Joel Borkow

Joel Borkow

Dr. Joel E. Borkow, a well-known Johnstown-area plastic surgeon, passed away on Thursday.

He was 77.

Borkow, of Westmont, spent more than three decades with Dr. Stephen Benko at Plastic Surgical Associates and another 10 within the Conemaugh Memorial Medical Center system.

He later volunteered at the Highlands Health free clinic.

“My feeling on him is that he is just a kind – obviously bright and talented – but just a kind person and the ultimate professional,” said Amy Bradley, who spent 18 years with Conemaugh Health System public relations before becoming the Cambria Regional Chamber’s president and CEO. “I enjoyed every interaction I had with him and always just considered it a privilege to work with him.”

Bradley described Borkow as a “kind,” “sweet,” “gem” of a person.

Borkow spent seven years as a partner with Dr. Kamran Shayesteh.

“I can tell you that Dr. Borkow was a proper surgeon and gentleman,” Shayesteh said. “Even to this day, the patients still ask for him by name. He will be greatly missed.”

Borkow was a member of multiple medical organizations, including the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.

“I know that he was very proud of his membership in that,” Shayesteh said.

He supported numerous nonprofits, so, in lieu of flowers, the family asks people to make donations to local charities of their choice.

He is survived by his wife Mary (Pappas) Borkow, who was a leader in the effort to preserve the historic Roxbury Bandshell.

“Our thoughts and prayers go out to Mary Borkow and her family this weekend due to the untimely passing of her husband Dr. Joel Borkow,” according to a statement at “Dr. Borkow was a fixture at the weekly Bandshell concerts from the beginning, and a strong supporter of his wife Mary’s on-going efforts to restore the Bandshell. A humble gentleman and distinguished surgeon, he will be missed.”

A service to honor Borkow will be held on Monday, beginning at 11 a.m., at Frank Duca Funeral Home, Westmont Chapel, with entombment afterward at Grandview Mausoleum. 

Dave Sutor is a reporter for The Tribune-Democrat. He can be reached at 814-532-5056. Follow him on Twitter @Dave_Sutor.

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