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In Memory of Jack Githens



Dr. John “Jack” H. Githens passed away November 5, 2014, at the age of 92.  Jack grew up in Philadelphia, received his undergraduate degree from Swarthmore College and his medical degree from Temple University in 1945. After serving active duty in the U.S. Navy, he completed training in pediatric hematology at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. Jack’s love for Colorado, which he discovered on a hitchhiking trip across the United Sates at the age of 17, drew him back in 1950.

Dr. Githens became Chief Resident in the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Colorado School of Medicine and subsequently became Professor in the Department of Pediatrics. Dr. Githens spent a brief period of time from 1960-63 as Chairman of Pediatrics at University of Kentucky Medical Center in Lexington; but returned to his beloved Colorado as the Associate Dean of University of Colorado.

School of Medicine, where he served until his retirement as Professor Emeritus in 1984. He was acting Chairman of the Department of Pediatrics from 1955-56 and again in 1973-74.

Jack was the Founder and Director of the Colorado Sickle Cell Treatment and Research Center. Jack received various distinguished awards during his lifetime including notably, the Governor of Colorado’s Proclamation Award, proclaiming September 28th as Dr. Jack Githens Day in the State of Colorado.

Beyond his distinguished medical career, Jack was an outdoor enthusiast who was passionate about downhill and cross country skiing, fishing for elusive trout in Colorado’s most remote mountain streams, camping, hiking in the National Forests, identifying the best edible mushrooms, and enjoying Colorado’s spectacular sunsets. He cared deeply for Colorado’s environment and the health of its children.

Jack was well-respected and loved, a wonderful father, and good friend to many. He was preceded in death by his high school sweetheart and wife, Virginia (Din) Githens. Jack is survived by son, James Githens, daughter, Wendy Githens Benzerga, five grandchildren and six great-grandchildren. 

Contributions can be made in his memory to the Sickle Cell Treatment and Research Fund, # 0221051, at the C.U. Foundation. The contribution may either  be made online at:   (use the name of the fund and fund # 0221051) ; or by check to C.U. Foundation, 10901 West 120th Avenue, Suite 200, Broomfield, CO, 80021 (use the name of the fund and  fund # 0221051).