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Tufts doctor dies after being hit by falling ice on hike in White Mountains

Dr. Judith Pinsker.
Dr. Judith Pinsker.Tufts Medical Center

Dr. Judith Pinsker loved to be outdoors.

Sometimes, her adventures brought her no farther than her Wellesley home, where she spent hours working in her garden. Other times, she would travel to the mountains to go hiking or cross-country skiing with her family.

It was her love for nature that took her to the White Mountains in New Hampshire the weekend before Christmas, hiking with her husband, two adult sons, and friends.

They were on the Frankenstein Cliff Trail near Crawford Notch in Hart’s Location about noon on Sunday when a piece of falling ice hit Pinsker’s head. Rescue teams worked to carry her to the Arethusa Falls parking lot and then to Memorial Hospital, in North Conway, N.H., according to the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department.


Their efforts could not save her.

The area near the trail is popular with rock and ice climbers.

“She was always trying to find the meaning of life,” said Benjamin Smith, Pinsker’s husband of 27 years.

Pinsker, 57, had worked at Tufts Medical Center as a primary care physician for more than 20 years, and she was “thoughtful, compassionate, meticulous,” said Deborah Blazey-Martin, chief of internal medicine and adult primary care at Tufts, in a statement.

Pinsker was “always there for her patients and her colleagues,” Blazey-Martin added.

Judith Pinsker
Judith Pinsker Pinsker-Smith family

In an e-mail to colleagues, Tufts officials wrote that she leaves “hundreds of primary care Boston patients who have been fortunate to experience her expertise and warmth.”

Pinsker went to college at Princeton University, then attended Harvard Medical School and did her residency at Rhode Island Hospital, according to a death notice from her family.

Outside of work and her many outdoor activities, Pinsker was on the advisory board for Timmy Global Health, a nonprofit organization that sends medical service teams internationally to help with health-based projects in the community. Pinsker, who fluently spoke Spanish, traveled with the group each year, often to Guatemala.


“She kept a lot of balls in the air,” Smith said. “She maintained a web of friends, all different contacts.”

She loved baking, too, he said, and had already started to bake a variety of sweets for the Christmas holiday.

“She was a force of nature. She maintained so many different activities in addition to her work,” Smith said.

Pinsker and Smith have two sons, Eric Pinsker-Smith, 22, and Jeffrey Pinsker-Smith, 20.

Jeffrey said his mom was a “hard worker” and a practical person.

“She was always mindful and just really valued the time she was able to spend with her family,” he said.

Judith Pinsker
Judith Pinsker Pinsker-Smith family

Felicia Gans can be reached at felicia.gans@globe.com.