Feb. 9, 1946 – June 13, 2020
Dr. Ilja J. Weinrieb, of Amherst, a gastroenterologist in practice for more than 40 years, died June 13 in Hospice Buffalo, Cheektowaga, of hepatocellular carcinoma, a liver disease. He was 74.
Born in Amsterdam, Holland, nine months after the end of World War II, his parents survived the Holocaust by hiding in the Dutch countryside. They came to Buffalo in 1949 to be near relatives in Toronto.
He attended Bennett High School, where he met Pamela Stecker, who was one class year behind him. When his family moved to San Diego for his senior year, he rode a bus for three days to return and take her to her junior prom. When he came back a year later for her senior prom, he stayed and enrolled in the University at Buffalo. They were married in 1967.
He earned a bachelor’s degree cum laude at UB. When he completed UB Medical School, he was an intern at Buffalo General Hospital and E.J. Meyer Memorial Hospital, now Erie County Medical Center.
Believed to be one of the first UB graduates to be accepted as a fellow at Harvard University, he served his residency and clinical fellowship at Harvard and what was then Beth Israel Hospital in Boston.
He took his post-doctoral fellowship in gastroenterology at Yale University’s Yale New Haven Hospital, where he studied under the renowned Dr. Howard Spiro.
He served in the Army with the rank of major at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, where he was head of the Immunology Section in the Department of Gastroenterology and an attending physician.
He was one of the physicians aboard Walter Reed’s medical bus at the inauguration of President Jimmy Carter in 1977.
Dr. Weinrieb returned to Buffalo in 1978 and began a solo practice. More than 5,000 patients visited his office on Youngs Road in Amherst before he retired in March.
He was a member of Phi Beta Kappa, the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society and Temple Beth Zion.
Among his honors were the James A. Gibson Anatomical Society Award, the Merck Prize in Medicine, the Maimonides Medical Society Award for Dedication to Humanitarian Principles and the Philip K. Sang Memorial Award.
A voracious reader, he spoke and read Dutch, German and Yiddish.
In addition to his wife, a retired library media specialist at Westminster Community Charter School, survivors include two sons, Pieter and Daniel; a daughter, Kate; a brother, Dr. Robert; a sister, Margareth Gibson; and six grandchildren.
Burial with military honors was private. A memorial service will be held at a time to be announced.