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October 26, 1922 ~ September 4, 2023 (age 100) 100 Years Old
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Clifford M. Tepper, M.D, a Schenectady native and resident, who was a practicing pediatrician, allergist, and immunologist in the community for forty years, died on Monday, September 4 in Chevy Chase, Maryland. He was 100 years-old.
Dr. Tepper was born in Schenectady on October 26, 1922, and was the son of immigrants from Eastern Europe, Annette (Lifset) and Solomon B. Tepper. Educated with his brother Jason A. Tepper in the Schenectady public schools, Dr. Tepper entered Union College in 1940 on a scholarship, and left before graduating to enroll at the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York City.
He attended medical school in the uniform of the United States Air Force, and entered active military service after graduating. He was stationed in Tampa, Florida and then at Eielson Air Force Base in Fairbanks, Alaska, where he managed Air Force mobile hospitals. It was during his years in Alaska that he developed a lifelong interest in nature study and birdwatching.
After finishing his training in pediatrics at the Long Island Jewish Medical Center and Columbia University Babies Hospital, Dr. Tepper moved back to Schenectady in the early 1950s and opened his pediatric medical office on upper Union Street. He was married to the former Cynthia Ruth Silver in 1951. Dr. and Mrs. Tepper were married for 72 years, and she survives him.
In 1953, Dr. Jason Tepper, also a pediatrician, joined Clifford, and the Drs’ Tepper were later joined by Dr. James R. Kennedy. The office of Tepper, Tepper and Kennedy grew into one of the most prominent pediatric practices in the Capital Region for decades. In the early 1970’s, Dr. Tepper became Board-certified in Allergy and Immunology, and the practice developed a specialty in Pediatric Allergy. Dr. Tepper also served as a Clinical Professor of Pediatrics, Allergy, and Immunology at the Albany Medical College. He was an early and effective advocate for regulations and restrictions on cigarettes and smoking in public, and for regulating carcinogenic food additives.
In addition to his achievements in medicine, Dr. Tepper was deeply involved in civic affairs in the Capital Region. He was strongly committed to Union College, and served on several committees there. He was a member of the Schenectady County Charter Commission, which drafted a charter for governance in Schenectady County. He was also a member of Board of Directors of numerous non-profit organizations, including but not limited to the Schenectady County Public Library, the Schenectady Museum, the Hudson-Mohawk Bird Club, the New England Allergy Association, and Physicians for Social Responsibility.
Dr. Tepper played a central role in the creation of public nature preserves along the Mohawk River and on St. David’s Lane in Niskayuna, and he and his friend and colleague, the late Dr. Lester Citrin, donated what is now the Schoharie Creek Preserve in Burtonville to the Mohawk-Hudson Land Conservancy. Late in his career, Dr. Tepper joined with several local doctors, many of them Union alumni, to establish the Schenectady Free Medical Clinic.
Dr. Tepper’s mother’s family was among the founders of Congregation Agudat Achim in the early 1900s, and he was active in the congregation for decades. He served on the Board of Directors and and catalyzed plans in the 1970’s to move the synagogue from its original location on Nott Terrace to its current location on Route 7 in Niskayuna, where he also served on the design committee for the new building.
Dr. Tepper had wide-ranging personal interests, with passions that included birdwatching, amateur botany, horticulture, art history, cross country skiing, and world travel. In addition to his wife Cynthia, he is survived by his children Stewart (Deborah Tepper), of Pound Ridge, NY, Nancy, of New York, NY, Henry (Jane Henoch) of Lincoln, MA, and Audrey, of Bethesda, MD, six grandchildren, Clinton (Katharine Farley Tepper), Sam, Annie, Jonathan, Kate, and Miles, and two great-grandchildren, Boone and Ferris.
In October of 2022, Union College, which had previously awarded Dr. Tepper a Bachelor’s Degree years after he left the College to go to medical school, honored him with its Distinguished Alumni Award, on the occasion of his 100th Birthday. In its citation, Union praised Dr. Tepper’s “rich, varied, and enormously productive life.”
Services will be held at the Agudat Achim Cemetery, 246 Schermerhorn Street in Schenectady, on Monday, September 11 at 11 AM. A Minyan service will be held at the home of Susan Tepper LeClair at 1787 Central Parkway, Schenectady, after the service at the cemetery.
Memorial contributions in Dr. Clifford Tepper’s name may be made to Union College, the Hudson-Mohawk Land Conservancy, or the American Diabetes Association.
Funeral Services for Clifford will be livestreamed and can be viewed by clicking the link below: