The world lost one of the greats of the Greatest Generation on March 3, 2022. Lester Irving
Citrin died peacefully at the age of 98, revered by all who knew him. Son, brother, husband,
father, grandfather, great-grandfather, WWII veteran, physician, mentor, and friend, it was his gentle spirit and pure
heart that permeated all aspects of his life. He was born on February 18,1924 in Brooklyn, NY,
to his beloved parents, Henry and Lena (Cash) Citrin, to whom he remained devoted throughout
With her limited resources, Lester’s mother purchased the Encyclopedia Britannica, which he
began reading in fifth grade. He recalls reading the entire encyclopedia- perhaps the
foundation of his lifelong curiosity and love of learning. He attended Lafayette High School in
Brooklyn and graduated from the University of Michigan with a major in zoology in 1943 at the
age of nineteen. He enrolled in graduate school at Columbia University but was soon called to
serve in the U.S. Navy. As Seaman First Class V-6, he taught hand-to-hand combat and
sustained a serious knee injury and was granted an honorable discharge.
Following his discharge, Lester attended medical school at SUNY Downstate University,
interned at Morrisania City Hospital in the Bronx, and completed his residency in radiology at
the Bronx Veterans Administration Hospital. It was there he spotted the love of his life, Miriam
Friedenthal, across the room. Six months later, in April 1952, they married. They completed
their respective residencies and moved to the Capital District in 1955. Dr. Citrin became the
Chief of Radiology at St. Mary’s Hospital in Troy, NY, where he would work for his entire career,
mentoring many young radiologists who respected him greatly and with whom he remained
lifelong friends. He retired from practice at the age of 72. Retirement meant even more time for
opera, ballet, concerts at Tanglewood and SPAC, and voracious reading-Encyclopedia
Britannica complete, he moved on to reading the entirety of the Sunday Times and the New
Yorker each week.
Though he loved his work, family was his priority, and he did everything he could to enrich the
lives of his wife and his three daughters, Joan, Myra, and Beth. His love was deep and
unconditional. He encouraged his children to follow their passions, allowing them to spread their
wings, even though that meant he would constantly worry about their safety. He was rarely
judgmental and always humble-though he was immensely proud of his children and
grandchildren, he was never boastful.
Lester loved the natural world; his knowledge of mammals, plants, birds, and geography was
expansive. With his dear friend Clifford Tepper, he donated land to create the Schoharie Creek
Nature Preserve, allowing future generations to enjoy the pristine waterfalls and hardwood
forests both men had shared with their families. His life felt more complete with a dog (or two)
by his side, and he loved riding his horse, Charlie. He enjoyed travel-especially long road
trips-and visited five of the seven continents accompanied by family and friends. Lester loved
a good story and enjoyed telling his own, more so as he aged. His sense of humor was dry and
often surprising. Many stories were told on the deck of his Lake George summer home, where
he delighted his children and their children.
Lester lost his beloved wife, Miriam, just before the pandemic began, and he spent the rest of
his days with his daughters. This allowed him his third and final cross-country journey in an RV,
as well as memorable visits to California, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode
Island, and Virginia. He spent many precious weeks on Lake George, reveling in the company
of his children and their families. We all take great solace that during these last years of his life,
cognition intact, he was never without a family member by his side.
Lester was predeceased by his parents, Lena and Henry; his siblings, Arnold, Mike, and Estelle;
and Miriam, his wife of 67 years. He is survived by his daughters, Joan (Moses Goddard), Myra
(Robert Millstein), and Beth (Skip West). He is also survived by his grandchildren, Jesse
(Emily), Benjamin (Elaina), Daniel (Rachel), Jonathan, Julia, Rebecca, Robert, Sara, and Ross,
and great-grandchildren Benjamin and James.
In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation in
Lester’s memory to FORCE: Facing Our Risk of Cancer Empowered.