Dr. John Joseph Alpar


Dr. John Joseph Alpar
Dr. John Joseph Alpar

Dr. John Joseph Alpar, 95, of Amarillo, TX died on Tuesday, July 13, 2021.

Rosary will be said on Tuesday, July 20, 2021, at 6:30 P.M., at Boxwell Brothers Funeral Home located at 2800 Paramount Boulevard. Funeral Mass will be on Wednesday, July 21, 2021, at 11:00 A.M., at St. Mary’s Cathedral with Father Anthony C. Neusch officiating.  Burial will take place at Llano Cemetery. Arrangements are by Boxwell Brothers Funeral Directors, Amarillo.

Dr. Alpar was born on December 28, 1925, in Budapest, Hungary, to Geza and Margit Alpar.  He married Elizabeth Klara Tamasy on August 6, 1952, in Sopron, Hungary.  He, his wife and two oldest children, emigrated to the United States in November 1956 during the Hungarian Revolution.

He had been a member of the American Ophthalmological Society since 1964. He is a life member of the Mexican, Peruvian, French, German and Indian Ophthalmological Societies. He was the president of the Irish Ophthalmological Society. He worked in Tanzania, and in Peru while also having a large practice in Amarillo, Texas.

Dr. Alpar did clinical research, helped develop intraocular lens surgical technology, lectured around the world (more than 500 lectures delivered in almost 100 countries), published 130 articles, wrote a textbook that was translated into several languages, wrote several chapters in different textbooks, participated in drug studies, and helped write national and international standards for ophthalmic devices,

Dr. Alpar also received two Master’s degrees at West Texas A&M University:  one in English Literature in 1969, and the other in History in 2012.  At 86-years-old he was the oldest graduate of West Texas A&M when he received his second Master’s degree.   As his master’s advisor, Dr. Elizabeth Clark, said about his thesis in 2012, “It is a saga.  But he is so incredibly well-read.  To say he has a sharp mind doesn’t even approach it, and you can’t say that for an 86-year-old, let alone for a human being.”

Dr. Alpar had a great appreciation for art, music, culture, and religion, contributing generously and opening his home to several guests from around the world.

He was preceded in death by his wife, Elizabeth Klara Tamasy Alpar, in 2013, and his daughter, Elizabeth Constance Alpar, in 1995.

Survivors include his three sons, Andrew Alpar and wife Candace of Amarillo, Alan Alpar and wife Lynne of Fort Worth, and David Alpar and wife Melissa of Colorado Springs; and his two daughters, Andrea and husband Alan Erwin, of Amarillo and Anita Bray of Austin. He is also survived by his seventeen grandchildren and six great-grandchildren, all of whom he cherished.

The family suggests memorials be to Catholic Charities of Amarillo, P.O. Box 15127, Amarillo, TX 79105; a favorite charity or any cultural non-profit organization.

51 Replies to “Dr. John Joseph Alpar”

  1. Sorry to hear of Dr. Alpar’s passing. The world has lost a great person and healer. Dr. Alpar performed a Cornea transplant on my right eye in 1967. Now, at 73 (54 years later in Phx) I am going to have that transplant replaced. I was told that the average life expectancy of a Cornea transplant if 15 years and that my transplant was the exception. Personally, I think Dr. Alpar was the exception. Did he keep operation and post operation notes? Maybe he can work another miracle. I will keep all of you in my prayers.

    1. Thank you for your kind words, Gary. I’m not sure if Dad kept operation and/or post-operation notes but, knowing him, they might be somewhere. We are still working on settling his “estate,” so there is a lot to learn while doing that. We are so happy that you were able to avoid another cornea transplant for 54 years!
      Best to you and your family.
      Andrea (Alpar) Elise and Alan Erwin (my husband)

    2. Dear Gary: Thank you for your kind words about our father!
      It’s amazing that your cornea transplant lasted 54 years. Wow! Not sure if Dad kept operation and post operation notes, but we will look as we sort through his “estate.”

      An abundance of blessings to you and your family and best wishes for another successful transplant!

