Dr. David Covitz

Eulogy of David Covitz presented by Dr. Seth Koch at the 2012 ACVO Conference.

I'd like to tell you about my friend and colleague, David Covitz. Some of the older members here today remember him, and most of the younger people may never have known or heard of him, but David recently passed away after a long battle with brain cancer and since he was one of the early members of the college and a pioneer in veterinary ophthalmology, I thought his passing should be recognized.

David was the kind of person who always seemed to carry the weight of the world on his shoulders. So whenever I felt down, I could always call David, because I knew he'd be even bluer, and together we could laugh our troubles away. If you ever heard David's laugh, you'd know what I mean - just the sound of his laughter and you'd be cured of any dark thoughts. He was eccentric - no doubt about it - always traveling with a suitcase full of shoes and a pillow - but he was a wonderfully crazy friend to have.

In addition to being an excellent ophthalmologist, David was an excellent communicator and home-grown philosopher. And from the time we were teenagers, when we first met, he 19, me 18 - he was my friend. David graduated from Cornell University as a DVM in 1963. Before he embarked on his ophthalmology career, back in the late 60's-early 70's, after being in general practice and doing an internship at UC Davis, David established one of the first emergency veterinary clinics in the Eastern US. Later, after a successful career in emergency medicine, David decided to become an ophthalmologist and studies at Montefiore, Manhattan Eye and Ear and Albert Einstein by day and with Roy Bellhorn and occasionally with me, and at the emergency clinic at night and weekends.

In those days, residency were largely informal and relied on training in human ophthalmology. Veterinary residencies were, in reality, non-existent or barely so. In 1974, David became a Diplomate of the college four years after the college's establishment.

Our friendship grew through the years, and David joined me in a practice I had in NYC, along with his practice in White Plains at Mt. Kicso, NY. In the 80's, David moved to Connecticut and became an adjunct professor at Yale in addition to establishing a private ophthalmology practice in suburban Connecticut.

While doing all this, he found time to held develop CERF clinics with Dolly Trauner (the founder of CERF) and do breeder clinics practically every weekend. He was on busy guy, but he always found time to talk and entertain with that infectious laugh of his. Meanwhile, he also authored a classic paper describing glaucoma in the Cairn Terrier, publishing it while in full-time practice. It is possible to do, as David proved!

Now, those early papers may seem simplistic and naive given today's more sophisticated studies, but back then, when ophthalmology was in its infancy, papers such as those about teary-eyed dogs and how to fix them had never been addressed before. And David wrote it.

David leaves a wonderful wife, Barbara, a daughter, Jill, step-children and grandchildren and friends, like me (and those among you who knew him and cherished him), who will remember him as intense, quirky and full of life - even in death. I wanted to tell you about David Covitz, not because he was a great man, but because his life mattered to the profession of ophthalmology, and to those who loved him.

Thank you for allowing me this brief but important eulogy.

 

 

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