Annals of Allergy
1982, p. 353-4 by Irvin Caplin, MD
Benjamin Franklin Feingold
How does one eulogize a giant of a man like Ben Feingold! Who's Who in America requires an entire page to list his accomplishments. One could do the same listing his accomplishments in the field of allergy and immunology alone. He was born June 15, 1900. he received his M.D. degree at the University of Pittsburgh in 1924, studied pathology at the University of Guttengen, Germany, and spent a year as house officer at the Children's Clinic, the University of Austria in Vienna, from 1928-1929. It was at the latter institution where he had his first exposure to allergy under Clement von Pirquet. He then taught pediatrics at Northwestern University for three years, following which he taught pediatrics in the Los Angeles area until 1951. From 1951 to his death he was associated with the Kaiser Permanente Group.
While with the Kaiser Permanente Group he established all their allergy facilities in the northern California area. He was chairman of the Central Research Committee of Northern California, Director of Laboratories of Medical Entomology and Chief Emeritus, Department of Allergy, from 1969 - 1982. He also served as a commander USNR, 1941-45. He served in the South Pacific area with distinction and was present at the signing of the surrender in Tokyo Harbor in 1945.
At a time when most of us are ready to retire from practice and rest on our laurels, Ben entered on perhaps the most important pursuit of his life, second only to his 30-year marriage to Helene Samuels in June, 1951. He noted the frequent connection of hyperactivity in children to food additives and salicylates. Although controvery arose, a panel to investigate Ben's claims stated, "We were impressed with the clinical observations made; the defined diets were effective in some patients." Many physicians are indebted to Ben Feingold for a control of their hyperactivity patients through diet.
He wrote voluminously and in addition to his many published papers has three books to his credit: Introduction to Clinical Allergy, Why your Child is Hyperactive, and The Feingold Cookbook for Hyperactive Children. His wife, Helene, was co-author of the cookbook.
There is another side to Ben Feingold that few were privileged to share - his artistic nature. He raised champion roses and orchids. He and his wife, Helene, were warm hosts and stimulated one to an appreciation of music and the arts. Never to be forgotten is the fact that despite his busy life, he flew more than 2,000 miles to visit with a dying friend. Those who knew him are richer for having known him. Children for eons will be indebted to Ben for their good health. Although we truly grieve with his wife, Helene, his stepson, Marshall Mayer, his children, Richard, Fred, Ray and Judith, and his four grandchildren, how fortunate we are for the inspiration and memories he provided us with and which we will treasure for many years to come.
"Through this toilsome world, alas!
Once and only once I pass;
If a kindness I may show.
If a good deed I may do
To a suffering fellow man,
Let me do it while I can.
No delay, for it is plain
I shall not pass this way again."