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Published: Tuesday, 5/11/2004

Doctor won honors as resident in 2003

FINDLAY - Dr. Jacob P. Deerhake, a chief medical resident at the University of Michigan, died of cancer Saturday, said his wife, Laura Jean Deerhake. He was 30.

Dr. Deerhake was a resident at UM for three years, Mrs. Deerhake said, spending the last year as chief resident. She said he was diagnosed in February, 2003, with a rare form of cancer but was determined to keep working while taking chemotherapy.

"He was acting as a patient and a doctor," Mrs. Deerhake said. "He worked up to two weeks ago, to the point where he couldn't work anymore. He cared that much for people and helping them. I think because of his experience, he taught doctors how difficult it is to be a patient and displayed a great deal of sympathy for patients.

"I think he also showed a great deal of courage and determination. He wanted to help people. When he was diagnosed, he said, 'If I don't do the things I want to do, then the cancer has won.' We decided then to express our feelings, but we weren't going to sit around and be miserable."

Dr. Deerhake graduated from Findlay High School in 1992, where he played water polo and competed on the swim team. He went on to Bucknell University, majoring in chemistry and religion, and graduated with honors in 1996. He went on to Wright State University School of Medicine and finished in 2000. The Ohio chapter of the American College of Physicians named him one of its top graduates when he received his medical degree from the university.

He graduated from UM in 2003 with a degree in internal medicine. He had hoped to begin a cardiology fellowship at the university in July. He was a member of the American College of Physicians and the American Medical Association.

Mrs. Deerhake said of all the awards he won, he was most proud of a Resident of the Year Award he received in 2003.

"He was moved that other students thought he was a good teacher and mentor for them," Mrs. Deerhake said.

Dr. Deerhake died the same day his grandfather, Vernon Deerhake of Findlay, died at Heritage Nursing Home. Mr. Deerhake, 88, and his grandson where close, Mrs. Deerhake said.

"They were similar in several ways," she said. "Both of them were very driven and determined to do their best."

Dr. Deerhake is survived by his wife, Laura Jean; parents, Richard and Barbara, and sister, Amanda Deerhake.

A memorial service will be at 11 a.m. Thursday in First Presbyterian Church, Findlay, where visitation will be from 6 to 9 p.m. tomorrow. Arrangements were handled by Coldren-Crates Funeral Home, Findlay.

The family suggest tributes to the Dr. Jacob Deerhake Fund at the University of Michigan Department of Internal Medicine.



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