Published in The Washington Post on July 28, 2018
JERROLD MICHAEL Retired U.S. Public Health
Service Commissioned Corps (USPHS), Rear
Admiral Jerrold M. Michael, who rose from the
lowest rank in the U.S. Navy in World War II to
become the youngest USPHS Assistant Surgeon
General in history and later served as the Dean of
the School of Public Health at the University of
Hawaii for 20 years, died July 25, 2018. He was 90.
Jerrold Mark Michael was born August 3, 1927 in Kingston, NY, the youngest of 5
children of Joseph and Esther Michael. He moved to Kingston, NY at age 1 and
then Washington, D.C. at age 11. A graduate of Anacostia High School in 1945,
RADM Michael joined the Navy at age 17 where he was trained as a Corpsman to
support the Marines in the planned invasion of Japan, which was cancelled with the
Japanese surrender. After serving in Florida for two years, RADM Michael used the
G.I. Bill to train as a civil engineer at George Washington University. He met his
future wife, Lynn Simon, in 1948 and married on March 17, 1951 after having
earned his Masters of Public Health at The Johns Hopkins University and becoming
an Ensign in the USPHS. RADM Michael was assigned to his first USPHS post in
Phoenix, Arizona and then Atlanta, Georgia at the Centers for Disease Control
before moving back to Washington, D.C. in 1959 where he worked in the Indian
Health Service, the Environmental Protection Service (later to become the EPA),
and the Bureau of Medical Services.
He became a Rear Admiral in 1964 at age 37, the youngest Flag Officer in USPHS
history. Retiring from the USPHS in 1971, RADM Michael, his wife and now two
sons moved to Honolulu, Hawaii where he became a Professor of Public Health at
the University of Hawaii and the longest serving Dean of a School of Public Health
for 20 years developing a new network of public health schools in the Pacific Rim,
earned two honorary doctorate degrees, had an endowed chair created in his name
at the University of Jerusalem, and was a rare foreigner decorated by the King of
Thailand with the Order of the Elephant.
RADM Michael trained a generation of public health professionals. Retiring a
second time, RADM Michael returned to the DC area in November 1995 to serve
as Professor of Global Health at his alma mater where he assisted in the
development of a new School of Public Health and became increasingly active in
USPHS organizations such as the Commissioned Officers Association and
co-founded the Commissioned Officers Foundation for the Advancement of Public
Health. He trained doctoral students well into his 80s. RADM Michael was
committed to service of country, global health, and education.
RADM Michael is survived by is wife of 67 years, Lynn Y. Michael, sons, Scott
(Mary) and Nelson (Madeline) Michael, grandchildren, Joseph (Stacey), Karen (Ian),
Joshua and Claire Michael, and great-grandchildren, Dale Michael and Sophia
Services will be held Sunday, July 29 at B'nai Shalom of Olney at 11 o'clock in the
morning with interment thereafter at nearby Judean Gardens.
Donations can be made to the RADM Jerrold Michael Global Health Fellowship
Program of the Koop Living Legacy Fund at
Services entrusted to Sagel Bloomfield Danzansky Goldberg Funeral Care.