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GERSON--Charles D.,

died peacefully at home on May 21 after struggling with illness. He was 80 years old. Raised in Washington Heights, Charles loved playing sports, especially golf, while attending Bronx High School of Science and then at Cornell University. His choice of medicine as a career was a natural result of his interest in science and his general wish to care for people and to protect life. He attended medical school at the Downstate University of New York. After his internship at Cornell Division of Bellevue Hospital, he served as a Peace Corps Doctor in Nigeria through the Public Health Service. He returned to complete his residency medical training at Mount Sinai Hospital, followed by his fellowship training in gastroenterology there. His medical career was outstanding in several ways. From his initial work as a half-time Research Physician, he published over 60 articles, particularly focused on malabsorption. In the last decade of his career, as Clinical Professor at Mount Sinai, he became an internationally recognized investigator and collaborator in the area of functional G.I. illness. He was always a gifted teacher of house staff, and served in a leadership position at Mount Sinai, including Chief of the Gastroenterology Clinic, the Executive and Physician's Advisory Committees. But most of all he was an unusually sensitive and devoted physician and the many letters he received after retiring were exceptional tributes. Charles's zest for life was always apparent. He had a life- long passion for travelling, relishing adventurous experiences on every continent with his wife, Mary-Joan, often combining travel with teaching and research. He particularly enjoyed reading fiction and studying history, and he relished every aspect of New York City culture, but he was also lover of nature and country weekends. Charles was known to everyone as unusually honest and reflective, with a sparkling personality, seasoned by an active sense of the absurdity and humor of life. The heart of his life was his family, his deep love for his wife whom he married soon after they graduated from Cornell, his two children, Daniel and Jessica, their spouses, Beau Stacom and Sam Bardfeld, and his four grandchildren, Asher and Claire Gerson and Daisy and Henry Bardfeld. He is survived by his brother, Jim Gerson and his wife, Susan and their children, Michelle and Shari whom he cared about deeply. Everyone in his family experienced him as the backbone of their lives-- protective, loving and wise. Services will be held at Riverside Memorial Chapel, 180 West 76th St., on Wednesday at 10am. Donations in Charles's memory may be made to Amnesty International or Oxfam of America.

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Published in New York Times on May 22, 2017.
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