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Donald Galfond

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Donald Galfond Donald Galfond, M.D., a native of Los Angeles, California, and the son of Paul and Perle (Levy) Galfond, died at his home in San Francisco on January 15, 2013. He was 85.
Dr. Galfond majored in Russian at U.C. Berkeley and received his medical training, in French, at the University of Geneva. After further study in Paris, London, Dublin, Prague, and Philadelphia, he returned to the Bay Area, where he was a resident at Presbyterian Hospital (now CPMC) and spent his career as a psychiatrist for the City and County of San Francisco. Throughout his career, he cared primarily for disadvantaged patients and went to great lengths, including personal visits, to provide the best possible care. In addition to Russian and French, Dr. Galfond read, wrote, and spoke German, Dutch, Italian, Hungarian, Czech, Spanish, and Portuguese, maintaining friendships around the world through frequent travel and a voluminous correspondence. He was an avid pianist and hosted regular chamber music evenings at his Noe Valley home. A meticulous and dedicated teacher, Dr. Galfond was responsible for training young psychiatrists at San Francisco General Hospital and, in his spare time, volunteered to teach languages (including English to newcomers) and music to students of all ages. In that role, he was influential in the development of a number of musicians including singer/actor Manoel Felciano and composer Nathaniel Stookey. He had a strong interest in historic architecture, documenting countless buildings in his own photographs, and was a regular editorial contributor to Leonard Pitt's books about Paris, a city he knew intimately and returned to annually. He was a fixture of the cultural life of San Francisco and a regular presence at the Mechanics' Institute Library, Caffé Trieste, Caffé Puccini, Queen Malika Café, and The Cove on Castro. His Letters to the Editor, on a wide variety of subjects, appeared regularly in publications including the Lancet, the British Medical Journal, Smithsonian Magazine, and the Guardian.
We, his friends and family, will miss Don's clear, compassionate mind, his attentive and empathetic ear, his subtle humor. Donations in his memory can be made to the Donald Galfond Book Fund at the Mechanics' Institute Library of San Francisco by contacting Jim Flack at [email protected] Plans for a memorial gathering are pending.
Published in San Francisco Chronicle on Feb. 22, 2013
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