Andrew J. Zweifler

Zweifler—Andrew J. Zweifler, 92, on December 8, 2022, peacefully, surrounded by his loving family at home in Ann Arbor, Mich., where he lived for more than 60 years. Andy was born on February 2, 1930, in New Jersey. He sprinted through his schooling, completing high school by age 17, college by 20, and medical school by 24.

Andy was a professor of internal medicine at the University of Michigan and a medical researcher with more than 100 published articles. He specialized in hypertension, but those who knew him suspect he was a closet family physician because some of his favorite medical stories related to caring for pregnant women and children while serving in the U.S. Air Force in Japan.

The other side of the rigorous academician was his philosophical bent. He thought about how best to educate medical students, leading to his creating a clinical skills course that is still in place half a century later. Andy’s groundbreaking work was recognized by an award created by the university named the Andrew J. Zweifler Award for Excellence in Clinical Skills, given annually to a deserving medical student.

Andy was very troubled by the lack of diversity in medical school. During the 1960s, he worked closely with the few Black faculty and administrators to increase Black student enrollment at the University of Michigan Medical School and to support Black medical students in very personal and meaningful ways. His commitment led him to spend a sabbatical year at Meharry Medical College, a historically Black medical school in Nashville, Tenn., in 1967–68.

Andy found opportunities to work on racial and social justice issues both professionally and personally. His commitment to social justice was no doubt spurred by his wife, Ruth, and her tireless efforts in this regard as well. They epitomized thinking globally and acting locally when they joined several like-minded couples to purchase a house in their neighborhood and make it available as low-income housing.

Andy was part of Ann Arbor (Mich.) Meeting for six decades, holding fast to Quaker beliefs and values. Many people in the meeting remember Andy’s warmth, his practice of listening carefully, his messages in worship on ethics and human nature, and his love and care for his family and others. He spoke his beliefs through the way in which he lived his life. He supported the work of the meeting when it invited a refugee into sanctuary in 2018.

Andy’s humanitarian and social justice efforts continued throughout his career and into retirement, including organizing trips to provide humanitarian supplies to Nicaragua in the 1980s, and more recently being a founding board member of Physicians for the Prevention of Gun Violence.

Together, Andy and Ruth created for their children and grandchildren a welcoming home whose doors were literally always open, not only to the steady stream of friends and their children’s friends, but also to those needing a hand, a place to stay, and food to eat for a day, a week, or months, some for a lifetime.

Quick to smile and to laugh, Andy loved to listen to the blues, particularly when making his signature salads or spaghetti. He enjoyed playing recorder, woodworking, reading, sailing, and fishing—or maybe just casting, particularly in Canada’s McGregor Bay. His kindness and generosity touched many.

Andy is survived by his wife, Ruth Zweifler (nee LaPlace); six children, John Zweifler, Liz Zweifler (Steve Downes), Mark Zweifler (Donna Sawinski), Rhyan Zweifler, Natanya Zweifler, and Ylonda Siegert; 16 grandchildren; and one great-grandchild.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Maximum of 400 words or 2000 characters.

Comments on may be used in the Forum of the print magazine and may be edited for length and clarity.