Joseph Osinchak

Joe Osinchak : – “doc,” “osch” – born 09/20/1937 at Fountain Springs, Pa. He was raised in the hard coal-region town of Morea Colliery, Schuylkill County, Pa. He graduated from Mahanoy Township High School in 1955 and was the first family member to enter college. He received his A.B. degree from Susquehanna University in 1959, majoring in Biology and Chemistry. A Dean’s list student, he went on to graduate school in the Department of Anatomy at Duke University, where he received the Phi Beta Kappa award. He was granted the Ph.D. degree in 1964 and was awarded a postdoctoral fellowship to continue his work on the electron microscopy of neurosecretory neurons in the brain.

Joe entered the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York as an Interdepartmental Fellow and also taught neuroscience in the Anatomy Department. He then accepted an Associate Professorship at the City College of New York Department of Biology and served as its Director of the Electron Microscopy Program. His teaching responsibilities included vertebrate histology and introduction to the neurosciences. Many Biology Honor students were sponsored and other science graduate students were assisted in their application of electron microscopical techniques. He served as pre-med advisor and, as a Full Professor, contributed to the development of the College’s BioMedical Program, in which he served as Director of the Neuroscience Section for many years.

While at Susquehanna, he met the love of his life, Sandra Marie Meyer, a Liberal Arts major, and they were married just after graduation in 1960. A devoted family man, his children include Suzan Marie Jeantheau (Richard), Joanne Elaine Lawson (Robert), Kathleen Ann Schroeder (David), and Kristine Diane Willats (Jeffrey).

Nine grandchildren include: Claire and Rebecca Jeantheau; Kayla Stiles (Lawson), Kevin and Jodie Lawson; Henry Schroeder; Lauren, Steven, and Megan Willats.

Joe managed to attend every high school volleyball game. He loved the outdoors,  both fresh and saltwater fishing, and was a grand slam winner while OBX billfishing. Fascinated by crafts, from traditional pysanky egg-dyeing at Easter to woodworking projects, he loved stained glass, and dabbled in paper-making, photography, painting, and a variety of artwork techniques. Especially fond of gardening, he constructed an attached home greenhouse to work with those  hard-to-grow varieties.    

He suffered from a combination of cardio-pulmonary problems. A memorial service will be scheduled by family members at a later time. A donation to your favorite charity would be appreciated.


  1. I knew he was a smart man but WOW! Such amazing over-my-head accomplishments! Certainly a live well-lived, but that doesn’t make it any easier. I hope you all can get through this moment with sweet memories of Mr. Joe. I remember his humor and enthusiasm with the kids…and his unfailing sense of curiosity, like any great man of science. A tru loss. Peace to him, his devoted wife and girls, and to all he touched.

  2. I knew him as a colleague at CCNY. He was as nice a guy as you could meet. Our condolences to his family.

  3. Dr “O” was my beloved mentor at CCNY. My brothers, also students at CCNY at the time, suggested I approach Dr. “O” about working in his lab, because he was a well-respected professor who was an expert in neuroanatomy and I was interested in learning about the brain. Dr. “O” taught me how to use an electron microscope, perform experiments, develop photographs in the dark room in the lab, and helped me to publish a research paper. He offered guidance and a recommendation on my behalf when I applied and was accepted to medical school.

    I remember one time Dr. “O” took me with him to a neuroanatomy conference at Einstein and introduced me to his mentor, the esteemed Dr. Berta Scharrer. That was a special honor for me.

    But above all that, Dr. “O” gave me sage life advice and was a role model, through his dedication to science and the scientific method, his love and devotion to his family, and his love of life.

    After I graduated from college, Dr. “O” was the one to make sure to maintain contact with me. For 39 years, I looked forward to his annual Christmas card, with photos of his beloved wife, Sandy, and his beloved daughters, and eventually, their spouses and his grandchildren. I especially loved reading the news of his family and yearly vacations. Unfortunately, I can’t say I reciprocated often, but nevertheless Dr. “O” faithfully sent me a card and note. Today, on New Year’s, I realized I didn’t get a card this year and do I reluctantly looked him up online, and sadly discovered his obituary. Dr. “O”, you had a “well-lived” life, and I will be forever grateful for your mentorship, guidance and friendship. My sincere condolences to Mrs. “O”, Suzan, Joanne, Kathleen, Kristine, their spouses and children.

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