.
Mark Manstein, who shared a practice with his father, said that the elder Dr. Manstein enjoyed being able to reap the financial successes of the practice, but that he also loved the work itself. “It was much less of a business and really like a friendship with the patients,” he said.
“He liked to make people happy,” said a grandson, Joshua Tartakovsky.
In addition to son Mark, Dr. Manstein is survived by sons Carl and Robert, daughters Celia and Joanne, and 18 grandchildren. He was buried Dec. 3.