Celebrating the life of Dr. Gary William Wahl
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PITTSFORD, NY, Friday, March 2, 2018.
Passed away at the age of 64 at home, surrounded by his family and following an eight-month battle with pancreatic cancer. He is survived by his devoted wife Nadine, loving daughters Alison and Lindsay (Patrick Martin) and faithful mother Kathryn. He is also survived by his “second family” at the Pulmonary/Critical Care Departments at Rochester General and the Eastern Region Hospitals (Newark Wayne and Clifton Springs) where he worked for more than 34 years. He was preceded in death by his father, Herbert A. Wahl, Jr. and his brother, Herbert A. Wahl, III.
Gary lived his life guided by his brilliant intellectual curiosity, pleasant and silly sense of humor, and a profound and unfailing commitment to compassionate care for others. A lifelong learner, he was a proud do-it-yourselfer who enjoyed the challenge of unraveling how things worked and could repair almost anything. He was born in Philadelphia to Kathryn and Herbert A. Wahl, Jr. and grew up in Broomall, PA. Gary had an enduring love of the outdoors and nature, spending his childhood hunting and fishing and his adult life engaging in his favorite hobbies of sailing, skiing, hiking, and woodworking. A member of the Rochester Yacht Club for 33 years, Gary was most relaxed when sailing his boat “Moonlight” but also raced extensively on Lake Ontario, including the infamous “Scotch Bonnet” overnight race across the lake and back.
Gary studied Biology and Chemistry at Penn State University before completing his medical studies at Penn State Medical Center in Hershey, PA. He met Nadine (the girl next door) when she was digging her car out of a snowdrift one wintry evening. After boldly offering to drive her car out of the snow bank, they quickly became forever partners on the adventure of life. Their relationship, based on sharing responsibilities, supporting one another, and devotion to their children remains a strong and true testament to the importance of working and loving together. Nadine and Gary were blessed to celebrate their 38th wedding anniversary in January.
He completed his Internal Medicine residency and fellowship in Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine at the University of Rochester. Gary’s career as a physician was marked by a focused intention to treat the person, not just the disease, and to demonstrate kindness and compassion with every interaction. He humbly served his community as a faculty member of the University of Rochester, and as Chief of Pulmonary and Critical Care, Medical Director of the Respiratory Care Department, Medical Director of the MICU and SICU, and President of the Medical Staff at Rochester General Hospital and served on its board of directors. He retired immediately following his cancer diagnosis.
Gary was a member of Phi Beta Kappa and was awarded RGH’s Lifetime Teaching Award, Patients’ Choice Award, and was nominated numerous times for the Most Compassionate Doctor Award. He will be especially remembered for his most recent work growing and developing the Pulmonary Department at Newark Wayne Community Hospital. His patients, residents and colleagues knew him to be a particularly caring and attentive teacher who would always pull up a chair with a cup of coffee in hand to listen carefully and compassionately. An award in his honor was recently created to recognize physicians or APPs in the Eastern Region who demonstrate a commitment to education, compassion and collaboration in caring for their patients as exemplified by Dr. Wahl.
Gary displayed a strong and steadfast love for his family. He and Nadine encouraged their daughters with love and participated energetically in their talents and interests. He coached numerous Little League teams and served on the Pittsford Little League board. He traveled tirelessly to swim meets and musical performances and imparted his levelheaded wisdom and kindhearted spirit in every way possible. His children were his greatest source of pride, and he showed it every single day. Gary was also a member of the First Presbyterian Church of Pittsford for 31 years and served on its Session.
Gary will always be remembered for his unparalleled kindness, patience, generous spirit, agreeable nature and his fondness for chocolate peanut butter cups and ice cream. While many believed he despised medical electronic records, in truth he disliked anything that interfered with his ability to best serve his patients or impeded the team approach necessary to provide optimum care.
A memorial service will be held at the First Presbyterian Church of Pittsford, 21 Church St., Pittsford, NY on Sat., March 10 at 10 a.m. Instead of calling hours, the family invites you join them in celebrating his life at a reception at the Rochester Yacht Club, 5555 St. Paul Blvd, Rochester NY at 2:30 p.m. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the fund that Gary founded to benefit the pulmonary patients in the Eastern Region. Checks can be made out to the “Newark Wayne Foundation”, earmarked for the “Dr. Gary and Nadine Wahl Pulmonary Fund” and mailed to Rochester Regional Foundation, Riedman Campus, Suite 2300, Rochester NY 14617. Visit www.whiteoakcremation.com to leave a condolence or message for the family.
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21 Church Street
Pittsford , NY 14534
5555 St. Paul Blvd.
Rochester, NY 14617