Dr. and Mrs. Leonard Bristol, 2011. Dr. Leonard Bristol, portrait by Sarah Joffe, Adirondack Medical Center Born: April 1919 in New York City

Died: October 22, 2016

Married: Virginia

Children:  Noreen Oslander, Kevin, Kathy Bristol Bailey, Dennis, Mike, Jim, Eileen Leahy

Dr. Leonard J. Bristol was a member of the American Medical Association, New York State Medical Society, Franklin County Medical Association of New York, Saranac Lake Medical Society, a diplomat of the American Board of Radiology, a member of the American College of Radiology and a member of the Northeastern New York Radiological Society.

Bristol attended the pre-med program at New York University, and completed his Doctorate of Medicine in 1944 at Long Island College of Medicine, now known as SUNY Downstate College of Medicine. After medical school he completed his internship and residency, specializing in radiology in 1949, at a time when it was still quite a new field.

Following his residency in radiology, he enlisted in the Navy, and was sent to the National Naval Center in Bethesda, Maryland for two years, after which he completed a fellowship in radiology at Johns Hopkins Medical School in Baltimore, where he developed an interest in occupational pulmonary diseases. The director of his program suggested that he go to Saranac Lake to work at the Saranac Laboratory, where Dr. Leroy Gardner and Arthur J. Vorwald had been focusing on occupational diseases of the lung, especially pneumoconiosis, a lung disease caused by dust inhalation. He worked with others to develop a radiological classification for pneumoconiosal diseases, work that led to the creation of radiologic teaching methods that have since become standard. It was a very new field at the time, and he was called upon to testify in court cases around the country. In addition to his work at the Saranac Laboratory, he practiced at the Saranac Lake General Hospital, Will Rogers Memorial Hospital, and other north country medical facilities.

A year after his move to Saranac Lake, Dr. Bristol was joined by his wife, Virginia, and two young children. The Bristols now have seven children, twelve grandchildren and one great-granddaughter.

Dr. Bristol Family Home,
formerly the Mallinson Cottage at Trudeau Sanatorium
He served on the Saranac Lake Voluntary Health Association
for twelve years and was active in the Saranac Lake Rotary Club for fifty years, serving as president. He was a member of the Knights of Columbus and the Elks. In 1968 he was named president of the New York State Elks Association, and in 1978, he was elected the organization's Grand Exalted Ruler (national president). As president, he took a year off from his medical practice visit every state in the nation, representing the Elks. In 2000, Governor George Pataki cited him for his "civic duty, community service, and a strong sense of responsibility to his fellow New Yorkers." The Saranac Lake Voluntary Health Association awarded a $1,000 scholarship to a North Country Community College Radiological Technology student in his name.

Dr. Bristol served as a member of the Saranac Lake School Board for sixteen years, thirteen years as its president, during which time, the school district was centralized.

In February of 2013, Historic Saranac Lake wrote a Living History column for the Adirondack Daily Enterprise featuring one of Dr. Bristol's grandsons, Craig Leahy.

 

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2012-01-13 13:27:13   Dr. Bristol worked at the Saranac Laboratory on Church Street. His lab was in the front of the building, in the room above the John Black Room. Dr. Bristol was interviewed for his oral history in 2011. The interview is on file in the Historic Saranac Lake archives. —amycatania