Ken died Jan. 26, 2020, in Oxford, Ohio, living most of his life in a home in the center of the Miami University natural area.

He came to Princeton from Ohio’s Columbus North High School. At Princeton, he majored in biology (magna cum laude), having done an experimental thesis on the biochemistry of the oak wilt disease.

After Princeton, Ken earned a medical degree from the Washington University Medical School in St. Louis. After interning at the University of Minnesota, he returned to St. Louis for an ophthalmology residency focused on glaucoma. He then served with the Public Health Service in New Orleans, which included providing services to the last leprosy colony in the United States.

After further training in glaucoma, he joined his older brother Gerald’s ophthalmology practice, serving until his retirement in Oxford and Hamilton, Ohio.

Upon his death, the Oxford Observer reported he left $3.5 million to establish the Kenneth M. Buerk Open Space Preservation Fund of the Oxford Community Foundation for use in preserving local woodlands, watersheds, and family farms. The Foundation’s director described Ken as “an understated man who valued nature and had ideologies that placed value on things like nature rather than materialistic items.”

The class offers its condolences to his sister-in-law, Ellen Plummer Buerk; and his four nieces and nephews.

Undergraduate Class of 1964