David Stoddard Gans M.D.
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David Stoddard Gans, M.D. Our North Coast Medical Community lost one of its premier physicians, Dr. David Stoddard Gans, on Labor Day. He passed away unexpectedly in the arms of his loving wife, Tara. A long time resident of the Arcata area, Dr. Gans was born in Berkeley, CA on November 24, 1939 and spent his youth there and in nearby El Cerrito. Despite losing his father half way through high school, David was a remarkable student who became an accomplished artist in ink and watercolors and won a statewide contest with a painting of "What America Means to Me". A long time aficionado of the Arts and creative endeavors, David would eventually serve on the Humboldt Arts Council. Graduating from high school in 1957, David attended the University of California in Berkeley and majored in Philosophy, as did his father, a Rhodes Scholar. David became very interested in writing and emerged as a sensitive and thought-provoking poet. He was very active in the early Civil Rights movement and other political causes dedicated to improving the lives of those less fortunate. Earning his undergraduate degree in Philosophy, David was a finalist for the Woodrow Wilson Fellowship in Philosophy and thought to pursue Philosophy as a post graduate. Yet medicine also appealed to David so he also applied to Medical School at the University of California at San Francisco where he was accepted. While in medical school, David developed a passion for music. Between his studies, he frequented jazz clubs and other venues. Later in life, David would combine his love of music and poetry by forming two groups performing "spoken word" with some very talented musicians one in Los Angeles and later, the Arcata "Speakeasy" group. Having earned his M.D., Dr. Gans received additional Internal Medicine training and a Nephrology fellowship from USC Los Angeles Medical Center. He was on the Teaching and Attending Staff of premiere Southern California hospitals such as Cedars-Sinai and USC Medical Centers, "back in the day" as he would say, when L.A. was a magical land of stars and VIPs and practicing medicine was the ultimate endeavor. David's dedication to medicine as a calling was clearly demonstrated when he led a doctors' strike as a Resident at Los Angeles County Hospital, not for more money (though the pay was pathetic), not for more reasonably working conditions (though shifts were often 24 hours and 36 hours long), but for the improvement of patient care. In fact, this event was so noteworthy that a TV movie was made about the strike entitled "The Quality of Mercy". Eventually, Dr. Gans missed his northern California roots and after 20 years of serving the rich and famous with his Beverly Hills practice, he and Tara moved to Arcata in 1994. David often commented that his practice in Arcata was his dream practice, providing essential health care services to a deserving community. He loved to mentor new physician residents who would shadow him on his hospital rounds, clinic visits and medical staff meetings. Dr. Gans was Chief of Staff three times at Mad River Community Hospital, served on the Hospital's Medical Executive Committee, was a member of the Hospital's Board of Directors and voted the Most Popular Doctor. It was a true testimony to David's commitment to patient care that the winning ballot came from a night shift nurse who was perturbed that when Dr. Gans called at night to receive updates on his patients he would not hesitate to issue new orders. The nurse had eventually realized that, even in the middle of the night, Dr. Gans was thinking of his patient's welfare. He was a stalwart supporter of Mad River Community Hospital and his presence as a mentor and a friend will never be replaced. Dr. Gans loved sharing his medical and philosophical training with patients and friends. He was a passionate physician like so many of his generation that considered medicine not a career but a calling to be answered with no half measure, but with his full heart and soul. Like his namesake, David was infinitely courageous and never hesitated to defend those less fortunate or raise the flag against injustice. His was a heart that was generous, loyal, dedicated and compassionate. David's caring extended to all living beings including animals and his last non-medical trip away from Arcata was with his brother Jonathan to Bandon Oregon Wild Animal Game Park where he was thrilled to pet a Bengal Tiger cub. David is survived by his wife Tara Gans and his brother Jonathan Meir Gans and preceded in death by his father Abraham Isiah Gans and his mother Nancy Jane Stoddard Gans. His family suggests that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to support animal conservation groups. A celebration of his life will be held on October 11, 2014, 11:00 am at the Adult Day Health Care Center located at 3800 Janes Road, behind Mad River Community Hospital in Arcata, California. Please sign the guestbook at www.times-standard.com and click on obits.

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Published in Times-Standard from Oct. 2 to Oct. 10, 2014.
Memories & Condolences
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31 entries
March 19, 2015
I knew Dr. Gans as an extraordinary man and doctor but after seeing my new doctor, it hit home like a ton of bricks just what a wonderful man/doctor we lost. I feel blessed to have known him and have him for a friend and a doctor. I can only imagine how hard this is on his wife. My prayers go to you, Tara.
Pamela Wagner
March 17, 2015
I met Dr Gans in 1994 when he was getting ready to relocate to Arcata from Beverly Hills. He didn't have an office yet, so we met for a dinner interview. I arrived early expecting a Beverly Hills doctor whose looks would go with that Baritone radio voice from our phone calls. I figured he would be easy to pick out in Arcata. Probably would be wearing an Armani suit with gold cuff links. Thick gold Rolex. Would smell like an expensive cologne. Seeing no one who matched that description, I waited while watching a man in a army fatigue jacket stick his head under the sneeze guard on the salad bar to better view the selections. "Obviously not my guy" I thought. Then salad-bar-man suddenly stood upright in that slightly stooped posture, said, "Sherri?", and came toward me with his hand extended and a huge smile on his face. We had dinner. We talked alot. We were completely opposite. He was a Berkeley liberal and I was a Reagan conservative. But I left the restaurant with a new job, and with an employer who turned into a wonderful family friend.If you ask any of his patients, they will tell you that he was not just their doctor. He was their friend. In these times, making THAT level of connection with not just a few, but with the vast majority of your patients is nothing short of amazing. He didn't just care for them. He cared ABOUT them. And they knew it and they loved him for it. David Stoddard Gans was one of a kind, and the North Coast has lost someone who will never be replaced.
Sherri Kerin
January 28, 2015
I met David when we moved from New York to San Francisco in 1960. We made poetry and music and radical politics together. We were among those who started "the Sixties."

