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Class of '58 alumnus pens award-winning children's book about dying

Like many of his 1958 Medical School classmates who were reunited at this fall’s Reunion Weekend, September 26-27, Jerrold Johnson, M.D., has remained active in his medical and social communities. He retired from his family practice in 1998 but continues to volunteer at his Bozeman, Montana, community clinic and serves on the local advisory committee for mental health.

Recently, Johnson ventured into new territory—the literary world—writing and illustrating a children’s book called Horse and the Little Girl.

The book, which he wrote following the death of his granddaughter, was an award-winning finalist in the health-death and dying category of the National Best Books 2007 Awards. He hopes the story will help people of all ages deal with death.

“As doctors, we cannot be afraid of death,” says Johnson, who taught about death and dying early in his career and in the 1970s helped start a hospice program in Montana. “This doesn’t mean we shouldn’t fight against it, but when someone dies, we must help the patient and family with the dying process and handle each situation with compassion and empathy.”

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