John W. Polacheck, M.D., 77, died Nov. 25, 2019, in Tucson, Arizona.
Dr. Polacheck was born on April 10, 1942 in Milwaukee, where he grew up with his parents, Walter and Shirley Polacheck, and his younger siblings Linda, Mary, and Tom. After graduating as the valedictorian from Riverside High School, he attended Harvard University (class of ’64, cum laude) where he studied chemistry and was deeply involved in civil rights. He traveled to Love, Mississippi, with the Council of Federated Organizations as part of Freedom Summer, during which he was detained and assaulted by local law enforcement. He continued his activism while studying for his M.D. at the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons (class of ’69), including the 1968 protests against the war in Vietnam. He did his residency as a pulmonary internist at Montreal General, where he met his life partner and wife of over four decades, Faye Janet Libbey. He served with the Indian Health Service in New Mexico (twice), Alaska, Arizona, and Nevada, between which he was a faculty researcher at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston. In 1992, he and Faye settled in Tucson, where they lived with their son, Joshua, for the rest of their lives. He ran the Prostatitis Center from 1999 until his retirement in 2012. He was involved in the local flying, cactus, and amateur astronomy communities as well as being a lifelong supporter of the opera and symphony.
Dr. Polacheck was predeceased by his wife, Faye, in 2015. Survivors include his son, Joshua, daughter-in-law Gugulethu, and one granddaughter, all of Tucson; sister, Linda (Mellis) of Chicago; and brother, Tom of Hobart, Australia.
Memorial services will be held at the Jewish History Museum on Saturday, Dec. 14 at 6:30 pm. Memorial contributions may be made to the Navajo Hopi Health Foundation, Jewish Family & Children’s Services of Southern Arizona, or the NAACP.