Leslie J. DeGroot MD (“Les”) was born on a dairy farm in Fort Edward NY in 1928, dedicated his life to thyroid disease research and endocrinology and died soon after his 90thbirthday, surrounded by his many loving grandchildren, children and his wife on October 23, 2018 in Nonquitt, Massachusetts. He was the accomplished son of Fort Edward artist Frances (Orr) and church deacon and farmer Henry De Groot. Leslie worked hard on both farm work and school work, went to college early, and graduated from nearby Union College in 1948 at age 20. He then moved to New York City, earning his medical degree at Columbia University Medical School, in 1952 and serving as Intern and Resident at the Presbyterian Hospital, where he met the love of his life, Helen (Pond Searls). They were married in 1955 while he was working at the National Cancer Center, National Institutes of Health, in Washington DC. He and Helen moved to Laskergah, Afghanistan, serving the US Operational Mission to Afghanistan, building and operating a hospital before returning home in 1956 to settle in Winchester, Massachusetts with his growing family.
Les started his academic career in endocrinology with John Stanbury at Massachusetts General Hospital, was a faculty member at Harvard Medical School, then served as Associate Professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology before becoming Professor of Medicine and Director of the Thyroid Study Unit at the University of Chicago in 1968 at the age of 40. He had a highly productive career in academic research, publishing more than 400 books, papers and chapters. He was an active member of the endocrine community, serving as President of the American Thyroid Association, associate editor of the New England Journal of Medicine (as a fellow) and as a member of the editorial board of Endocrinology. He was also the editor of the well-known text book Endocrinology for four editions. Perhaps his most important contribution to patient care was that he pioneered the publication of online medical textbooks for endocrinology EndoText, www.endotext.org and for thyroid disease, Thyroid Manager www.thyroidmanager.org, which have served as resources for endocrinologists all over the world for more than a decade.
In 2005, he ‘retired’ from the University of Chicago and became a faculty member at Brown University, continuing his research on thyroid disease in the laboratory run by his daughter Annie De Groot MD, before moving (with Annie) to the University of Rhode Island in 2008 and becoming one of the founding members of the Institute for Immunology and Informatics in downtown Providence (at the age of 80).
He loved to sail the Restless on Buzzards Bay. Husband to Helen, father to artist Katie DeGroot, physician and researcher Annie De Groot, community organizer Elyse De Groot, physician Henry De Groot, and entrepreneur Jessica De Groot, grandfather to Niles, Zeno and Aminata, Matthew and Eliza, Phoebe, Genevieve, Henry and Catherine, Jocelyn, and Julian, and mentor to a diaspora of endocrinology fellows. He will be sorely missed.
In lieu of flowers, please send your memorial contributions to:
Buzzards Bay Coalition (Where Les loved to sail …save Buzzards Bay, for the next generation)
American Farmland Trust: https://www.farmland.org/…because Les loved the Farm.
A memorial service will be held on in late November at the Fort Miller Church in Upstate New York, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in attending.
For videos of LDG: https://www.thyroid.org/portfolio/history-archives-interview/