Gerald A. Gronert passed away in Eugene, Oregon, on February 7, 2020, due to the effects of Alzheimer's disease. He was born in 1933 in Chicago, Illinois, to Esther (Krueger) and Fred, and grew up there with older sister Phyllis, older brother Don, and younger brother, Dick. He attended the University of Illinois and completed pre-med at the then-Navy Pier Chicago campus. During medical school in Chicago in 1957 he met and married Cook County nursing student Patricia Sparlin, from Lewistown, Montana. After training in St. Louis and Los Angeles, he practiced medicine in Denver, Colorado before joining the Mayo Clinic neuroanesthesia staff in 1966. He was drafted into the Vietnam War in 1967 and served two years at the US Army Burn unit in San Antonio, Texas where he began his academic research. After his stint in the Army he returned to Mayo where he and Patricia enjoyed raising their children on a small horse farm in the nearby town of Pine Island, where he served on the local school board. In 1970 he focused his research on Malignant Hyperthermia, a severe and potentially fatal reaction to anesthesia. MH is now the focus of the Malignant Hyperthermia Association of the United States (MHAUS). Dr. Gronert regularly worked the MH hotline, initiated test sites, and mentored numerous MH investigators. In 1986 he joined the University of California at Davis. He retired after 13 years at Davis as emeritus professor and moved to Albuquerque, New Mexico. When his wife died in 2012, he moved to Eugene, Oregon to be closer to family. He has written, "There was much to be grateful for in my professional life: probes of questions, research, travel." He is remembered by colleagues as an excellent doctor, role model, and honorable mentor who freely gave his encouragement and guidance in his patient, persistent, respectful manner. He is survived by his children Brian, Nancy, Gail and Mary, numerous grandchildren, his brother Dick and sister-in-law Elaine, nieces, nephews, and extended family. He loved his family, his profession, and his classical guitar. His wish was to be cremated and laid to rest near his wife in Miles City, Montana. In memoriam, please send donations to the MHAUS fund.
Published in The Sacramento Bee on Mar. 1, 2020.