ORLANDO, FL — Dr. Edward Okun, 87, a world-renowned retina specialist, gallery owner and artist, died from complications of cancer on June 14, 2019.
He was the beloved husband of Barbara (Braham) Okun, to whom he was married for 53 years, until her death in 2007. He was also a wonderful father, grandfather, great-grandfather, brother, uncle, doctor, professor, colleague, and friend.
Born in Springfield, MA, in 1931, Ed attended Dartmouth College, and then went on to earn his medical degree at the University of Vermont. His education and training continued at the University of Chicago, the NIH, and Washington University in St. Louis, where he built his practice and raised his family.
He was a pioneer in the treatment of diabetic retinopathy and in vitreoretinal surgery, and a highly skilled and compassionate doctor. His clinical research has contributed to the restoration and preservation of vision for countless people. As a Professor of Clinical Ophthalmology at Washington University, he also trained over 50 retina fellows who went on to practice around the world, many of them conducting valuable research and training fellows themselves.
After 30 years of practice, he retired to Santa Fe, NM, where he assisted Barbara at the Okun Gallery of Contemporary Art. Their gallery was responsible for launching the careers of many artists who are now considered masters in their respective fields, particularly in ceramics, fiber, and metal works. Always a lover of the arts and the beauty of nature, Ed himself became an accomplished ceramist, painter, and photographer. Years after losing his wife to cancer, he found love again with the artist Ciel Bergman, who was with him until her own death in 2017.
He is survived by his son, Dr. Neil Okun (Joan Sosnoff); his daughter, Roxanne Gray (Jon); his grandchildren, David Okun (Megan), Sarah Okun Cox (Jonathan), and Morris and Jason Gray; his great-granddaughters, Nora and Maeve Okun; his brother, Harold Okun; and his sister, Martha Dalitzky (Milton). His memory will be forever cherished by his family and friends, his patients and colleagues, and by all whose lives he touched.
His funeral was held on June 18 in Springfield, MA, with burial in B’nai Jacob Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the charity of your choice, in his memory.