Ger­rit John Blau­velt

Jan­uary 28, 1941 – Novem­ber 11, 2018

San Francisco Chronicle (Sunday) - - LIFE TRIBUTES -

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.

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