Dr. Cyril H. Wecht, a world-renowned pathologist and a dear friend to funeral service, died May 13, 2024. He was 93 years old.

Jessica Koth, public relations director of the National Funeral Directors Association, said, “NFDA was honored to have Dr. Cyril Wecht as the memorable closing keynote speaker during our 2011 International Convention & Expo, which we hosted in conjunction with CANA in Chicago. While Dr. Wecht was most widely known for investigating the deaths of names we all know, like President John F. Kennedy, Anna Nicole Smith and JonBenet Ramsey, perhaps his most impactful work occurred in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania. There, he investigated the deaths of citizens whose names we’ll never know, providing answers to countless grieving families about the cause of their loved one’s death. His legacy in the field of forensic science will benefit many for decades to come. We extend our condolences to his family, friends and colleagues.”

Barry Lease, president and CEO of the Pittsburgh Institute of Mortuary Science, said, “The late Dr. Cyril Wecht was one of the most influential individuals ever in the field of forensic pathology. His brilliance will be missed but his legacy shall be eternal.”

According to his obituary, he leaves behind his loving wife Sigrid, four children David (Valerie), Daniel (Anna), Benjamin (Flynne), and Ingrid (Harold), and eleven grandchildren (Dylan, Sophie, Zoe, Gabriel, Nathan, Jacob, Sarah, Alexander, Macey, Emma, and Jessica).

Wecht was born in Pittsburgh on March 20, 1931, to immigrant parents Nathan and Fannie Wecht, and raised in Bobtown, McKees Rocks and the Lower Hill District. A standout student, violinist and athlete at Fifth Avenue High School, he graduated as class valedictorian and went on to the University of Pittsburgh, where he distinguished himself as president of Phi Epsilon Pi fraternity, concertmaster of the Pitt Symphony, business manager of the Pitt News, and president of the YMCA, among many other honors.

After earning his medical degree at the University of Pittsburgh Medical School, he was called into his country’s service, and proudly served as a captain in the United States Air Force. It was there that he met his wife Sigrid, who also was serving in the United States Air Force. After they both were honorably discharged, they married at Rodef Shalom Congregation in Pittsburgh, and lived briefly in Baltimore, where Wecht obtained his first law degree from the University of Maryland while working in the Medical Examiner’s Office, and where their first child, David, was born.

After returning to Pittsburgh in 1963, the Wechts had three more children, Daniel, Benjamin, and Ingrid, and Wecht obtained his second law degree, this one at Pitt. Wecht embarked on a long and stellar career, combining his training in medicine and law, and his then-rare expertise in the nascent field of forensic pathology.

Early on, Wecht juggled four jobs — as a forensic pathologist/deputy at the Coroner’s Office, as an Assistant District Attorney/medical-legal adviser to the District Attorney, as a pathologist at the Veterans Administration Hospital – Leech Farm, and as an attorney practicing with his friends David and Roslyn Litman. He went on to win election to several terms as Allegheny County Coroner, where he modernized the office and made it into an international model, attracting trainees from all over the world. He later served as Allegheny County’s first chief medical examiner. He was also active in politics.

A public memorial service will be announced in the future. In lieu of flowers, contributions in his memory can be made to Stand With Us, www.standwithus.com, PO Box 341069, Los Angeles, CA 90034.

Arrangements are by RALPH SCHUGAR CHAPEL, INC.

Learn more in his full obituary.

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