We are sad to report that widely admired physician and PA educator, Joseph A. Schwenkler, MD, died on May 4 at his home in Readington Township, New Jersey. He was 64 years old. The cause of death was complications from Parkinson’s disease, which he had struggled with for the past several years.
Dr. Schwenkler received degrees as both a PA and an MD from Rutgers Medical School (known at the time as Robert Wood Johnson Medical School), and performed his residency at Hunterdon Medical Center. He was a pioneer in establishing Hunterdon County’s medical system and played a major role in the county’s growth and success. As a family physician, Dr. Schwenkler was a founding partner of two successful local practices, served as medical director for hospice, and led the charge to incorporate PAs into the family practice environment.
With the onset of Parkinson’s symptoms, he had to give up the demanding role of a family physician, moving on to serve as the medical director for the Rutgers Medical Physician Assistant Program. He was beloved by his students, as he had been by his former patients, and led the education of hundreds of PAs now serving in communities across the country.
Outside of work, Dr. Schwenkler was a avid athlete and outdoorsman. He could be found running in local triathlons, kayaking at Round Valley, or hiking and camping with his children and nephews.
Dr.Schwenkler is survived by his wife, Mary Schwenkler, a former biomedical researcher, and his two sons, Kirk and Kevin, as well as two brothers and two sisters.
Calling hours will be Wednesday, May 11, 6:00-8:00 p.m. at Holcombe-Fisher Funeral Home, 147 Main Street, Flemington, NJ. A memorial service will be held Thursday, May 12, at 11:00 a.m. in the Readington Reformed Church.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Michael J. Fox Foundation, PO Box 5014, Hagerstown, MD 21741-5014 or the Hunterdon Medical Center, 2100 Wescott Drive, Flemington, NJ 08822.
To send flowers or a remembrance gift to the family of Dr. Schwenkler, please visit the Holcombe-Fisher Funeral Home Tribute Store.