Michael Lee Schorr, 62, of Wayne, a surgeon at Suburban Community Hospital in Norristown and mentor to hundreds of surgical residents, died Saturday, Jan. 5, after a three-year battle with stomach cancer at his home.
Dr. Schorr was a general surgeon at Suburban for 36 years, ending in 2017, when he developed complications from cancer. As a clinician, he treated all patients with the same kindness and compassion, said Rahjana Chaterji, a breast surgeon in Westchester County, N.Y. and his former surgical resident.
But it was in running the hospital’s surgical residency program that he found his calling, Chaterji said. She trained with Dr. Schorr from 2008 to 2013.
“He meant a great deal to me,” she said. “I would not be a surgeon without him. Before it became in vogue, Dr. Schorr was one of those people who looked at you as a human being. He got to know all residents and would call us in for meetings regularly to see how things were going at work and at home.”
His wife, Melissa Rose Schorr, said Dr. Schorr kept in touch over the years with many of his trainees.
Born in Philadelphia and reared in Trevose, Dr. Schorr graduated from Neshaminy High School and Villanova University before earning a medical degree in 1982 from the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine. He completed a surgical residency at Suburban Hospital.
In addition to performing surgery at Suburban, he was affiliated with Einstein Medical Center Montgomery and had a surgical practice linked to Suburban.
Steve Schorr, Dr. Schorr’s younger brother, said the surgeon balanced his work with devotion to his family and sports.
“The most important thing was his wife and daughter,” Meredith Rose, his brother said. “He and his wife were like two peas in a pod, like peanut butter and jelly. He and his daughter watched movies and read books together. ... He loved the Flyers and the Villanova Wildcats. He was a huge Philadelphia sports fan.”
Dr. Schorr didn’t stop at spectator sports, however. He met a group of friends for a 6 a.m. ice hockey game three times a week. He also enjoyed playing golf.
In memory of a patient who had died from cancer years before, Dr. Schorr began riding in the annual American Cancer Society bike-athon to the Jersey Shore in 1993. He organized hundreds of riders to join his team and raised thousands of dollars for the society.
When Dr. Schorr was diagnosed with Stage IV cancer in 2016, his surgical residents honored him by forming a team called "To the Shore for Schorr.” Although the cancer had begun to spread rapidly in the summer of 2018, he still managed to ride 20 of the 60 miles to the Shore.
Early in his fight with cancer, Dr. Schorr was paralyzed by Guillain-Barre syndrome, a condition in which the body’s immune system attacks the nerves. In the fall of 2016, he became wheelchair dependent. Doctors sent him to Bryn Mawr Rehab Hospital, where he stayed for two months.
“He absolutely wouldn’t give up; his attitude was unbelievable,” said Ellen Rose, his mother-in-law.
Dr. Schorr committed to a demanding physical therapy regimen. He used the hospital pool for aquatic therapy and joined the facility’s golfing group. “Golfing is a hobby of mine,” he told MainLine Health in a patient spotlight posted on Jan. 25, 2017. “The fact that I was in a wheelchair didn’t stop me from doing something that I liked.”
Dr. Schorr was so thrilled to walk again that, once discharged, he returned to Bryn Mawr Rehab and volunteered, helping newly diagnosed patients get acclimated.
He is survived by his wife of 39 years, his daughter, two brothers; a sister; his parents David and Beverly Schorr; and a nephew.
Funeral services will be held at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 9, at Main Line Reform Temple, 410 Montgomery Ave., Wynnewood. Interment will follow at West Laurel Hill Cemetery in Bala Cynwyd.
Memorial donations may be made to the American Cancer Society via www.cancer.org/.