Dr. Humphrey Germaniuk, 64, died April 20th, 2018 at the Cleveland Clinic Main Campus due to complications resulting from end-stage liver disease. Germaniuk was born on February 4th, 1954 on Staten Island, New York City to Ukrainian immigrants Onufrij and Neonila Germaniuk (nee Matuszczak). A borderline juvenile delinquent in the late 1960s, Germaniuk played rock and roll music throughout New York City and had enough of a following to catch the attention of Capitol Records, for whom his band Timeless recorded before breaking up shortly thereafter.
At age 19, however, Germaniuk unwittingly took his first steps toward what would become a distinguished career in forensic medicine by volunteering with the Manhattan Medical Examiner’s Office under the guidance of renowned physician Dr. Milton Helpern, who would become a mentor and role model. Germaniuk studied Biology at Wagner College, graduating in 1975. He then seized an opportunity to obtain a dual Ph.D. and M.D. at the University of Rome, Italy. Germaniuk returned to the United States in 1984 with a deep affection for his Italian hosts and their culture.
Dr. Germaniuk began his professional medical career at The Ohio State University, where he completed a residency in pathology from 1984-1988. He then held a Fellowship in Forensic Medicine at the Miami-Dade County Medical Examiner’s Office, Florida from 1988-1989, becoming certified as a Forensic Pathologist. After his certification, he served as an associate Medical Examiner for Onondaga County, New York from 1989 to 1994. In that year, Dr. Germaniuk was selected to serve as Deputy Chief of the Washington D.C. Medical Examiner’s Office.
While in Washington, Dr. Germaniuk would build a national reputation as an authority in forensic medicine; honing his craft by performing thousands of autopsies and testifying in hundreds of capital trials, both in District as well as Federal Court. The author of numerous articles on forensics, during this time Germaniuk was also an adjunct professor at Georgetown and George Washington Schools of Law, lecturing on various medico-legal aspects of death investigation. By 1998, Germaniuk was serving as Chief Medical Examiner of the Nation’s Capital.
Despite receiving accolades for his management of the Washington D.C. Medical Examiner’s Office, the professional demands of his position took a toll. After long consultation with his family, Germaniuk chose to return to the State of Ohio and accepted a position as Assistant Coroner to Trumbull County. After the political aggravation of Washington, Trumbull County was, in Germaniuk’s words, a “priceless opportunity” to reconnect with what mattered most in life. Germaniuk became the first certified Forensic Pathologist to serve the County.
After the retirement of longtime Coroner and friend Dr. Theodore Soboslay, Germaniuk found himself in politics for the first time, running for his predecessor’s office. In 2008 Dr. Germaniuk won his first term as Trumbull County Coroner. Over the next ten years and until his death, Germaniuk built the office into a powerhouse. His beloved staff of death investigators held and still holds a unique distinction as one of the few Corners’ Offices in the State fully certified in death investigation through the American Board of Medicolegal Death Investigation.
As Trumbull County Coroner, Germaniuk fought to recoup taxpayer money lost in professional time spent testifying in private civil litigation. Over a period of years Germaniuk advocated for legislation addressing reimbursement to Counties, as well as creating incentives to improve the quality of death investigation across the State. In both instances, Germaniuk testified before the Ohio General Assembly. He also conducted frequent training seminars for police departments throughout the region and was strongly respected and supported by law enforcement throughout Northeast Ohio.
During his career, Dr. Germaniuk had a distinguished record of national, state, and local community service, including as State delegate to the National Association of Medical Examiners and College of American Pathologists; as a governor of the Ohio Society of Pathology; and member of the American Society of Clinical Pathologists. His other associations included the Ohio State Medical Association; the Ohio State Coroner’s Association, and, perhaps most fondly for his colleagues and peers from Trumbull Memorial Hospital, as Past President of the Trumbull County Medical Society.
In 2010, Dr. Germaniuk was invited by the Country of Pakistan to participate in a series of lectures on best practices for competent death investigation alongside representatives from the Punjab Forensic Science Agency, The Pakistani Supreme Court, and the Punjab Institute of Language, Art & Culture. The trip was conducted under the auspices of the U.S. State Department and hosted in the ancient city of Lahore as part of an ongoing diplomatic effort to strengthen ties between the two countries as part of the Global War on Terrorism. Germaniuk considered the trip a defining moment in his career.
Alongside his accolades, Germaniuk was an avid outdoorsman and a member in good standing of the Vienna Fish and Game Club, where he taught hunter safety education. Germaniuk also belonged to the Trumbull County Antique Tractor Club, and actively participated in the County’s Democratic Party. He was a consultant to author James Patterson, and even appeared in one of his novels. Alongside his wife and son, Germaniuk enjoyed numerous outdoor activities, including sailing both on Lake Erie and Mosquito Lake, hiking and hunting on the family’s property in Western Pennsylvania.
He is survived by his wife of 36 years, Genevieve Marie (Smith) Germaniuk; son and daughter-in-law, Zachariah Shevchenko and Suzanne Elizabeth Germaniuk (nee Schoen) of Cleveland, Ohio, sister and neice Nina Irene (Matthew) Cooper (nee Germaniuk) and Nila Skye Cooper of Stillwater, Minnesota; Step-niece Oksana (Sergie) Popova and grandnieces Ulyana Popova of New York, New York, and Drs. Vera (Richard) Salvatore, DDS (nee Popova) of Schenectady, New York. He is preceded in death by his mother, father, stepsister Tamara Ulyana, and stepbrother Ivan of Moscow, Russian Federation.
Calling hours for the family will be held at Peter Rossi and Son Memorial Chapel, 1884 North Road NE, Warren, Ohio, from 4-6 PM, on Monday, April 30th, and 9-9:30 AM on Tuesday, May 1st. Dr. Germaniuk’s funeral will be held at St. John Paul II Parish, St Joseph Church 420 North Street NW, Warren, Ohio, at 10 AM on Tuesday, May 1st, 2018. In lieu of flowers, please direct contributions to the St. John Paul II Capital Campaign, or to the National Association of Medical Examiners Foundation at Denise McNally, Executive Director, 362 Bristol Road, Walnut Shade, MO 65771. Those he loved, his colleagues, and the community he served will dearly miss him.
Family and friends may visit www.peterrossiandsonfh.com to view this obituary, sign the guest book and send condolences to the Germaniuk family.
St. John Paul II Capital Campaign
420 North St. NW, Warren OH 44483
National Association of Medical Examiners Foundation at Denise McNally, Executive Director
362 Bristol Road, Walnut Shade MT 65771