  2. John John was a unique friend and teacher, loving Ophthalmology and music, Medicine and arts, Dante Alighieri ‘ Divine Comedy ‘ and forbidden foods.
    His first time in Italy was in 1881 in Avellino, at the first IOL live surgery organized by Nino Alfano. An extraordinary meeting with Binkhorst, Worst, Drews, Choyce, Miyake, Blumenthal, Yamanaka, Strampelli, Mawas: the outbreak of the IOL revolution in Italy.
    And he was a life-lover. At a private dinner at Nino’s home near the sea, looking to the shrimps and sea-food on the dish, he decided to face the risk of allergy with a steroid pill, not to refuse the gourmandism.
    At the Quintessence in Ophthalmology in Amarillo he always offered the opportunity to travellers scientists and friends coming from all over the world, to taste the ‘Breakfast cowboy’ and the comedy on the Panandle scenario. The ospitality of Elizabeth and John in the open-air Jacuzzi was remarcable, for people who have come from all over the world in sunny August.
    Not only a surgeon who has to fight to obtain in his time the due consideration for the evolutive ideas he was supporting to overpass the aphakia – in 2019 we exchange memorial letters about the facts of this pioneering time: their memories were collected by Lucio Buratto in his own book on History of Cataract Surgery, Fabiano Publisher, Italy.
    Not only a surgeon deeply interested in basic science, he was appointed as President of the International Club for Biomatherials in Ophthalmology, founded in Bologna, Italy, by Roberto Caramazza, Blumenthal, Jacobi, Piera Versura and myself.
    Only today I realise his passing:
    Not only a surgeon, a Ophthalmologist with so many Pioneering credits, an European ‘Renaissance’ gentleman who became famous in America, who wanted to create an opportunity to bring the friends ofOphthalmology back to his loved Sopron city, offering there a Farewell Musical party in the Eskenazy castle.
    Not only a surgeon, a man whose life has improved the lives of patients, colleagues and friends.
    Deeply sorry, I leave my deep sorrow to his family, children and grandchildren.
    Prof. Pier Enrico Gallenga
    G.d’Annunzio University, Chieti, Italy
    IIIC 166.

    1. Dear Professor Gallenga: Thank you so much for the kind words about our father. He was truly a remarkable man: the quintessential Renaissance Man. Our mother was amazing too. We are learning more and more about Dad through thoughtful comments like yours. Blessings to you and your family!

  3. Dear Alpar Family,
    I learned today of John’s passing. He and Elizabeth both carry such a special place in our hearts. I spent two weeks on an ophthalmology rotation with him in medical school. He adopted my wife, Jennifer, and me as his own. During my two years in Amarillo during medical school, he and Elizabeth had us over to their house on several occasions and took such great care of us. Once our oldest son was born, they loved him so well. They took care of us in so many ways. He was such a wonderful mentor as a physician and they mentored us as a married couple just beginning and remained friends even after we moved away for residency and beyond. We are forever grateful for the love they showed to us and the wonderful models of love they were to us.
    Jason and Jennifer Paltjon

    1. Dear Jason and Jennifer: How wonderful and thoughtful of you to write about Dad and Mom! Thank you so much for your kind words. As time goes on, we learn more and more about their generosity, love and about the lives they touched. It is an honor to read that they were both wonderful role models to you. It would be great to meet you one day.

      Blessings to you and your family!

    2. Dear Jason and Jennifer: Thank you so much for your kind words about our parents! To say they were wonderful models of love speaks volumes about them and also about your integrity and care. We are humbled by the warm words and wish we had found your address to let you know about Dad’s passing.

      Blessings to you and your family!

  4. Dear Family of Dr. John Alpar,

    I am sad to just now learn of Dr. Alpar’s passing. I was always amazed at his knowledge and character. I was about 27 years old then and he made a huge impression on me. I’ll never forget him. During the planning of his new medical office in the mid 80s, he and your mother were very kind to me and always insisted that I stay at their house during planning visits (from our Dallas office). Elizabeth was a child then and very enthusiastic! He and your mother were so very patient with her. I was amazed.
    I saw Dr. Alpar a few years ago at his house when we were in West Texas looking at a potential project at Texas Tech. He met my wife, Cathy, a devote Catholic as well, and they really hit it off. I had so hoped to see him again, but God has surely welcomed him to an eternal life. He was my favorite client of some 37 years of designing medical office buildings and hospitals! Really. We have mailed each other Christmas cards every year since we first met. He was a truly remarkable and generous person. I am sure you are all proud of him and I hope you know what a difference he made in sooo many lives! May God Bless Dr. John Alpar and his family. He will surely be missed.

