Ken Gottesfeld

KEN GOTTESFELD (1938-1984)

During his lifetime Ken Gottesfeld was recognized internationally as a pioneer in obstetrical ultrasound. His widow, Joan Zapiler, recalls, “Ultrasound became his passion.”

Ken was first in the world to use ultrasound to discover multiple fetuses, fetal demise and diabetes during pregnancy. He published extensively on the subject and spoke at many ultrasound conferences. His brother, Stuart ’57, with whom he shared a large obstetrical-gynocological practice in Denver, characterized his contribution as “the most important advance in modern obstetrics.”


The American Institute of Ultrasound selected Ken in 1984 as its third honoree to be included in its Memorial Hall of Fame, a posthumous tribute made annually to “a creative and devoted physician, research scientist [who has] contributed to the field of ultrasound in medicine.”

Ken came to Amherst from East High School in Denver and later returned to his home state, where he earned his medical degree from the University of Colorado School of Medicine. He interned at New York’s Mount Sinai Hospital and subsequently served from 1967 to 1969 as a major in the Army Medical Corps at Beaumont General Hospital in El Paso, Texas. He returned to Denver in 1970 to begin his practice. He was also a staff member at Rose Medical Center.

Ken died in a skiing accident in 1984. In recognition of his work, an antenatal testing center, a lectureship and an academic prize were all established in his name. After his death Joan remarried and became an accountant. She now prepares income taxes on a seasonal basis. Ken had two married daughters, Dana and Lisa, and a son
who predeceased him. They and his five grandchildren live in Colorado.

Kenneth Ray Gottesfeld died Feb. 1, 1984.

Ken (left) with brother, Stuart '57, at a Rose
Memorial Hospital dinner in Denver, 1983