Lattimer, John Kingsley 1914-2007

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Lattimer, John Kingsley 1914-2007


See index for CA sketch: Born October 14, 1914, in Mount Clemens, MI; died May 10, 2007, in Englewood, NJ. Physician, educator, and author. A respected urologist, Lattimer was also a bal- listics expert who studied the John F. Kennedy assassination and an ardent collector of military memorabilia. He was a graduate of Columbia University, where he completed his B.A. in 1935, an M.D. in 1938, and an Sc.D. in 1943. That year, he enlisted in the U.S. Army Medical Corps, served in Europe, and treated the wounded after the D-Day invasion. Already interested in weaponry as a boy, he became an expert at ballistics during the war. After World War II, he was involved in the Nuremburg trials, being the first civilian doctor to treat Nazi war criminals while they were in prison. Lattimer also formed a controversial theory about Adolf Hitler. He believed that Hitler suffered from Parkinson's disease, and that this explained his fits of anger and his poor military decisions in his later years. Lattimer would later write about this in his 1999 book, Hitler's Fatal Sickness and Other Secrets of the Nazi Leaders. Back in the States, Lattimer returned to Columbia as a faculty member. He became a full professor of urology and chair of his department in 1955. At the same time, he was director of urology service and Squier Urology Clinic at Presbyterian Hospital. He retired from both positions in 1980. While a practicing urologist, Lattimer was noted for spearheading the new discipline of pediatric urology; he also contributed to the science by developing a cure for renal tuberculosis. Meanwhile, he made a name for himself as a ballistics expert, and in 1972 the Kennedy family hired him to study the president's assassination. Lattimer's conclusions agreed with the Warren Commission that all the bullets that struck Kennedy were from Lee Harvey Oswald's rifle. He later published Kennedy and Lincoln: Medical and Ballistic Comparisons of Their Assassinations (1980). Interested in weaponry from all periods of history, Lattimer maintained an impressive collection in his home for many years. Everything from Revolutionary War guns and medieval armor to paintings by Adolf Hitler, the bloody collar from Abraham Lincoln's assassination, and, he claimed, the penis that had been removed from Napoleon Bonaparte by a priest, were stored there. Lattimer also was a battle reenactor, and in 1975 he staged a reenactment of Ethan Allen's victory at Fort Ticonderoga.



Los Angeles Times, May 15, 2007, p. B9.

New York Times, May 13, 2007, p. A23.

Washington Post, May 14, 2007, p. B6.