Dr. David A. Ontjes, who served as Chair of the Department of Medicine from 1981 to 1989, died on May 7. Ontjes specialized in endocrinology, diabetes, and metabolism. A memorial service will be held at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, May 13, at the University Presbyterian Church, 209 East Franklin Street in Chapel Hill.
A memorial service will be held for Ontjes at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, May 13, at the University Presbyterian Church on Franklin Street in Chapel Hill. Due to heavy anticipated traffic related to commencement activities, memorial service guests will also be able to park at the University United Methodist Church and Holy Trinity Lutheran Church.
A native of Kansas, Ontjes attended medical school at Harvard, following a Rhodes Scholarship. He completed residency training at Boston City Hospital and a fellowship at the National Institutes of Health, before joining the UNC School of Medicine faculty in 1969.
Stuart Bondurant, MD, former UNC School of Medicine Dean, recruited Ontjes to Chapel Hill.
“David Ontjes was a thoughtful and considerate man and an outstanding clinician, investigator and teacher. He guided the department of medicine and helped to guide the medical center to its current outstanding state,” Bondurant said.
A Distinguished Professor and former Medicine Chair, Dr. Ontjes encouraged and vigorously supported collaborations within the School of Medicine, leaving behind a legacy of contributions.
“Dr. David Ontjes embodied the spirit of collegiality that is the hallmark of our institution,” said Department of Medicine Chairman Dr. Ron Falk.
To recognize these contributions to the Department of Medicine, an intern is annually selected to receive the Ontjes Resident Award. Criteria include excellence in research and academics as well as outstanding service to others. At the recent 2017 Residents Award Ceremony, four residents were acknowledged for their performance and qualities that best exemplify the legacy of Dr. Ontjes.
“Dr. Ontjes participated in the education of countless medical students, residents and fellows,” said Andrew Greganti, MD. “He also recruited and helped mentor many faculty members. I know that he would say his involvement in the professional and personal development of physicians was a highlight of his career.”
The legacy of Dr. Ontjes is also celebrated throughout the year with the Ontjes Resident as Teacher lectures on effective teaching methods, lifelong learning, and other topics related to medical education. These lectures are made possible by a fund that was endowed by Dr. Ontjes.
Dr. David Ontjes will be sorely missed. A memorial service will be held at 10:30 am on Saturday, May 13, at the University Presbyterian Church, 209 East Franklin Street in Chapel Hill.
The following obituary appeared in the News and Observer:
David Ainsworth Ontjes, 79, a long time professor of Medicine at UNC, lost his battle with cancer on May 7, 2017.
He was an excellent student, graduating with Highest Distinction from the University of Kansas as a part of their Honors program; attending Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar and graduating in the First Class, Final Honors School of Physiology, and graduating Magna Cum Laude from Harvard Medical School. After his internship and residency at Boston City Hospital, he spent three years as a commissioned officer in the US Public Health Service doing research at the NIH in the laboratory of Dr. Christian Anfinsen.
In 1969, he joined the medical faculty at UNC School of Medicine, contributing as Professor of Medicine; Chief, Division of Endocrinology & Metabolism; Chairman, Department of Medicine; Chairman, UNC Physicians & Associates Executive Committee; and Eunice Bernhard Distinguished Professor of Medicine. He was board certified in Internal Medicine, Endocrinology & Metabolism, and Geriatrics.
Each year, at UNC, the David A Ontjes Award is presented to residents who exhibit excellence in research and academics as well as outstanding service to others. In addition, David personally initiated and funded the David Ontjes Residents Teacher Lecture Fund on effective teaching methods, lifelong learning and other topics related to medical education. He also initiated the “David A. Ontjes, MD Honors Opportunity Fund” at the University of Kansas to fund special opportunities for the University of Kansas undergraduate Honors students.
Always a dedicated gardener, David also enjoyed sailing, wind surfing and kayaking. He often entertained his family and friends with his sly sense of humor. In recent years, David and his wife of 13 years, the former Joan Troy, have traveled both domestically and internationally with both bicycle and choral groups. They performed regularly with Voices (formerly Chapel Hill Community Chorus) as well as the Prime Time Players, a group of older adults who perform humorous musical shows in support of the local senior centers.
In addition to his wife, Joan, David leaves behind his four children, Linden Ontjes of Asheville, Sarah Ontjes Lynch and her husband Greg of Charlotte, Ethan Ontjes and his wife Stacia of Raleigh, and Jason Ontjes and his wife Jennifer of Orcas Island, Washington; step-children Leslie Tsui and husband Walter of Wellesley, MA, as well as Clark Troy and his wife Mary of Chapel Hill; grandchildren Austen and Claire Lynch; Olivia, Noah, and Max Ontjes; and Roan, Finn, and Wren Ontjes; step-grandchildren Daniel and Caroline Tsui; Natalie and Graham Troy; his sister, Carolyn Ontjes Falletta and her husband John of Chapel Hill; his brother, Robert Samuel Ontjes and his wife Judy of Hutchinson, Kansas, along with their children and grandchildren; and Sherri Ontjes, his former wife..
A memorial service will be held at 10:30AM on Saturday, May 13, at the University Presbyterian Church on Franklin Street in Chapel Hill. Memorial contributions may be made to the University of Kansas, KU Endowment in support of the David A. Ontjes, MD Honors Opportunity Fund and sent to KU Endowment, PO Box 928, Lawrence, KS, 66044 or The David A. Ontjes Residents as Teachers Lecture Fund, The Medical Foundation of NC, 880 Martin Luther King Jr Blvd, Chapel Hill NC 27514.