Gerrit John Blauvelt
January 28, 1941 – November 11, 2018
Gerrit Blauvelt, M.D. died peacefully at home, surrounded by his family, on November 11, 2018. The cause was idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, an incurable lung disease.
Dr. Blauvelt practiced medicine in San Francisco for nearly 50 years, beginning as an intern at Pacific Presbyterian in 1967. Among the first psychiatrists to open an office in the Financial District, in the early 1980s, he practiced through June 2018. He was a member of the San Francisco and Northern California Psychiatric Societies and the San Francisco Psychoanalytic Institute, and served as an associate clinical professor at UCSF, where he taught the art of medicine.
Gerrit was born in Shaker Heights, Ohio to George W. and Janeth (Iffrig) Blauvelt, who had moved to Cleveland from New York. He was educated at University School, Yale College, and University of Pennsylvania Medical School. Before starting his residency at Penn, he moved to San Francisco with his wife and young children, during the Summer of Love, to intern at Presbyterian Hospital. The contrast with his upbringing in Cleveland and the East Coast establishment appealed to the young family, and after a year at Penn and two years in the Navy, they returned to the Bay Area in 1971, settling in Larkspur. Gerrit continued his education with a psychiatric residency at Langley Porter, UCSF, followed by a fellowship.
He spent time at Littlemore Hospital in Oxford, England, learning Maxwell Jones’s approach to therapeutic communities. This approach informed his years of public service working with psychiatric outpatient groups, including 20 years as medical director of a geriatric program of the San Francisco Family Service Agency, where “Dr. B.” enjoyed tending the garden with his patients.
Gerry treasured his friends and family, and loved sharing meals and conversation. He is remembered for his probing questions, not always gentle and sometimes sly, but always with compassion and a genuine interest in what others truly thought and felt. He respected and cared deeply for people as individuals.
Gerry enjoyed sailing and being on the water, especially at family homes over the years in Centerport, Long Island; Cotuit, Cape Cod; and Duck Cove, Tomales Bay. He loved clamming and taught his grandchildren and anyone who was uninitiated how to dig in the mud with their toes. He relished big or small family gatherings, often with a young one curled in his lap.
He felt fortunate to share most of his life with his high school sweetheart, Sandra (Blair) Blauvelt. He is survived by Sandy, his daughter Molly Blauvelt, son-in-law Tom Rank, son Andy, daughter-in-law Laure Blauvelt, grandsons Jonny and Sam Rank, and granddaughters Sophie and Alice Blauvelt, all of whom he adored. He leaves his sister and brother-in-law Julia and Francis Keally, his brother and sister-in-law Christopher and Barri Blauvelt, and many nieces, nephews, grandnieces and grandnephews.
A celebration of his life will be held in late January. Contact gerritblauveltmemo[email protected] for details.