Posted on: January 29, 2018
Dr. Eugene A. “Pat” Hildreth, passed away on January 5, 2018, at the age of 93, at The Highlands in Wyomissing, Pa.
Born March 11, 1924, in St. Paul, Minn., he was the son of the late Eugene A. IV and Lila (Clator) Hildreth. He had two sisters, Susan (Hildreth) Bray and Jane (Hildreth) Bayard, both of whom predeceased him. He married his loving wife, Dorothy “Dee” (Myers) Hildreth in Charlottesville, Va., on March 23, 1946. Dee predeceased him in 2005.
Dr. Hildreth received his doctor of medicine (M.D.) from the University of Virginia, completed his internship at Johns Hopkins Hospital, and was chief resident at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. He spent two years in the Navy/CIA serving in the Far East from 1951-1953, where he was the chief medical officer of a M.A.S.H. unit as well as the personal physician for Generalissimo and Madame Chiang Kai-Shek. After his military service, Dr. Hildreth worked at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania as a professor of clinical medicine, the head of allergy and immunology, and special advisor to the dean. He went on to become the director of the Department of Medicine at the Reading Hospital and Medical Center from 1968-1996 while continuing to maintain an active medical practice.
Throughout his career, Dr. Hildreth had a strong passion for academic medicine, teaching and the future of national health care. He served as chairman of the American Board of Internal Medicine, the chairman of the Federated Council of Internal Medicine, and chairman of the Board and later president of the American College of Physicians (ACP.) While with the ACP, the largest medical specialty organization in the world, he led the organization in seeking reform of healthcare in America. He was a co-author of the ACP’s first paper describing the need for “Universal Access to Health Care.”
Dr. Hildreth was elected to the Council of the Institute of Medicine of National Academy of Science in Washington (IOM), further extending his experience in national health. He had been invited to testify before congressional committees in Washington on subjects including bioethics, living wills and access to healthcare.
Additionally, Dr. Hildreth was selected to participate in a national working group which included former U.S. Presidents, Jimmy Carter and Gerald Ford, among others, to address the issue of “How to Implement the 25th Amendment of the United States Constitution in the Event of Disability of a United States President.” The resulting monograph was well-received and it was “borrowed” by a number of other nations, including Japan and Russia.
Throughout his medical career, Dr. Hildreth published over 150 articles, editorials, chapters and served as a co-author of the American College of Physicians Manual on Bioethics, 2nd Edition.
Internationally, Dr. Hildreth was elected a fellow of the Royal College of Physicians (London) and an honorary fellow of the Academy of Medicine (Singapore). He was recognized by the International Who’s Who as well as Who’s Who in America.
After retiring from his medical career, Pat and his wife, Dee, pursued their many and varied interests together. They completed the Forestry Stewardship Program at Penn State University and became active in Berks County (PA) Conservation. They put their home, Echo Hollow Farm, into a protected conservation conservatory, and Pat served as a member of the zoning board of Cumru Twp. Pat and Dee traveled extensively throughout their marriage.
They continued to do so after Pat’s retirement in 1996, enjoying a number of trips to exotic places throughout the world including Tuscany, Turkey, Nepal, Bhutan, Belize and Peru. They also enjoyed relatively nearby getaways and adventures such as canoeing in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness in Minn., and vacationing at Lake Paradox in the Adirondacks of N.Y.
After Dee’s passing, Pat moved to The Highlands in 2006 where he maintained many friendships, enjoyed visits with family, remained active in community events, and maintained a keen interest in medicine, healthcare, conservation and world affairs.
Dr. Hildreth is survived by four children, six grandchildren, and seven great-grandchildren.
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to Berks County Conservancy, 25 N. 11th St., Reading, PA 19601; Planned Parenthood – Reading Medical Center, 48 S. 4th St., Reading, PA 19602; or Heartland Hospice, 2201 Ridgewood Rd., #180, Wyomissing, PA 19610.