    1. Dear Ken: Thank you so very much for your kind words about Dad and Mom. To say Dad was your favorite client in your 37+ years of designing medical office buildings and hospitals speaks volumes about how you felt about him. I wish we had found your address so that we could have let you, Cathy and family know about his passing. We are indeed proud of Dad and Mom and we thank you again for reminding us how special they were. God bless you, your family and all those you love!

  5. Dear Alpar Family,
    I have known Dr. Alpar for over 50 years. My grandmother, Mrs. Armeda Frazer, worked on his office staff in the 1960s- 1970s. She admired him so much.
    In the 1970s, my stepfather Alton Forbes went to Dr. Alpar. Other doctors had told him that he would lose his sight to keratakonis. Dr. Alpar immediately developed a course of treatment with hard contacts that allowed him to keep his sight. He is now in his 70s and still driving with a very active lifestyle. My stepfather still to this day credits Dr. Alpar.

    In the 1980s, Dr. Alpar began treating me for glaucoma and pars planitis . He latet bettered my life with cataract surgery in the 1990s. Dr. Alpar treated me for about 15 years until his retirement. I can still hear his voice as he made his way down the hallway at St. Luke’s as he greeted each patient— “How are you my friend?”
    I knew I was getting world-class care in Amarillo, Texas. He helped me maintain my quality of life- driving, traveling, and enjoying my career as a teacher.
    My life is so much better because Dr. Alpar was my doctor.

    He was unique and a blessing in my family’s life. He was a gift to Amarillo and the Panhandle. I just wanted you to know the impact that your Dad had on me.
    Carry His Memory Proudly,
    Jeff Frazer

    1. Dear Jeff,

      What a lovely tribute to my father! Thank you so much for the kind and eloquent words about his positive effect on you and your family. What a long-term relationship your family had with Dad. Amazing that your grandmother worked in his office in the 1960’s and 1970’s and that your stepfather’s sight was saved by Dad.

      And then your own experiences with him were so positive. We are so happy he bettered your life with glaucoma treatments, cataract surgery, etc. He was certainly a unique individual, and Amarillo was fortunate to have his knowledge, discipline and care for so many people. Thank you again for your wonderful comments. You, too, are providing a much-needed service to the community in your role as a teacher. Blessings to you and your family.

  6. Dear Anita, Andrea, Andrew, Alan and David

    With great sadness I received your message concerning your father´s passing.

    He was a very dear, precious and beloved friend of mine. I feel deeply honoured that this warm-hearted, wonderful, humerous, busy and extremely sophisticated expert, not only in the field of ophthalmology, found the time to visit us in our home on several occasions and to translate my IOL book into English.

    May he now rest in peace.

    John will stay in our memory forever.

    Blessings to you and your families.

    1. Dear Paul, Thank you so much for taking the time to write on Dad’s obituary page. All the adjectives you used to describe my father were spot on: warm-hearted, humorous, busy, sophisticated, etc.

      That’s so interesting that he translated your book into English. Is there a place online we can view your book?

      Thank you again. Your condolences mean the world to our family.
      Blessings you to and your family too.
      Andrea (Alpar) Erwin

  7. My first acquaintance with Dr. Alpar was as a physician at one of the local hospitals. I knew he was special when he used one of the minority and marginalized contractors to work with him. I later learned that my classmates from the National University of Ireland (Galway) had been entertained royally in his home after he had organized an International meeting for ophthalmologists in Amarillo . That was the creation of the Irish-American Ophthalmological Society. He was the first president voted in by my Irish classmates! I later reconnected with him at a Sunday study group. Unfortunately his physical health started deteriorating and he was not able to keep up attendance.

    My sincere condolences–he was special and his long life was a gift both to us and his family.

    1. Thank you, Dr. Martin! I had no idea that Dad was the first president voted in by your Irish classmates after the creation of the Irish-American Ophthalmological Society. Wow!

  8. Dr. Alpar attended my mother-in-law regarding her vision. During the 70’s, when we returned from South America to Amarillo, my husband Joe Benham’s home town, visiting his mother, the Alpars opened their amazing home wide in generous hospitality. I have a passion for music and will never forget that, when I admired a record from his large collection, he gave it to me! Joe covered South America for U.S. News & World Report, so they had lots to talk about.

    Until reading these notes, I didn’t know Dr. Alpar did surgeries in Puno, Peru! That is a tiny primitive town with practically no facilities on Lake Titicaca–awesome to do anything there! I crossed the lake from Bolivia to Puno, leaving my first post in the U.S. Foreign Service–all that before marriage and other countries.

