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In Memory of
John J. Guehl
November 28, 1919 - November 13, 2016

Obituary: John J. Guehl Jr., MD
Psychiatrist and family doctor

Born Nov. 28, 1919

Passed Away Nov. 13, 2016

John Guehl Jr., a longtime family physician and psychiatrist in Pittsburgh, was the unofficial go-to guy when family members and colleagues needed advice.

So when a distant relative sought his counsel about what to do after he was cut by the Pittsburgh Steelers, Dr. Guehl suggested he quit football and pursue a job in banking or insurance.

Before he had a chance to look into a business career, however, the young man named John Unitas landed a tryout with the Baltimore Colts, made the team, and went on to become one of the all-time great quarterbacks in the NFL.

Dad always had the most conservative advice, said his son, John Guehl III, an ophthalmologist at West Penn Hospital, Bloomfield. There wasn’t a risk~taking bone in his body.

The elder Dr. Guehl died Sunday at Asbury Heights, a Mt. Lebanon retirement community. He was 96.

His son said Dr. Guehl Jr. resided in an independent living unit at Asbury Heights until about three weeks ago, when he broke his hip and needed medical care.

Dr. Guehl Jr. grew up in the Troy Hill section of the North Side, where his father operated the Guehl Funeral Home. He was one of seven siblings who lived with their parents above the funeral home on Lowrie Street that is now called the Hughes Funeral Home.

After graduating from Central Catholic High School, he attended mortuary school in New York and returned to help run the family business.

When he volunteered for military service in World War II, he was turned down because of poor eyesight and decided to become a doctor as a way to give back.

He earned bachelors and medical degrees from the University of Pittsburgh and then opened a general family practice in the city’s Sheraden neighborhood.

His son recalled accompanying his father on house calls before the elder Dr. Guehl decided to sell his practice and enter a residency program at the University of Pittsburghs Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic.

I think in the 1950s psychiatry was very, very hot and was really an intellectual kind of discipline,” said Dr. Guehl III. He was not a diploma collector, but he was extremely bright and if there was some further knowledge to make you the best, that’s what he wanted.

Dr. Guehl Jr., who practiced in East Liberty and Mt. Lebanon, was among the first psychiatrists in the region to become certified to administer electroconvulsive therapy, or electroshock therapy, his son said.

Dr. Guehl Jr. was married to the former Fern Mary Lhota for more than 60 years. She died in 2008.

In addition to his son, Dr. Guehl Jr. is survived by three daughters: Fern Winans, Johanna Guehl and Allysn Hurley, all of Pittsburgh; eight grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.

Visitation will be held from 4 to 8 p.m. today at William Slater II Funeral Service, 1650 Greentree Road, Scott.

A funeral service will be held at 10 a.m. Wednesday at the funeral home. Memorial contributions can be made to St. Anthony’s Chapel, 1704 Harpster St., Pittsburgh, PA 15212.

Joyce Gannon: or 412-263-1580.