Temple Magazine

Honoring a Cherished Father

Penny Blatt keeps her father’s memory alive with a gift to Temple University Hospital and Temple University School of Medicine.

Story by Andrew Smith
Photography by Jim Roese Photography

Though Abraham M. Rechtman, MED ’23, passed away more than 40 years ago, his daughter is still reminded of him regularly.

“People frequently come up to me and tell me that my father operated on them or on one of their relatives,” Penny Blatt says. “Even decades later, they still remember things he said to them and the way he treated them.”

In honor of her father, Blatt recently made a $1 million commitment to the School of Medicine and Temple University Hospital. Half of the gift will endow the Abraham M. Rechtman, MD, Orthopaedic Research Fund in the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery and Sports Medicine. The other half will name the Abraham M. Rechtman, MD, Outpatient Orthopaedic Clinic in the hospital’s Boyer Pavilion.

She says the decision to make a gift in her father’s name was an easy one.

“Temple was an important part of my father’s life. He always raved about his time there and felt a special kinship with the school. He was first in his class all four years—I still have the medal the university gave him. When the opportunity arose to honor him, it was almost automatic that I chose Temple.”

Following graduation from the School of Medicine, Rechtman embarked on a distinguished career as an orthopaedic surgeon. According to Blatt, he was the first in Philadelphia to be certified in what was then a relatively new specialty.

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Penny Blatt recently made a $1 million commitment to the School of Medicine and Temple University Hospital in honor of her father, Abraham M. Rechtman, MED '23.

For many years, Rechtman served as chief of orthopaedic surgery at Einstein Medical Center in Philadelphia. He also operated once a week at the Betty Bacharach Home for Crippled Children in Atlantic City, N.J., and provided medical coverage at local high school sporting events.

“My father loved practicing medicine; it was a calling for him,” Blatt says. “We had a three-story home at 17th and Pine streets. My father’s office was on the first floor, and we lived upstairs. Sometimes, at the end of the day, he would stand at the bottom of the stairs and call up to my mother, asking if it was okay if one of his patients joined us for dinner.”

Described by Blatt as a man of principle, Rechtman also enjoyed teaching medicine. Throughout the decades, he supervised and taught hundreds of medical students and residents.

“Most of them had trouble keeping up with my father because he had long legs and walked so fast,” Blatt says, laughing.

Even after Rechtman stopped performing surgery, he would continue to visit the operating room to guide younger surgeons.

“My father was a physician in the days when people revered physicians,” Blatt says. “He was the most wonderful father in the world, and I think he deserves to be remembered for the things he did. Naming the orthopaedic outpatient center after him and helping fund research will ensure that his legacy lives on.”

To make a gift to Temple, contact the Office of Institutional Advancement at 215-926-2500 or giving@temple.edu, or visit myowlspace.com/makeagift.

Back to Spring 2011