We regret to notify you of the passing of Dr. Ralph F. Wetmore Jr. at the age of 71 on September 3, 2022 at his home in Johns Island, South Carolina. Dr. Wetmore was inducted as an Active Fellow in 1997 and elevated to Emeritus status in 2018.
Born Nov. 23, 1950, in Allentown, Dr. Wetmore graduated from Franklin and Marshall College in 1972 receiving his undergraduate degree in geology and earning his medical degree from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania in 1976 where he also completed his postgraduate training and surgical fellowship.
Immediately, he began his celebrated 40-year career at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) serving as chief of CHOP’s division of otolaryngology, head & neck surgeon, president of the medical staff, professor emeritus, researcher, and trustee until his retirement.
He treated ear, nose, and throat ailments in thousands of children and was influential in helping CHOP become a worldwide leader in pediatric medicine. Dr. Wetmore instructed hundreds of medical students, residents, and fellows at CHOP and Penn; authored or coauthored more than 100 scholarly articles and was presented the 1993 Edmund Prince Fowler Award from the Triological Society for his pioneering research on sudden infant death syndrome.
Among the numerous tributes, friends called him “an incredibly accomplished, brilliant physician with a heart of gold and the warmest of personalities” and “I never really saw him angry or heard him raise his voice with anyone.” His son reflected that “He was a scientist first and foremost.”
In his “downtime”, Dr. Wetmore was an avid reader, a binge-watcher of the Weather Channel, an Eagles fan who constantly wore his green Eagles hoodie constantly, enthusiastically attendee of concerts by James Taylor, Katy Perry, Taylor Swift, and Lady Gaga, who also adopted dogs from rescue shelters. Rick Wetmore also said “My dad was incomparable in so many ways.” “He treated everyone, regardless of who they were in the world, with great respect and dignity. … His vibrant, lovable spirit will live on in all of us forever.”
To honor his memory, he is survived by his wife, Melinda; children, Rick and Alicia; and former wife, Mary, in addition to two grandsons, a sister, other relatives and numerous colleagues and former students.
A celebration of Dr. Wetmore’s live was held on September 13th.