Dr. Joseph A, Schwenkler, a former family physician and current P. A. Educator, who was a pioneer in establishing Hunterdon County’s medical system; a key driver of the county’s growth and success, died Wednesday, May 4, 2016, at his home in Readington Township. He was 64.
The cause was complications from Parkinson’s disease, with which he had struggled for the past several years.
In his career as a family physician, Dr. Schwenkler was a founding partner of two successful local practices, served as Medical Director for hospice, and led the charge to incorporate PA’s into the family practice environment. His practices pioneered utilization of Electronic Medical Records, and Dr. Schwenkler was an avid medical programmer; writing code for early versions of their system. He received degrees as both a Physician Assistant and an M.D. from Rutgers Medical School (known at the time as Robert Wood Johnson Medical School), and performed his residency at Hunterdon Medical Center.
When the onset of Parkinson’s symptoms made it impractical to continue in the demanding role of a family physician, Dr. Schwenkler moved on to serve as the Medical Director for the Rutgers Medical School Physician Assistant Program. He was widely beloved by his students as he had been by his former patients, and led the education of hundreds of Physician Assistants now serving communities across the country.
Outside of work, Dr. Schwenkler was a keen athlete and outdoorsman. He could be found running in local triathlons, kayaking at Round Valley, or hiking and camping with his children and nephews. He was fond of James Bond films, the Beatles, and history books.
Dr.Schwenkler is survived by his wife, Mary Schwenkler, a former biomedical researcher, equestrian, and key player in the growth of the Stanton Holly Trail. They married in 1978. He is also survived by two sons, Kirk and Kevin; two brothers, John Schwenkler (an identical twin) and Robert Schwenkler; and two sisters, Trudy Horrocks and Nancy Bennett. A brother, Steven Schwenkler, pre-deceased him.
Calling hours will be Wednesday, May 11, 2016, 6:00-8:00 PM at Holcombe-Fisher Funeral Home, 147 Main Street, Flemington, NJ. A memorial service will be held Thursday, May 12, 2016, at 11:00 AM in the Readington Reformed Church, Readington, NJ.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Michael J. Fox Foundation, PO Box 5014, Hagerstown, MD 21741-5014 or the Hunterdon Medical Center, 2100 Wescott Drive Flemington, NJ 08822.