Richard A.Selzer,MD

imageRichard A. Selzer, MD, age 87 died on June 15, 2016 at Evergreen Woods, North Branford. He is survived by his wife Janet White Selzer, their son Jonathan (Regine), Larry (Rossi) and their daughter Gretchen (Donna). Also survived by their seven grandchildren, Becky, Hank, Emily, Lucy, Ned, Danny and Ellie. Born in Troy NY, Richard graduated from Union College in 1948 and Albany Medical College in 1953 before moving to New Haven to start his internship in surgery at Yale. Richard and Janet White were married in 1955. He was then drafted into the US Army and served as a lieutenant in Korea and Japan, during which time he treated both servicemen and the Korean villagers. After returning to New Haven, Richard completed his surgical residency at Yale and practiced surgery in New Haven until 1985. In addition to his work in New Haven, Dr. Selzer participated in volunteer surgical teams in Peru and Haiti, repairing facial disfigurations and the like. Dr. Selzer began writing concurrent to his medical career with short stories, published in Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine. In 1985 he retired from medicine to devote himself completely to writing. He has published 13 books with another on the way and received many literary awards, such as the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation in 1985 and the National endowment for the Arts in 1988. Dr. Selzer has been an artist in residence for several years at Yaddo in Saratoga Springs, NY and a resident scholar at the Rockefeller Foundation’s Bellagio Study Center on Lake Como, Italy. Dr. Selzer was a pioneer in literature and medicine movement, participating in conferences around the world. He was also a devoted teacher of writing and led classes, workshops and presentations throughout the country. Selzer was the recipient of honorary degrees from universities across the nation.

Memorial contributions should be made to the Employee Scholarship Fund at Evergreen Woods at 88 Notch Hill Rd, North Branford, CT 06471. A celebration of Richard’s life will be held at the New Haven Lawn Club on Sunday, July 24 at 12:00 noon. The family would like to thank the staff at Evergreen Woods Health Center for their compassionate care during his illness.

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  1. Douglas Kleinman said,

    06.18.16 at 7:12 pm

    Dear Janet, Jon,Larry and Gretchen,

    Dick was not only a brilliant surgeon (tried valiantly to save my wife Janet’s life from breast cancer) and a highly regarded author but a dear, dear friend as well. I am fortunate because I can only remember him in his prime.

    Love to you all.

    Doug Kleinman, Porter,Maine

  2. Kenneth Burack said,

    06.19.16 at 12:21 am

    Dear Janet,

    Please accept my sincerest condolences. This is a great loss for all humanity as evidenced by the many attributes in his lifetime.

    Ken Burack

  3. Bernie Siegel, MD said,

    06.19.16 at 3:30 pm

    bless you all.

  4. Rosemarie Rompe said,

    06.19.16 at 10:16 pm

    I was saddened to learn of Dick’s passing.
    Such a gentle, kind & humble person.
    Visited him a week ago Wednesday, we recalled the Dana O.R.
    on-call emergency surgeries and of course Dr Lindskog the “professor”.

    My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.

    Ro Rompe

  5. Sydney Perry said,

    06.20.16 at 1:16 am

    Hanet: So very sorry to learn of this loss. Please do let me know of the memorial service at Evergreen Woods.

  6. Chuck Seccombe said,

    06.20.16 at 1:30 am

    I have never forgotten Dr. Seltzer. He led the team of physicians at Grace New Haven in 1958 when I had open heart surgery at the age of 6. I have had an active and productive life and I credit him for making it possible for me. I am sorry for your loss, but know there are people out there like me who he touched and he will never be forgotten.

  7. Mary (Mimi) Bosley -Weir said,

    06.22.16 at 1:58 pm

    With deepest sympathy on the passing of Dr. Selzer. I was a new Operating Room nurse @ Yale when I met Dr. Selzer . Not only was he a good surgeon ,he was always kind and nice to the OR staff .I will keep your family in my prayers

  8. Gail and Sandy Ressler said,

    06.24.16 at 12:28 am

    Dear, Janet,Larry,Jonathan and Gretchen,
    We will always treasure the many years our families have shared together.Dick was so very special,thoughtful and caring. We always aid Dick was born with golden hands.Our thoughts are with you… gail and sandy

  9. A. G. BEVIN, M.D. said,

    07.13.16 at 8:45 pm

    I was an intern in Surgery at Yale in 1960. I loved his skill, his humor, and his integrity. He became the ultimate wordsmith. I became the Chief Resident in Surgery at Yale by 1960 and collected all of his books. I have read and re-read the books often, to this day. I retired as Professor of Surgery at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill several years ago and treasure Dick’s writings to this day. Bless his heart and his soul. Peace!