Ken Silk Remembrance

Doctors- Kenneth Silk’s Memorial Service was held yesterday May 7 at the League on the UM campus. It was a wonderful tribute to a superb man. So many stories about Ken’s generous spirit and gifted life were shared by the many attending. There will be a Kenneth R. Silk, MD Lectureship in Psychiatry. To contribute to that on line go to or write the UMHS office of Development. I have sent the following tribute to his family.

Kenneth R. Silk, MD                                                      Spring, 2016

Physicians for the Prevention of Gun Violence (PPGV) lost a strong partner in the fight to prevent gun violence with the recent passing of Kenneth R. Silk. Ken was a psychiatrist known and beloved in many circles – the Michigan gun violence circle is rather new and small. Ken joined us in the last 2 years and became important at once. His assets were a good sense of himself and his worth, a wonderful sense of humor, a keen intelligence and thoughtfulness. He was an academic, an administrator, a good writer and an editor. His career focused on borderline personality disorder, an entity thought untreatable for many years- a tribute to his willingness to work on a very tough problem.  He helped PPGV with our planning, thinking, and writing. With Ken we were working on a new gun violence curriculum for the University of Michigan. Gun violence is another tough problem and Ken was vital to PPGV.

Many of us in the medical community flinched when we first heard his diagnosis. His bone marrow disorder called for a complex response. Ken seemed centered. His family found him grateful and happy with the life he had led. He pushed on. He received a bone marrow transplant. The subsequent marrow failure dealt another blow and our fear returned. But, Ken seemingly had all he needed. He made plans. He volunteered for a PPGV medical talk in June.

His obituary mentions his mischievous streak as well as his ethical pursuits. We came to love these two parts of Ken. He was fun loving and he was serious about making the world a better place. He showed us how to live and then he showed us how to die. We are better for knowing him and will celebrate him and grieve his death. Thank-you Kenneth R. Silk!


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