Samuel Aronson
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Samuel Byron Aronson

Sam Aronson died at home on July 7, 2013 at the age of 84. He was a proud native of Pittsburgh, PA, where he was born on April 10, 1929, and an enthusiastic 55-year San Francisco resident, who will be remembered by family and friends for his remarkable mind, offbeat sense of humor, sage advice and quiet kindness.


A man of eclectic interests, he studied philosophy at Yale, politics at Oxford, and medicine at the University of Pittsburgh. Along the way, he spent a summer working in a Pittsburgh steel mill, acquired a credible English accent (thankfully later lost) and wrote the first senior class play at Pitt medical school, a tradition which continues today.


After medical school, he served in the Public Health Service at the National Institutes of Health before moving west to complete a residency in ophthalmology at UCSF. Almost immediately after arriving in California he met Mary Ann Goldman and showed his character by asking her out again after she handily beat him in tennis on their second date (and she wasn't even very good). They married the next year and following sojourns in San Jose and a fellowship year in Paris, they returned to San Francisco where their daughters were born and he established his clinical research laboratory at San Francisco General Hospital. He was an early advocate for use of steroids to treat eye diseases, the author of many papers and a seminal textbook on ocular inflammation, and a consultant on ocular drugs and devices. After retirement, he invented his own art form using natural objects, pieces of which hang in homes across the country.


Sam remembered almost everything and on the rare occasions when he didn't know something, he invented credible, charming facts and tales that instantly became part of family lore. He was a great reader, hiker, world traveler and Asian food enthusiast.


He is survived by Mary Ann, his wife of 54 years, daughter Louise, daughter-in-law Jane Langridge, and daughter Margot, as well as nieces Joy Gray, Susan Aaron, Judy Penner, and Barbara Rosston, nephew Lee Marks, sister- and brother-in-law Barbara and Marcus Aaron, and many cousins and friends.


Gifts in memory of Sam may be sent to the California Academy of Sciences or the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy.



To Plant Memorial Trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.
Published in San Francisco Chronicle from Jul. 10 to Jul. 14, 2013.
Memories & Condolences
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13 entries
August 7, 2013
That Man May See, Inc. and the Frederick C. Cordes Eye Society (alumni of the UCSF Department of Ophthalmology) have lost a dear friend. I first met Dr. Aronson through Pearl Kimura and had a high regard for his dedication to saving sight. Our thoughts are with your family. Kathleen Rydar, President, That Man May See.
Kathleen Rydar
August 7, 2013
Dear Mary Ann and family,

On behalf of the University of California San Francisco Department of Ophthalmology we want to express our deepest sympathies to you and your family. We have all lost a truly wonderful man and a great ophthalmologist. He influenced many of our residents and faculty in very positive and stimulating ways throughout the years. Furthermore, his excellent pioneering work with corticosteroids and the eye continues to be quoted at all of our scientific meetings. In addition, Sam made all of these scientific meetings much more informative and exciting for all of us. We will miss him dearly.

Dr. Allan Flach
Professor of Ophthalmology
UCSF Department of Ophthalmology
July 25, 2013
Dear Mrs. Aronson, Louise and Margot,
You probably would not remember me, but I used to baby sit for you many a moons ago. I am so sorry to learn of your loss. I will always remember how kind Dr. Aronson was. My thoughts are with your family.
Cathy (Hayman) Burchett
July 16, 2013
The greatest generation has lost one of its best. My heartfelt condolences to Mary Ann, Louise & Jane, who contributed so much to Sam's happiness & joy.
Leslie Kanberg
July 16, 2013
My sympathies. Sorry to hear of your loss. Wonderful person and Doctor.
Shelley Hogan (Daley)
July 15, 2013
Pam and I have warm memories of Sam and are lucky to have known him through the California Academy of Sciences and the Steinhart Aquarium. We and the fishes will miss him.
John McCosker
July 15, 2013
A Giant in the field of Ophthalmology has passed.
May he rest in peace.
Joel Porter, M.D.
July 14, 2013
Sam was my beloved cousin, friend, and sharer of our family history. He filled the dry dates of our ancestors with stories of those he knew. I will miss him terribly.
Linda Thorpe Caciola
July 13, 2013
The world needs more Sams. We'll all miss you.

Love, Daniel and Sarah
Daniel Gray
July 11, 2013
What a beautiful and accurate remembrance of Sam.
My thoughts are with you all.
love,ursula
July 11, 2013
What a beautiful and accurate remembrance of Sam. You all are in my thoughts.
love,Ursula
July 11, 2013
Sam was a very special man. I'm happy to have known him.
Steven Christopherson
July 11, 2013
A perfect portrait of Sam. I smiled as I read it.
Joy Gray
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