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‘Ghost bike’ marker to honor doctor

Planning under way for memorials to honor bicyclist killed in Back Bay accident

Jami King and her husband Landis Masnor delivered flowers to the shrine where Anita Kurmann was fatally struck by a tractor trailer.Matthew J. Lee/Globe Staff

The beloved endocrine surgeon who was struck by a flatbed tractor-trailer and killed as she biked through a busy Back Bay intersection on Friday will be commemorated by her colleagues and the city’s cycling community.

Bicyclists are creating a ghost bike to honor 38-year-old Anita Kurmann, who was killed shortly after 7 a.m. when the truck made a right turn from Massachusetts Avenue onto Beacon Street, hitting her.

It was unclear if the driver, who has been cooperating with police, was aware that he had struck Kurmann.

Investigators are still conducting interviews and retrieving evidence, said Jake Wark, spokesman for Suffolk District Attorney Daniel Conley, on Sunday. “There are no charges at this point, but no final determination has yet been made.”


Kurmann’s death stunned the cycling community and those who knew her.

“The [cycling] community is very close-knit,” said cyclist Jonathan Fertig. “Even though we didn’t know her, it feels like we did. [We feel] fortunate it wasn’t us because we all know it could have been any of us.”

Fertig said a Brookline couple donated a stripped-down vehicle for the ghost bike memorial and the group is waiting to connect with family and friends. Fertig said they hope to have the bike complete soon.

Ghost bikes are made to honor cyclists who have been killed on the road. A bicycle is spray-painted white and chained to a pole near where the cyclist was killed.

Kurmann’s supervisors in laboratories at both Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Boston University are also working to organize a memorial service.

“We are all shocked and saddened by this sudden loss of someone so dear to us who was so young and had such a bright future ahead of her,” Dr. Darrell Kotton, who worked with Kurmann at BU’s Center for Regenerative Medicine, wrote in a letter to colleagues. “Anita dedicated her life to her patients and her work, believing that her role as a surgeon scientist could most help those who suffer from thyroid diseases. She trained hard to be the best surgeon and researcher she could be.”


Kurmann moved to the United States from Bern, Switzerland, about three years ago to broaden her experience in medicine and was preparing to return home soon.

Kotton said Kurmann was to be appointed a chief of endocrine surgery and was slated to take over the department run by her mentor in Switzerland, as part of her planned return to Bern. She was going to continue to operate on patients but also launch a lab of her own to continue her thyroid research, he said.

“Anita brought out the best in all of us, and indeed was herself unanimously beloved and regarded as exemplary in all that she did,” Kotton wrote. “She was intelligent, well-read, hardworking, creative, and a trusted friend.”

Organizers said they hope Kurmann’s death encourages the city to make changes to some of its most perilous roadways. “A lot of us are really frustrated this has happened again,” said Fertig. “We want the city to show that this is not OK and changes need to be made.”

In Roslindale, where Kurmann lived before moving to Cambridge, neighbors described her as “nice and personable.”

“I commended her for the work she did,” said Madeline Corey, 88. “I was heartbroken [by her death]. . . . What a loss.”


Jan Ransom can be reached at Follow her on Twitter at @Jan_Ransom.