    Dr. Alpar also was very supportive of me when, after Joe’s death in 2016, I too tried my hand at writing columns–it’s awesome now to know that such a learned man appreciated my little efforts and offered comments! What an interesting and worthwhile life! Condolences to all of the family,

    1. Verna, your words of support and care are much appreciated during this difficult time. Dad had so much going on in his life for so many decades that it is impossible to remember all that he did for people and how many lives he touched. I’m positive your columns were well-written and interesting. We would have loved to read them, along with Dad’s comments.

  9. I am a 82 year old scientist who was affiliated with Alcon in Fort Worth for many years until I retired in 2002. I got to know and interact closely with Dr John Alpar since 1985 for safety and efficacy related required standards for ophthalmic devices by American National Standards Institute(ANSI) and by International Standards Organization(ISO). We met more than 50 times over the years in various locations in USA , Europe and even China. We became good friends and shared many ups and downs of having needed consensus especially from vested interests and different perspectives of delegates from many industries and countries in the necessary activity for developing especially the ISO standards. Don Calogero of FDA Dr Alpar, and myself went together to Minneapolis many years ago and successfully defended then prevailing residual level in Intra Ocular Lens implants after the only available method of sterilization by ETO gas, was challenged by a questionable Japanese publication under consideration by another ISO technical committee.

    I visited Amarillo first time for a meeting he arranged and then again with my wife Asha while relocating from Fort Worth to Seattle in 2002. He and his wife were gracious host and we had a memorable Visit. My wife also remembers our memorable visit to Sopron, Hungary for celebrating one of his birthdays and an ophthalmic meeting that he arranged there . We even went together for shopping for shoes for his foot in Denmark and in modern Pudong district as well botanical gardens of Shanghai. He was a gregarious friend and fellow traveler when after 9/11 in Berlin after completion of the ISO meeting when we went to catch our flight on Swiss Air and found out it had declared bankruptcy and could not buy fuel to fly. We managed to spend lots of time at AA club at another smaller airport and finally managed to fly to Zurich and then to DFW in USA.

    While I can write about many cherishable memories that he left with me and my wife, the most vivid is from our visit in 2002 to his home in Amarillo. We saw his vast eclectic collection of books and his wide interests that we discussed together beyond ophthalmology.He was with a scholarly student’s attitude at much advanced age with a very rare inquisitive mind that he never could allow to rest. I am sure his soul will continue this journey of seeking and will find the most profound ultimate truth that is only possible after death and then finally rest in peace with it.

    My wife and I pray that all of his surviving family will celebrate his life. Please do recollect often and relay story of his life’s journey to younger generation of his vast family to inspire them with his prolific achievements and at the same time, the fact that he was a very humble, joyful. competent and compassionate eye doctor.

    1. Dr. Patel, your kind words brings tears to our eyes. His knowledge, skills, travels, hospitality, energy and interest in all things in life (well, except country music) are truly remarkable. My husband and I loved reading about your adventures with Dad.

  10. I knew John for over 30 years and worked with him developing national and international standards for ophthalmic devices. He was kind, generous and knowledgeable. He accomplished more than most do in one lifetime. On one standards trip to Vienna, he rented a van and took the US delegation to his hometown in Hungary. He spent the day telling us stories of the time he was there and showed us where he lived. I was honored to be his friend and will not forget him.

    1. Thank you for your kind words, Don. My husband and I remember helping Dad with a dinner party when you were in Amarillo. I didn’t remember that he rented and van and too the US delegation to his hometown in Hungary. He certainly was one of a kind.

  11. I worked with Dr.Alpar at Orbis Plane Hospital many years ago. Our friendship has continued since then. He was not only a great surgeon but also a true friend. I feel honored and privilaged to get to know him.
    With my deepest condolences.

  12. Dr. Alpar was a truly great renaissance man, a man who was not only a master scientist but a warm human being in love with all mankind. I have fond memories of the summer “vacation” he spent treating the indigenous poor in the 12,000-ft high Altiplano of the Puno region. He even performed corneal transplants and saw patients from dawn to dusk. Nurses and nuns marveled at his stamina and dedication.

    We and the world will miss him dearly.

    1. Thank you very much for your kind words. I remember my brothers going to South America with Dad. As you wrote, his stamina and dedication were nothing short of incredible!

