Cover photo for Dr. Edward Hecht Bossen's Obituary
Dr. Edward Hecht Bossen Profile Photo
1939 Dr. Edward 2023

Dr. Edward Hecht Bossen

August 9, 1939 — June 24, 2023


Dr. Edward Hecht Bossen was born in Jacksonville, Florida on August 9, 1939, to Morris and Sarah Bossen. He graduated from Lee High School in 1957 and graduated from the University of Florida in 1961. By that point, he had met the love of his life, the beautiful Roxana Mack, and reluctantly left her in Florida as he headed "North" to Durham, NC to attend Duke University Medical School. They kept their love strong through letters and weekly phone calls (long-distance was expensive in those days). They were happily reunited when they got married on August 11, 1963.

Upon receiving his medical degree, Ed completed an internship, residency, and fellowship at Duke between 1965 and 1970, while simultaneously serving in the US Army Reserve. He served in active duty in the US Army, achieving the ranks of major and captain, before departing from the military in 1972.

Ed and Roxie made their way back to Durham when he joined Duke’s Department of Pathology in 1972. He worked as both a clinician and professor, and served as Director of Surgical Pathology and Director of Anatomic Pathology. He remained with the department until he attained Professor Emeritus status in 2012.

Ed made many important contributions to the field of pathology during his long career.  He established one of the first muscle biopsy diagnostic services in the country, which he then led for 40 years until his retirement, at which time he had developed it into a nationally-known high-level consultative service. His research in the area of muscle pathology led to numerous advances in the day-to-day practice in this area and he became well known as an expert in electron microscopy. But Ed’s contributions went well beyond his areas of research. He was widely recognized as an expert general surgical pathologist, and served as a consultant on difficult cases to many of his colleagues over the years. Ed was also renowned as a teacher. His kind and gentle corrections are fondly remembered by several generations of resident and fellow trainees, and his mentorship skills led to successful careers for many alumni of the program, including a number of Department Chairs around the country. Even after his retirement in 2012, Ed continued his mentorship and research activities, never giving up on his effort to advance the field and help his colleagues. One of Ed’s long time colleagues summed up his impact by saying “he is the single most important colleague many of us who worked with him have ever had. An amazing teacher, mentor, and one of the kindest people we have ever known.” In recognition of his many contributions, the Duke Pathology Department established the Ed Bossen Team Player Award in his honor; it is given every year to the resident deemed exemplary of Ed’s relationship to colleagues: that of a mentor and supporter who knows that the best patient care is provided by everyone working together.

Ed was guided by his deep and abiding faith. He amassed a large collection of religious texts, and he spent many happy hours poring over them and contemplating life’s greatest mysteries. He acted as a lay cantor at Judea Reform Congregation and led religious services at The Forest at Duke. He was also called upon to lead religious rituals, including weddings and funerals.

Ed’s interests extended well beyond medicine and religion. He was a lifelong learner who delved into subjects as wide-ranging as physics, classical music, math, art, 19th-century seafaring and shipbuilding, Shakespeare, and so many others. Many dinner table conversations began with openings like, “I was reading the most interesting thing about hydrothermal vents…” Even as an accomplished adult, he retained a childlike sense of curiosity, wonder, and awe.

Above all, Ed was devoted to his family. His primary goal was the comfort and well-being of his loved ones. His boundless love for Roxana over their nearly 60 years of marriage was an inspiration to all who had the privilege to witness it. As a father, he was endlessly kind, compassionate, and supportive. Through his example of integrity, humor, and love, Ed taught his family—and all who knew him—what it means to live well.

Ed is survived by his beloved wife, Roxana; his daughters Deborah Bossen Lorber (Brian), Barbara Bossen (Gary Asher), and Rebecca Bossen McHugh (Patrick); his grandchildren Hannah Lorber, Malcolm Lorber, Joshua Deena, Priya Deena, Isaac McHugh; step-grandchildren Jacob Asher, Jonas Asher, Lily Asher, and Rina Asher; his sister, Judith Branting, and many cousins, nieces, and nephews.

Arrangements are being handled by Hudson Funeral Home.

Funeral services will be held  at Judea Reform Congregation: 1933 W Cornwallis Rd, Durham, NC 27705 at 2 p.m. on Sunday, June 25.

For those unable to attend in person, the service will be livestreamed. Judea's Livestream link for Services is:

In lieu of flowers, and in keeping with Ed’s loving and giving nature, please send donations to Judea Reform Congregation or to a local organization of your choice.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Funeral Service

Sunday, June 25, 2023

2:00 - 3:00 pm (Eastern time)

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