Dr. Arthur Gelbart R.I.P.

Circumstances force me to take an hiatus from the usual natural history topics of this blog.  Dr. Arthur Gelbart, my father, has passed away.

Arthur Gelbart was born in Buczacz, Poland on Febuary 7, 1930.  He was the son of a shoe store owner, Isadore Gelbart, and his wife Regina.  When the Nazis invaded Poland, the Gelbarts were forced to hide because the Germans were bent on eradicating all Jews.  Isadore paid an Ukranian farmer to hide his family in an hayloft for 2 years.  There, they suffered from frequent want of food and water.  Usually, they were forced to subsist on a daily piece of bread, and the water from boiled potatoes.  During summer their diet was supplemented with dandelion greens, cherries, and cucumbers.  The Gelbarts were liberated by the Russians, but  the Germans counterattacked, and the Gelbarts, along with other refugees, were trapped between the Russians and the Germans before they were able to make an harrowing escape.  My dad always loved to watch WWII movies after this experience because he enjoyed depictions of the allies killing Nazis.

My father and his mother emigrated to New York in 1947, but his parents divorced, and his father stayed behind in Germany with my dad’s brother.  My father missed 5 years of elementary school and English was his second language, yet he was one of the best students at Morris Brown High School in the Bronx, New York.  He earned a swimming scholarship to Rutgers but lost it when the coach caught him smoking cigarettes.  He then attended New York University and worked as a waiter and dance instructor in the Catskills during the summer.  He earned a Fulbright Scholarship that helped pay for him to go to medical school in Germany.  His first year of residence was in Cleveland, Ohio where he met my mother, Audrey Bailey.  They got married and left for Chicago, Illinois for his second year of residency.  I was born there in 1962.  My parents moved to Niles, Ohio shortly thereafter, and my father established a successful private practice in a small town in need of a doctor.  While living in Warren and Niles, my father witnessed the birth of 2 daughters, Susan and Elizabeth.

My father made housecalls for $5.  Today, few, if any doctors, bother making housecalls.  His services as a physician alleviated the suffering of many, and he helped save people’s lives, but in 1975 he was diagnosed with malignant melanoma and was given 6 months to live.  This prompted him to choose an easier career as a staff physician for the University of Georgia.  However, when it became evident  the deadly skin cancer was not going to be a death sentence, he got bored…about the only ailment he ever saw from the students attending UGA was VD. In 1977 he took a job teaching family practice at the Medical College of Georgia and also held the position of Medical Director of the Georgia War Veterans Nursing Home.  He held this position until he retired in 2000.

Daphne'sdorm 014

Dr. Arthur Gelbart and his granddaughter in 2005 when he was still his old cheerful self.

My father enjoyed his retirement.  He liked spending time with his grandchildren, Daphne and Justin.  He frequently went to The Family Y to run “fife miles” and take a sauna and a steam, and in the evenings he liked to watch the same movies and Seinfeld reruns over and over.  In 2008 his health began to slowly decline due to numerous problems.  He died on October 22, 2014. 

I will miss him.

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One Response to “Dr. Arthur Gelbart R.I.P.”

  1. lizardmarsh Says:

    😦

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