Remembering Henry Heimlich, New Rochelle High Class Of 1937

NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. -- Henry Heimlich, M.D., inventor of the famed "Heimlich Maneuver," died on Dec. 17. The 1937 New Rochelle High School graduate was 96.

Henry Heimlich, M.D.
Henry Heimlich, M.D. Photo Credit: Wikipedia

He died at a hospital in Cincinnati after suffering a heart attack at his home Dec. 12.

The Heimlich Maneuver has saved thousands of choking victims since its introduction in 1974. He also pioneered lifesaving surgical procedures and invented a chest drain valve that saved thousands of lives during the Vietnam War.

At NRHS, Heimlich was active in the Tower Players and the orchestra, served as president of the Current Events Club, and played intramural sports. He graduated from Cornell University and Cornell Medical School, and served in China during World War II where he developed an innovative treatment for the eye disease, trachoma. 

Despite years of teaching his lifesaving maneuver, Heimlich had not employed it in an actual life or death situation until May 2016, when a woman in his nursing home in Cincinnati was choking.

He received the Albert Lasker Award in 1984. It has been awarded annually since 1945 to living persons who have made major contributions to medical science or who have performed public service on behalf of medicine.

He married Jane Murray, the daughter of the ballroom dancer and studio founder Arthur Murray. They had twin daughters, Janet and Elisabeth, and two sons, Philip and Peter.

Heimlich is survived by his children and three grandchildren. 

He was predeceased by his wife Jane in 2012.

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