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Patrick Tekeli

Patrick Tekeli

An Extraordinary


Human Being


On June 27, 2013, Patrick Tekeli, MD, age 55, passed away in his sleep. Pat was a talented pianist, guitarist, banjoist, linguist, philosopher, mathematician, comedian, athlete, teacher, swimmer, physicist, wrestler, theoretician, surfer, diagnostician, photographer, essayist, bicycle designer, film maker, dancer and world traveler.


Born in San Francisco on November 14, 1957, Pat graduated from McAteer H.S. in 1975, UC Berkeley in 1980, and Vanderbilt Medical School in 1984 after which he started his long affiliation with California Pacific Medical Center. At the conclusion of his internship at CPMC, his colleagues and peers voted him "Intern of the Year." Pat dominated the board exams for internal medicine, and then joined the fledgling specialty known as Hospitalists - doctors with broad skill sets who are able to oversee and manage hospitalized patients when the surgeons and specialists are away. This was the harbinger of things to come.


Thereafter, Pat was one of a handful of local physicians to aggressively treat HIV/AIDS patients while mainstream medicine was still mired in confusion and denial over the disease. The approach was revolutionary, trend setting, and earned Pat the Keys to the City.


In 2010, Pat's design of the "Dr. Tea" road bike won the Best of Show at the North American Hand Made Bicycle Show. His film on the History of Bicycles is in post-production.


Treasured by his patients, and known to all for his uncanny ability to explain the most complicated issues in plain and easy to understand language. Pat was lighthearted. His favorite medicine was levity which he applied liberally, provided you could tolerate the side effects of tearing eyes and cramping abdominal muscles. 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.


If you shared one of his interests, he would inspire you to do better. Pat would want you to pursue your passions, to improve yourself and your experience with others, one day at a time. Incremental improvement, a day at a time, was an essential and contagious element of his genius and mastery of so many subjects.


Pat is predeceased by his father Theodore Michael Tekeli, and stepfather David Swezy. Pat is survived by his loving mother Stella Swezy (to whom Pat was beyond devoted), brother Michael Tekeli, nephew Nicholas Patrick Tekeli, stepbrothers Michael Swezy, Steve Swezy, Douglas Swezy, sister Wendy Swezy, companion Pam Ren, best buddy and wingman Walter Cook, Aunts Katherine Mustin (Dick), Antoinette Rizzo, Gloria Rizzo, and sports favorites the SAN FRANCISCO 49ers, the Warriors, and the San Francisco Giants.


To know Pat was to love him, and to know him well was an honor and now cherished privilege. To pay tribute to Pat privately, put on Coltrane's Naima, grab a book or journal, get in your armchair, and rigorously question authority. In lieu of flowers, please send a remembrance in his name to the Haight Ashbury Free Clinic. Friends may visit Monday the 8th after 5 PM, and a wake will be held starting at 6:30 PM at McAvoy O'Hara Co Evergreen Mortuary, Geary Blvd at 10th Ave. A Funeral Mass will be held at Mission Dolores Bascilica, 16th St at Dolores St on Tuesday the 9th at 11 AM with a private burial to follow at Holy Cross Cemetery.

Published in San Francisco Chronicle from July 2 to July 7, 2013
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