Gregory Max Engel, M.D., was born on April 20, 1948, in Seattle, Washington to parents Virginia and August Engel. He was joined eight years later by his little sister, Debbie. Greg's love of baseball flourished at Rainier Beach High School, where he was the star pitcher. He continued his studies at the University of Washington, majoring in Zoology and Oceanography, and his ambidexterity helped him become collegiate handball champion. After college, Greg attended the University of Washington School of Medicine, where he graduated with honors. Greg welcomed his first child, Gregory "Max" in 1977. Two years later, Greg started his private practice, Bellevue Bone and Joint Physicians, where he developed his passion for healing patients while making them his friends. In 1980, Greg's second child, Madeline, was born. Greg continued practicing in Bellevue for 35 years, and served as Chief of Staff at Overlake Hospital from 2009-2010. In 2012, he went on medical leave to undergo a bilateral lung transplant while battling idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis.
Greg lived many lifetimes in the course of 64 years. He loved to ski on water and snow, he hiked throughout the Cascades, summitted every volcanic peak in the Pacific Northwest, and rode his bike around Mt. Rainier and from Seattle to Portland. Greg adventured all over the world, including fly-fishing in remote Alaska, going on safari in Africa, skiing every resort in the western United States, and SCUBA diving in Fiji, Belize, and the Great Barrier Reef. He also loved his hometown and avidly attended Seattle sporting events with his friends and son, Max. Greg's greatest love, however, was his family, which included his relatives, friends, and patients. He was never happier than when he was helping someone he loved.
Greg passed away on December 6, 2012, due to complications from a bilateral lung transplant. He is survived by his children Gregory "Max" Engel, Jr. (Elisa) and Madeline Engel (Ryan Rourke). Greg's family is so grateful to his care providers at the University of Washington Medical Center, especially his transplant team, physical therapists, and the nursing staff in the cardio-thoracic ICU, all of whom fought alongside Greg for nearly four months.
A service will be held on December 16, 2012 at 3pm at First Presbyterian in Bellevue. In lieu of flowers, condolences can be made to the Gregory Max Engel Memorial Fund at Overlake Hospital.
Published in The Seattle Times from Dec. 11 to Dec. 15, 2012.