header 1
header 2
header 3

In Memory

Peter Mauch

Dr. Peter Mauch died on September 8, 2017, in Boston.

Peter was my roommate in North Hall our sophomore year. After we moved in, we found a beat-up red sofa that somebody had put out as trash on the sidewalk of a street near North – we decided that it would be a perfect addition to our “common” room between our two bedrooms! Who needs a desk if you have a 7 foot long comfy couch? I spent many hours on that couch listening to “Ruby Tuesday” and other Stones hits over and over again; one day I spent an all-nighter there reading “Steppenwolf” because I could not put it down.

We became close friends and junior and senior year lived relatively close to each other in other dorms. Peter got a motorcycle at some point and liked to ride it back and forth to his home in Cincinnati – I think mostly to upset his father, who was a CPA and had made it clear that the first car Peter was going to own would be bright orange because that noticeable color was considered to make any car safer (and cheaper insurance-wise). Needless to say, Peter did not like that way of thinking at all.

He and I drifted apart and I had lost track of him over the years. So I was quite amazed when I answered the phone one night about four years ago and it was Peter. It turned out he had been in Boston for many years while I was living in the suburbs; we met for lunch soon thereafter and he told me about his bouts with cancer. I have had my own issues but his were far worse and it dawned on me after meeting up with him several times that he was really taking the time to say “good-bye” in a slow and thoughtful way.

We talked about trips we had taken to the same places in Europe and the US and our memories of college life. We talked about our families – he had a 12 year old daughter and an 8 year old son. My daughters were both pushing 40 (!) and working on their own families. I introduced him to my favorite Thai restaurant in Boston and he liked it so much that he went back many times; when his health deteriorated to the point he could not leave his house easily, he just ordered takeout from the same place. In the spring, he mentioned how happy he was to watch his son play on a T-ball team but it was now difficult for him to get to an upcoming game; my wife and I went to the game and cheered him on in his dad’s place.

When it was no longer feasible for Peter to keep up even a reduced work schedule, his colleagues at Brigham & Women’s gave him a wonderful and intimate retirement party where several people spoke about the role Peter had played in their lives and the major accomplishments they had achieved together. I spoke about our time at Oberlin and related a few stories about the “wild side” of Dr. Mauch that, of course, they did not know about. Frankly, I was shocked to hear about all the wonderful contributions my friend Peter had made to advance medicine, add treatment options, and improve people’s lives. He was indeed a great person.

Peter passed away in September, 2017.  Below is the obit written by his colleagues at Brigham & Women’s Hospital in Boston.  (Submitted by Tom Mann)


In Memoriam:  Peter M. Mauch, MD, Department of Radiation Oncology BWH and the Department of Radiation Oncology mourn the loss of Peter Mauch, MD, associate chair of Radiation Oncology at Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center (DF/BWCC) and first incumbent Distinguished Chair in Radiation Oncology at BWH, who passed away on Sept. 8 following an extended illness. He was 70.

Renowned as much for his groundbreaking contributions to medicine as his gentleness and warmth as a colleague, friend and physician, Dr. Mauch was beloved and admired by colleagues and patients – sometimes even before they had met him.

Daphne Haas-Kogan, MD, chair of Radiation Oncology, recalled taking her oral board exam in radiation oncology as a resident nearly two decades ago and quoting “Mauch et al.” in the section on lymphoma, an area in which Dr. Mauch was regarded worldwide as an expert. “I credit my passing the boards to that reference, and so it has been since then: Dr. Mauch has been a guardian angel for his patients, residents, colleagues, department and institution, and even residents he had never met taking their oral boards,” said Haas-Kogan. “With moral fortitude, kindness, integrity and bravery, he brought the best out in others – inspiring and challenging us to be better physicians, colleagues and human beings.”

Andrea Ng, MD, of Radiation Oncology, shared a similar experience from her days as a medical student, assigned to research Hodgkin lymphoma. “It seemed that every single paper was written by this man Peter Mauch,” she said. “Little did I know he would become a pivotal person in my life, helping shape my career path and serving as a source of support each step of the way.”

Although a giant in his field, Dr. Mauch remained humble and approachable. The personal connections he forged were authentic and deep, recalled Lynn Lopes, RN, OCN, a clinical nurse in Radiation Oncology. “Peter was kind and compassionate,” Lopes said. “We had a collaborative approach in caring for our wonderful patients. He was loved and respected by his patients and colleagues.”

Lissette Biggs, scheduling coordinator in Radiation Oncology, also cherished her close connection with Dr. Mauch, whom she worked with for almost 20 years. Dr. Mauch would often take time to sit with her to eat lunch, talk or ask for advice, she said. “He was a great friend – somebody I grew to know and care about like family,” Biggs said. Patients’ faces lit up when they saw him, and they continued to return for yearly follow-up long after their treatment ended, sometimes for decades.

“He was an exceptional person and physician, and I will miss him very much,” noted Ann LaCasce, MD, of Medical Oncology. Added Arnold Freedman, MD, also of Medical Oncology: “He was a great colleague to us all. We lost a very special person.”

Dr. Mauch’s career spanned more than 40 years at DF/BWCC and included innumerable clinical, research and teaching contributions during that time. Among those achievements was a database he created that catalogued all Hodgkin lymphoma patients treated in the Longwood Medical Area since the late 1960s. As time went on, it grew into one of largest and most well-maintained Hodgkin lymphoma databases in the country. An invaluable resource for clinicians and researchers, its data has led to countless discoveries, shaped treatment approaches, brought to light serious late complications of cancer treatment and provided insight for prospective clinical trial participants.

In addition to his busy clinical practice – seeing hundreds of new lymphoma patients each year from around the world – Dr. Mauch maintained a full-time research laboratory and trained scores of students, residents, early-career faculty members and scientists. In honor of his substantial mentorship contributions, the department established the Peter Mauch Radiation Oncology Fellowship for Junior Faculty. The award is part of the Eleanor and Miles Shore 50th Anniversary Fellowship Program for Scholars in Medicine.

Dr. Mauch is survived by his wife, Barbara Rodríguez, daughter, Natalia, and son, Julián; brothers Jonathan and David; and nieces and nephews.



  Post Comment

04/05/19 07:40 AM #1    

John Kirkwood

Peter was also a dorm colleague at Obie, and an intermittent visitor to our homes in New Haven while at Yale and in Pittsburgh over the past 30 years. He was truly a gentle giant in the field, and is missed in all these capacities but especially for his subtle wit and humor!

  Post Comment