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John E. Zucker, allergist known for daily pollen count, dies at 70

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John E. Zucker, 70, a Maryland allergist who for years conducted a daily pollen count for local media outlets, died Dec. 27 at his winter home in La Quinta, Calif.

He had a heart attack, said his wife, Kitty Kelley, a biographer of celebrities including Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Frank Sinatra, Nancy Reagan and Oprah Winfrey.

Dr. Zucker lived in Georgetown and practiced for 35 years in Prince George’s County, where he maintained three allergy offices before his retirement in 2008.

His daily pollen counts, a traffic update of sorts for allergy sufferers, were used by radio and television stations and by Chesapeake and Potomac Telephone for its recorded weather updates.

Dr. Zucker determined the concentration of allergens by collecting pollen on a microscope slide, which he placed on the roof of one of his offices.

Jonathan Elias Zucker was born March 15, 1941, in New York; he was the son and grandson of doctors. As a boy he began using the name John, spelled with an “h,” Kelley said.

Dr. Zucker graduated from Riverdale Country School in New York in 1958. He received a bachelor’s degree in 1962 and a medical degree in 1966, both from Columbia University.

Early in his career, Dr. Zucker worked in the U.S. Public Health Service in Washington. After completing a fellowship in pediatric allergy and immunology, he worked with a Washington area allergist before opening his first office in Upper Marlboro in 1973.

Dr. Zucker was a past president of the D.C. chapter of the International Wine and Food Society. He and Kelley met at a dinner party and were married in 1992.

His first marriage, to Nancy Baum, ended in divorce.

Survivors include his wife of 19 years, of Washington; two children from his first marriage, Jeremy Zucker and Amanda Bowker, both of Washington; a sister; and four grandchildren.

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