Aaron Bernstein, 98, of Mercer Island, Wash., died May 3, 2018. He lived in Newport, R.I., and in Short Hills for 51 years before moving to Mercer Island seven years ago.
Dr. Bernstein graduated at the age of 16 from high school in Newport and went to Skerry’s College in Edinburgh, Scotland, to take the courses needed to pass medical school entrance exams. He entered the Edinburgh School of Medicine in 1937 at the age of 17. Upon graduating as a surgeon in 1942, he became the resident surgeon in charge of the surgical unit at the Oldham Royal Infirmary in Manchester, England, where he was also the pathologist to the king’s coroner.
At the end of World War II, he joined the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Association (UNRRA) and went to Paderborn, Germany. He was the medical officer in charge of three Displaced Persons camps until 1947, when he returned to the United States. After a brief internship at Newark Beth Israel Hospital he joined its department of anesthesia. In 1960, he was invited to head the department of anesthesia at Alexian Brothers Hospital in Elizabeth, which he ran for the next 30 years with his partner, Dr. Ervin Moss, before retiring in 1991.
When he was finally drafted by the United States during World War II, he was given the highest deferment category by the British government so he could continue his hospital duties at the Oldham Royal Infirmary for the war’s duration.
He was an active member of Congregation Beth El, often leading the morning minyan until he left New Jersey. He was a member of the Maimonides Society of United Jewish Federation of MetroWest, a predecessor to Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest NJ.
He is survived by his wife of 67 years, Ruth; three sons, Jay (Holly), Guy (Nancy), and David (Erika); his daughter, Judy (Jeff) Greenstein; 10 grandchildren; and a great-grandchild.
Services were held May 6 with arrangements by Butterworth Funeral Home, Seattle. Memorial contributions may be made to Brothers for Life, Seattle.