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February 25. 2013 11:35PM

Dr. C. Everett Koop's legacy is the healthier American

HANOVER - Former U.S. Surgeon General Dr. C. Everett Koop had a long history with New Hampshire, the state where he completed his undergraduate studies and eventually made his home.

Koop died Monday at age 96 at his home in Hanover, Dartmouth College said in a release.

"Dr. Koop will be remembered for his colossal contributions to the health and well-being off all mankind," said Dr. Woodie Kessell, a fellow at the C. Everett Koop Institute at Dartmouth's Geisel School of Medicine.

A native of Brooklyn, N.Y., Koop graduated from Dartmouth in 1937 with a degree in zoology, then went on to a career in medicine full of recognition and honors that led eventually to his service as the nation's top public health official. President Ronald Reagan appointed Koop as the 13th Surgeon General of the United States in 1981 and he held the post until 1989. During his tenure, he was credited with his efforts to create a "smoke-free nation," dramatically increasing the awareness about the dangers of smoking and health problems caused by second-hand smoke.

"Dr. Koop did more than take care of his individual patients. He taught us all about critical health issues that affect our larger society," Dartmouth President Carol L. Folt said in a release. "Through that knowledge, he empowered each of us to improve our own well-being and quality of life."

Koop returned to Dartmouth in 1992 to establish the Koop Institute. His leadership led to the founding of the Dartmouth Center on Addictions, Recovery and Education.

His son, Allen, was a 1965 Dartmouth graduate and visiting professor of history at the school. He authored the acclaimed "Stark Decency: German Prisoners of War in a New England Village," a chronicle of the former Stark POW camp in the White Mountains during World War II.

Another son, David, died in a climbing accident on the cliffs of Cannon Mountain in April 1968 when he was a junior at Dartmouth. The family tragedy led Dr. Koop and his wife, Elizabeth, to write "Sometimes Mountains Move," a 1996 book about how the family got through the loss of a child.

The Rev. Norman Koop is pastor of First Congregational Church of Woodstock, Vt.

"Dr. Koop was not only a pioneering pediatric surgeon, but also one of the most courageous and passionate public health advocates of the past century," said Dr. Wiley W. Souba, dean of the Geisel School of Medicine. "He constantly reminded us of the important lessons that he learned in his professional life of caring for children that could show us how to provide health care for people of all ages."

Koop was preceded in death by his wife, Elizabeth, in 2007, and their son, David. He married the former Cora Hogue in 2010 and is survived by three children and eight grandchildren.

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