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Dr. Halina Milgrom, 95, dermatologist and cancer researcher

Sept. 10, 1922 – May 14, 2018

Dr. Halina Milgrom, a retired dermatologist, cancer researcher and widow of renowned immunologist Dr. Felix Milgrom, died May 14 in Denver, where she had lived for the past 10 years. She was 95.

Born Halina Miszel in Drohovycz, Poland, now part of Ukraine, her father and uncle were physicians. She attended medical school at the university in Lvov, now Lviv, Ukraine, where she met her husband, also a medical student.

“There was only a handful of Jewish students,” her son, Dr. Henry Milgrom, an allergist and immunologist, said, “and they all knew each other.”

She completed her first year of studies before the Nazis invaded Soviet-occupied eastern Poland in 1941 and was married as the German army approached.

Instead of staying in Lvov or fleeing to the Soviet Union, she and her husband went to Warsaw with counterfeit identity papers, as her parents and uncle did, and spent the remainder of the war in hiding there.

When the Soviet army advanced into Poland in late 1944, the Milgroms were among the thousands that the Germans put aboard trains to labor camps, but they jumped off and made their way on foot across the front lines to liberated territory.

They enrolled at a new medical school in Lublin, Poland, then studied at the medical school at the University of Wroclaw. While her husband became a professor and researcher at the university, she worked in the university’s dermatology clinic.

Her husband secured a visa to come to the U.S. in 1958 to join the faculty of the Microbiology Department at the University of Buffalo Medical School. She completed a residency at E. J. Meyer Memorial Hospital, now Erie County Medical Center, then became a dermatologist and researcher at Roswell Park Cancer Institute.

At Roswell Park, she performed Mohs surgery, a chemotherapy technique, for skin cancer and took part in teams that published scientific studies. She retired when she was in her 60s. She and her husband traveled extensively.

A longtime resident of Amherst, she moved to Denver to be close to her family following the death of her husband in 2007.

Survivors include another son, Dr. Martin, a surgeon; a sister, Irene Feit; five grandchildren and two great-granddaughters.

A graveside service was held May 17 in Forest Lawn.

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