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James Derbin M.D.

Obituary Condolences

James Derbin M.D. Obituary
James Philip Derbin, MD

Phil was born on September 13, 1934 in San Bernardino and passed away on July 17, 2013 in San Francisco surrounded by his loving family after a courageous battle with cancer. He will forever be missed by his wife and best friend, Judy Giampaoli; his loving daughter, Kelly Derbin, MD, her husband Russ McHugh; his loving son James Derbin and his wife Monica Lal and adored grand daughters, Cora and Lydia; sisters Barbara Reitz and June Craig, nephew Jason Reitz and his wife Arsha, daughters Jessie and Ellie; extended family and numerous friends.


Phil spent his youth in Southern California, graduating from Loyola University and completed his medical training at Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in 1959. Upon completion of his internship at Oregon University School of Medicine, he was commissioned as Captain in the US Air Force and served in Crete, Greece. Following military service, Phil practiced medicine in Southern California before accepting a psychiatric fellowship at Johns Hopkins University. Upon completion of his fellowship, Phil relocated to the Bay Area where he built a psychiatry practice and served as clinical director in Community Mental Health for the City of San Francisco. Most recently, Dr. Derbin was a consultant for the Social Security Administration. Remarkably, Phil was an actively practicing physician for 53 years. Always reaching out to those in need, Dr. Derbin proudly volunteered his time and expertise at St. Luke's Clinic and the Haight Ashbury Free Clinic in San Francisco for many years.


Most important to Phil was his abiding love for family and friends, providing care and encouragement as they dealt with life's challenges and pursued their dreams. Phil's generosity and kindness defined him-never seeking recognition for the help, good deeds or the many causes he supported. His gift for finding humor in everyday circumstances brought joy and laughter to our lives that continues on in our shared stories of him.


Phil was a lover of books, most especially poetry, politics and history, a lover of music from Bach to Brubeck, and a lover of San Francisco and the richness of his life here. He marveled at the beauty, diversity and cultural opportunities that being a resident of San Francisco afforded him. He loved Golden Gate Park, and in his last difficult days, his regular walks at Stow Lake brought him peace and enjoyment.


A Celebration of Phil's Life will be held on Thursday, August 1 at 5pm. Details are available at www.CelebrationOfPhilsLife.com. In lieu of flowers, please consider making a donation in his name to one of many organizations that Phil held dear and regularly supported: SF Food Bank, Save the Bay Association, or The Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence.


Published in San Francisco Chronicle on July 28, 2013
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