  13. Pavel Rozsíval MD

    with a great saddnes I have read information about John Alpar passing away.
    He was one of the most important pearson in my life, teacher, mentor and most of all friend. In early ninteenths when became for us possible to travel He allowed to many, me among them, to visit Ammarillo, share his house, family life, introduced me to AAO, IIIC and much more. I participated in several Quintesscenes and learned art of IOL implantation. We were in correspondence since eighties until this year. I will miss him and never forget.
    With deepest co condolence
    Pavel Rozsíval

    1. Thank you so much for writing! My father would be thrilled that he made such an impact in your life. Blessings to you and your family.

  14. One of my dearest and closest friends in international ophthalmology: he and Dr McCandless made the trek from Amarillo and Minneapolis in the early days of IOL implantation to spend a few days at our home in Boulder to observe what was going on at the Boulder Valley Eye Clinic and Rocky Mountain Surgery Center! That friendship was cemented when we (our whole family, missing only one daughter) were with him on the IIIC delegation to China, spreading the gospel of IOL implantation!, following the World Congress of Ophthalmology in Japan in 1978. Years later, my wife and I were fortunate to visit his mother at her home in Sopron. He was indeed one of those rarely encountered individuals: most erudite, generous, sincerely thoughtful regarding the needs of others. etc

    1. Thank you, Dr. Hardenbergh! How wonderful that you and your wife were able to visit Dad’s mother in Sopron. That is where all the “magic” happened to bring Dad and Mom to the U.S. (specifically, Amarillo) and where he honed his many skills and increased his knowledge. It is also where his generosity and thoughtfulness were on full display for so many decades.

  15. A remarkable man who lived a remarkable life.

    My father George M Gombos MD FACS a fellow ophthalmologist was very fond of him.

    Deepest condolences to the family

  16. My deepest sympathy for the Alpar family.
    He was a wonderfully kind and interesting man.
    He left a very lasting impression on me and will be very missed.
    Love to you all.

    1. Thank you, Emily. Your thoughtfulness in writing is so appreciated at this sad time. Blessings to you and your family.

  17. We send our condolences to The Alpar Family in the passing of Dr. John. He was a great and brilliant man with a love for his family and a charitable heart for those in need. My late husband always enjoyed and valued the comradery with him and was honored to call Dr. John his friend. Our entire family will sorely miss this kind & gentle man.
    With our heartfelt sympathy & In celebration of a life so very well-lived,

  18. I don’t think I’ve met anyone smarter and more diligent than my father. As far as I know, he didn’t take any “sick days” from work, and he loved helping people from all backgrounds, ages and ethnicities. Learning was his passion, and tending to patients was his calling and gift. He made and continues to make a positive impact in the lives of people all over the world. Rest in peace, Dad.

  19. Prayers for the family of Dr. Alpar. I worked with Dr. Alpar back in the 70’s and was my Mother’s eye doctor for both detached retinas back in the Mid 60’s. He is a kind and knowledgeable man and will be missed.

  20. I still remember my first meeting with this intelligent, kind physician. He checked my eyes and also gave me a spiritual uplift with his caring comments. I shall treasure the times we visited even when we were both in a foreign country while he was there to transmit his vast knowledge of the human eye to other doctors.
    May God bring Dr. John’s family members and co-workers loving comfort during this time of sadness.

    1. Thank you so much, Caludette! Dad was a remarkable man. Each day brings a reminder of what we are missing without him.

  21. I literally can see because Of Dr. Alpar! He performed 3 separate eye surgeries on me and countless appointments and sight therapy before I was 7 years old! He was amazing!

    1. That is amazing that Dad performed 3 separate eye surgeries on you before you were 7 years old! For you to remember that and write on his obituary page is also amazing and so very much appreciated.

  22. Condolences to the family. He was a great man with a brilliant mind and a noble heart. We loved him and will always cherish his memory.

  23. He was a great man. He was very good to our family. One of my dad friend that outlived my dad. I think swimming in freezing water made last. He will be missed. I only hope my mind is good as his.sincerely Michael Gulde

    1. Thank you, Michael. My husband, Alan Erwin, remembers working with you at Family and Protective Services, and we both remember your Dad coming to a dinner party at his house not that many years ago.

      Blessings to you and your family.

  24. Prayers for the family. I feel so lucky to have known and worked for Dr. John. Not only did I learn many things , but he was so very kind.

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