UK Markey Cancer Center's First Director Dr. Gilbert Friedell Remembered By One He Mentored

Oct 3, 2018

UK Associate Director for Cancer Control Tom Tucker
Credit Stu Johnson

UK Associate Director for Cancer Control Tom Tucker says Kentucky would not have what’s considered one of the best population based cancer surveillance programs in the country, if not for Dr. Gilbert Friedell. The 91 year old Friedell, the University of Kentucky Markey Cancer Center’s first director, died last week.

Tucker, who helped establish the Kentucky Cancer Registry, says Friedell’s work set the stage for Markey being the state’s only National Cancer Institute designated center. “He left an incredible number of mentees.  He gave many of us opportunities that we would not have otherwise had.  He pushed people to get additional education.  He really pushed them forward in their careers.  And, I am one of those people,” said Tucker.

Tom Tucker was recruited by Friedell to come to Kentucky in 1984 to help establish the Kentucky Cancer Registry.  Tucker says Friedell, trained as a pathologist, contributed significantly in cervical and breast cancer prevention.  But, his contributions extended well beyond medical science.  “Gil’s real legacy is he cared deeply about the most vulnerable in the population.  He really cared about people who didn’t have the resources or access to health care and wanted to assure that everybody had access to health care,” added Tucker.

Tucker says Friedell’s integrity was impeccable and that set the example for many who he worked with.