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George Alexander "Pete" Petroff M.D.

1950 - 2016 Obituary Condolences
George Alexander "Pete" Petroff M.D. Obituary
Petroff, George Alexander ("Pete") M.D.
At 1:15 p.m. on September 20, 2016, George passed away unexpectedly from complications following surgery. At the Wake Forest Baptist Hospital in Winston-Salem, NC, he slept comfortably, while loved ones softly sang "I'll Fly Away" to speed him to his rest. George, a neurologist at the Caromont Regional Medical Center, was 65 years old. George was born in Pontiac, MI, on September 28, 1950. He was the third of six children and the second son of Dr. George N. Petroff and Nancy Jane (Spears) Petroff. After his father's death, George moved with his mother and youngest sister and brother to Glendale, Arizona. There he flourished, excelling in academics, chess and wrestling. He was a natural musician, mastering any instrument he touched. He delighted in playing Omar Khayyam in the Glendale High School winter musical, "Kismet," and served as Senior Class President. George earned his Bachelor of Arts in Music from Wesleyan University in Middletown CT, then worked as a professional musician ("Lonesome George") playing pedal steel guitar in Austin, TX, in the 70's, opening for such acts as the Mandrell Sisters. Following in his father's footsteps, George completed his medical degree at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, TX. He then completed his neurology internship and residency at the University of North Carolina Hospital at Chapel Hill. George practiced medicine in Las Vegas and Austin, but felt he had finally found his place with the wonderful group of doctors and staff in Gastonia, NC. He was passionate about his work, which included the management of complex neurological problems, including epilepsy, neuromuscular disease and multiple sclerosis. George's interests outside of medicine included the martial art of aikido, in which he held the rank of shodan (1st degree black belt). He also loved reading books about American History, particularly the Battle of Gettysburg. He never missed an opportunity to take family and friends to meander and ponder on the trails of any nearby Civil War battle site. George was a loving and devoted husband to wife, Leta, whom he fondly called, "Belle." The two spent 35 years as one another's soul mate, never wanting to spend time apart. He also loved quality time with his children, sharing his interests and sparking in them a curiosity about the world beyond their years. Some of the family's fondest memories were of long, lazy musical evenings in their Utah mountains cabin. George was preceded in death by his parents and died on the tenth anniversary of the passing of his beloved sister, Elinor Covault. He is survived by his treasured wife Leta, their daughter, Casey Petroff (a PhD student in the political economy and government program at Harvard), and their teenage son, Jacob Petroff, his side-man on bass guitar. He also leaves behind sisters Carol Eppel and Kathryn Petroff, brothers David ("Pete") Petroff and Paul Petroff, brother-in-law and good friend Kenn Hanson, and remarkable in-laws Jean and Ken Ladd. He will also be deeply missed by his niece, Lenora Reyes-Petroff, nephew, Tobias Tobler, rescue dog, Ringo, and innumerable other family members, friends, patients, and associates, now bereft of his wisdom, kindness, gentleness and wonderful wit. There are not words enough to capture the true essence of George. He deeply touched all who knew him and his untimely passing has left us profoundly heartbroken. A memorial is being planned to remember George with music, memories, and mirth. Until then, in lieu of flowers, donations to honor George may be sent to the Glendale High School Band Program, Glendale High School, attention: Principal Kevin Cashatt, 6216 West Glendale Avenue, Glendale, Arizona, 85301.
Published in The Arizona Republic on Oct. 2, 2016
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