What’s not to love about a doctor whose favorite medicine is levity?

The obituary for Patrick Tekeli, MD was titled "An Extraordinary Human Being" – and he must have been.

Patrick Tekeli (Image via SFGate.com)“Whether you were a scientist on a blog, a taxi driver in Prague, a roaming Nigerian beach vender in Sestri Levante, or a shady wristwatch hawker in Tiananmen Square, Pat's wit, humor, and charm would make an instantaneous connection that was meaningful and deep. When travelling with Pat, you would not be a stranger in a strange land for long.”

The doctor, who died June 27, 2013, will be missed for being a good diagnostician, teacher, physicist, dancer, photographer, and bicycle designer. He also excelled at music (playing the piano, guitar, and banjo), languages, math, essay writing, swimming, wrestling, and surfing.

As a hospitalist – a doctor who manages hospitalized patients when their doctors are not available – Tekeli worked out of four locations. He was one of only a few local doctors who aggressively treated HIV/AIDS patients in the early days as it ravaged the San Francisco community. For his work in this area, he was granted the Keys to the City.

In 2010, Tekeli designed a road bike, “Dr. Tea,” which won Best of Show at the North American Hand Made Bicycle Show. A film he produced on the history of bikes is now in post-production.

Tekeli’s obituary offered a unique suggestion for friends to pay tribute: put on Coltrane's Naima, “grab a book or journal, get in your armchair, and rigorously question authority.” Or you could watch this video of him playing a Beatles tune with his brother, Michael. Extraordinary.


Susan Soper is the author of ObitKit®, A Guide to Celebrating Your Life. A lifelong journalist, she has written for Newsday and CNN, and was Features Editor at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, where she launched a series called "Living with Grief."