C. Knight Aldrich, MD

Class Year



Posted on: November 20, 2017

C. Knight Aldrich, 103, died on Friday, November 3, 2017, at Westminster Canterbury of the Blue Ridge in Charlottesville, Va.

He was born on April 12, 1914, in Chicago, the son of L. Sherman Aldrich and Bessie Knight Aldrich. He is survived by his daughter, Carol Barkin and her husband, Coleman (Spike), of Hastings-on-Hudson, N.Y.; his son, Robert Aldrich and his wife, Amy, of Washington, D.C.; his daughter-in-law, Leslie Aldrich (the widow of his son, Michael) of Ann Arbor, Mich.; and his daughter-in-law, Susan Aldrich (the widow of his son, Thomas) of Pelham, N.Y. He is also survived by eight grandchildren and three great-grandchildren, David Barkin, his wife, Julie, and their children, Ben and Ella, of Concord, Mass.; Katie Mischaikow, her husband, Chris, and their son, Thomas, of New York City; Drew Aldrich and his wife, Quinn, of New York City; Daniel and Adam Aldrich of Washington, D.C.; and Brian, Matthew, and Jennifer Aldrich of Ann Arbor, Mich. His wife, Julie Honore Aldrich, died in 2013 after 71 years of marriage.

Knight graduated from Wesleyan University in Middletown, Conn., in 1935 and from Northwestern University School of Medicine in Chicago in 1940. After interning at Chicago’s Cook County Hospital, he was a resident in psychiatry at Ellis Island and later a commissioned officer in the U.S. Public Health Service. After World War II, he was a faculty member of the medical schools at the universities of Wisconsin and Minnesota, and in 1955 he became chairman of the newly formed Department of Psychiatry at the University of Chicago School of Medicine.

Knight’s interest in short-term solutions to mental health problems began when he worked with college students, continued as he investigated and taught ways in which general physicians can deal with the mental health problems they encounter in their practices, and culminated in a commitment to community psychiatry, which took him first to an effort to improve the care of psychiatric patients living in Newark, N.J., and later to the Region X Community Mental Health Center in Charlottesville, Va., where he also served as professor of psychiatry and of family medicine at the School of Medicine at the University of Virginia.

He was the author of many articles and several books, most about aspects of psychiatry and one based on his great-grandfather’s Civil War letters. In an unexpectedly long retirement, he traveled widely and pursued an interest in history of psychiatry, of his family, and of the Civil War. His unwavering commitment to understanding mental illness and improving mental health care was a model for colleagues and students; his intelligence, his enthusiasm for life, and his delight in pursuing his boundless curiosity will be missed by all who knew him. He is remembered with much love by his family and friends.

In lieu of flowers, please make any donations to one of the following charities: Thomas K. Aldrich MD Memorial Fund, Montefiore Medical Center, Montefiore and Einstein Office of Development, 3325 Bainbridge Avenue, Bronx, New York 10467, or Michael S. Aldrich Collegiate Professorship in Sleep Medicine, #570130, Gift and Records, University of Michigan, 3003 S. State St., Ste. 8000, Ann Arbor, MI 4810.