In Memoriam: Harold G. Howard, MD (1921-2012)

Born in the Kern River Gold rush town of Bakersfield, he and the entire family have maintained a fondness for “Pleasantville” and the idyllic life it provided for him and his Roumanian immigrant parents.  His father was a founder of Beth Jacob Congregation in Bakersfield and instilled in him a love of opera and Jewish liturgical music. As an early founding member of Leo Baeck Temple in Los Angeles, Hal served as back-up cantor to William Sharlin, and sang with The Verdi Chorus.

Hal went to Stanford University and earned his Phi Beta Kappa membership and went on to medical school graduating in 1944.  He served a a medical officer in the Navy from 1946-48 spending one year in Peking (Beijing).  He practiced internal medicine and cardiology in Santa Monica for over 40 years, retiring in 1992. Hal served on the faculty of UCLA School of Medicine in clinical studies and after retirement he was a physician with The Venice Family Free Clinic.

Hal, introduced by family friends to Riesa Abrahamson, a gorgeous nurse’s aide at County Hospital, met his match and wife of sixty-six years. Riesa made the story of “Dr. Howard” possible, managing his practice, raising three children, giving him golf time, singing time and traveling nearly the entire world together.  He had an insatiable desire to learn that lasted until his last breath.

He loved being grandfather to six grandchildren and remained a wonderful storyteller to the end.


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