Thursday, January 23, 2003

Obituary: Irvin Beren, 87, surgeon

Doctor was awarded Bronze Star in WWII

By Rebecca Goodman
The Cincinnati Enquirer

KENWOOD - Dr. Irvin Bernard Beren took his responsibility to help people so seriously that he prayed every morning for guidance.

Dr. Beren was a general surgeon and gynecologist in Cincinnati for more than 50 years. One of his most enduring contributions was relieving the back pain of patients by use of a minor procedure he devised.

After suffering a back injury, he asked another doctor to try his idea of removing scar tissue at the point of the pain. It worked and, although back surgery was not his regular field, he felt such compassion for people that he regularly performed the procedure for anyone who asked for it.

Although he was unsuccessful at getting his procedure published, those he helped knew that it worked, said his daughter Suellen Applebaum of Deer Park.

"It unfortunately died with him. It was a shame," his daughter said. "He just always cared and tried to find the best solution."

Dr. Beren, who previously lived in Amberley Village for 40 years, died of apparent congestive heart failure Sunday at his Kenwood home. He was 87.

Except for a surgical residency at the University of Pennsylvania and a stint in the Army during World War II, Dr. Beren spent his career in Cincinnati. He kept an office downtown and on Burnet Avenue near Jewish Hospital, just one of the hospitals where he practiced. He was also on the staffs of Children's Hospital Medical Center, Cincinnati General (now University) and Deaconess hospitals.

It was during his residency that Dr. Beren, a reservist, was called into active military service. His first year was spent as a surgeon in Anzio, Sicily - on the front lines under Gen. George Patton.

Dr. Beren administered aid to wounded soldiers in the field while the battle raged around him. Sometimes, he worked behind enemy lines.

"There were times when the border changed and he was in the town operating - and he and his medic were the only ones there," his daughter said.

For his courage, he received the Bronze Star.

"The same selfless dedication and concern for his patients was the hallmark of his medical and surgical practice for over 50 years," said his son-in-law, Mark Applebaum of Deer Park.

"A former patient just called today and said, `He was the nicest man I ever knew,'" his daughter added. "He never rushed a patient. They knew they would get their time with him."

Dr. Beren moved as a child to Cincinnati from Marietta, Ohio, where he was born in 1915. He grew up in North Avondale and graduated from Hughes High School and the University of Cincinnati colleges of Arts and Sciences and Medicine.

He spent considerable time and energy working for several philanthropic organizations, including the Jewish Federation of Cincinnati and the Jewish National Fund.

Dr. Beren was an active member of Adath Israel Synagogue.

He was preceded in death by a son, David Beren, in 1995.

In addition to his daughter Suellen, survivors include his wife of 60 years, Sara Lee Dworsky Beren; his son and oldest child, Joel Beren of Malibu, Calif.; another daughter, Gayle Kuppin of Mount Adams; two sisters, Pearl Alberts of Hyde Park and Edyth Fierman of Kenwood; and four grandchildren.

Services have been held.


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