Alexander Ziss of West Falmouth died on Sunday, September 2, at age 74. He is survived by his wife of 47 years, Judith Ziss, his daughter Bethany Ziss of Pittsburgh, and his sister Freya Nemiroff of Bala Cynwyd, PA. Although born in New York City, he was the son of the late Irving I and Fannie (Schiff) Ziss. He grew up in Philadelphia, graduating from Central High School. He received a degree in Chemistry from the University of Pennsylvania and earned two Master’s Degrees, one in political science from Penn and another in health care administration in a joint program of Baruch College and Mount Sinai’s medical school. During the Vietnam War, he performed two years of alternative service as a conscientious objector at St. Luke’s Hospital in New York. Alec and Judy were married in 1971. They moved from Washington to Manhattan and were living in Fair Lawn, New Jersey, when their daughter Beth was born.
Originally Alec’s work at St. Luke’s was intended to be unrelated to career pursuits. As It turned out, he was invited back to be Administrator of the Radiology Department and later served as an Assistant Vice President at the hospital. He accepted an administrative position at Children’s Hospital in Boston, then moved to Falmouth in 1988 to become Vice President for Clinical Services at Falmouth Hospital. While here, he developed a special interest in medical practice management and set up an innovative program of practices affiliated with the hospital. He later moved into practice management himself.
Alec served on the Board of the Falmouth Housing Trust and as an Elected Member of the Falmouth Democratic Town Committee. He joined Cape Care and Health Care for All, both groups favoring a single-payer system. In addition, he was a member of the Consumer Education Ad Hoc Workgroup, which worked to implement electronic medical records. Ironically, Alec was appointed to that group in the role of a “Consumer.”
Alec had a remarkable memory, which was a valuable asset in playing bridge. He recalled baseball statistics and telephone numbers and could recognize countless pieces of classical music after hearing only a few notes. Alec never lost his love of sports, especially football and basketball. When Beth was born, he took up photography, a hobby that was also useful when he and Judy travelled. They also loved attending concerts and other events. Judy always said that Alec courted her over the Sunday New York Times crossword puzzle and they worked on word puzzles together throughout their marriage.
A private graveside service on September 4 will be followed by a celebration of Alec’s life, tentatively scheduled for the spring. Memorial donations may be made to the Falmouth Service Center, P.O. Box 208, Falmouth, MA 02541.