Dave never lost that class consciousness; not many know that in his Los Angeles practice he had a secret room where he treated Black Panthers and other outcasts in need.

He was my friend for over 50 years and I have a photo of us from a 2009 visit on my wall. We did not always agree -- far from it -- but the love and respect we had for each other never flagged. My deepest sympathy to Tara.
Albert Lannon
November 22, 2014
An old friend from grammar school and High School. A nice quite person. A few good memories of him from El Cerrito.

Robert Mitchell
November 21, 2014
Were so sorry to hear about the loss of a wonderful amazing Doctor. He was a kind caring and passionate man. We will always be grateful for all he has done for us and so many. Gone way too soon. We will miss him. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family during this difficult time.
The Woods Family
October 30, 2014
I am so sorry for your loss Tara! I just found about about Dr Gans passing away. I am so sad! He was such a great man! I did my externship for a medical assisting with him. What a great teacher he was! I then worked for him and started seeing him as my MD. He will be greatly missed by me and all who knew him!!
Diana Ward
October 28, 2014
Great Dr he kept me in check for many years, shopped at Murphy's for many years always a true gentleman and very intelligent person in many topics of life we will miss him very much, Tara you list a prince who adored you very much
Carlos Avelar
October 17, 2014
My deepest sympathy to Tara. I was fortunate enough to be a part of the recruitment team that brought Dr. Gans and Tara to Mad River Hospital. He was a dedicated Physician and a talented man. I am deeply sad that we lost him recently. Kathy Walker
October 15, 2014
I met David Gans when I was 25 and he was 39 - that seemed so old... And yet David never seemed to age. Whether through his brilliant intelligence, his quick wit, or his deep passions, David showed how us how people should behave, and how life should be lived. It was a privilege to be David's patient, and an honor to be his friend.

Although heartbroken, I won't ever have to imagine a world without David: David Gans will always be a part of my world.

Love and thoughts to Tara and family from Linda and Les
Les Kaye
October 14, 2014
Listening to Doctor Gans wonderful wife speaking at his memorial, I felt so happy he had such a great partner. Tara, you must have been a great comfort to him. And your funny stories helped soothe my sadness.

Thank you so much for having the courage through your sadness to share those stories with us.
Pamela Wagner
October 14, 2014
Rest in peace. I will always be grateful for your compassion and generosity.
October 13, 2014
I was a patient for over 15 years. I will miss his care and his spirit. His departure is a great loss to the community. It is truly a loss.
John Rice
October 11, 2014
Dr. Gans was such an amazing Doctor and person. I enjoyed working with him at Mad River Community Hospital for the two years I was there! I had the honor of taking care of him also and I am so honored to have that chance! I hope to be half the person he was! He will be dearly missed. My thoughts go to the family and the community as they morn the loss of this amazing person!
Taylor Shields
October 10, 2014
Dr.Gans has been my doctor since the first day he took over Dr. Franks practice. I feel very blessed to have known him. He never made me feel rushed, always took time to answer all of my questions, and he took a little time to just visit. My prayers and thoughts go out to his family. He will be truly missed. There will always be a special place in my heart for him

Laura McHatton
October 9, 2014
We are all but memories. David Gans will be a favorite of mine until that time when we all hope to meet once again.

AK -
October 7, 2014
Dr. Gans was one of the best examples I can find of a man who truly made a difference. He was a great doctor and always went the extra mile for his patients.

He has helped many people over the years. I am certainly glad I was one of them. He will surely be missed.
Joseph Yadacus
October 7, 2014
David loved his life - his wife Tara, their animals, his work and helping people. I admired him so much and enjoyed all my time working with him.
Carolyn Christenson
October 7, 2014
Best man/best friend since 1972. Every day we wake up to his poem to us at our wedding. It hangs on our wall and in our hearts. See you again some day. Thank you for all the love and passion you have given us.

LOVE, Richard & Carol Milton
October 6, 2014
louis&barbara bertolino,dr.gans was a friend as well as our doctor.he will certainly be missed
October 6, 2014
What a great guy and a wonderful Doctor. He will be missed by many.
Thank you to his family for sharing him with his work. God Bless you.
Steve and Diane Berry
October 6, 2014
My husband and I met David through his magical wife Tara. He was a wonderful raconteur and passionate advocate for so many causes, always a tremendously interesting man! The community has lost one of its best.
Charlotte and Chip Dixon
Charlotte and Chip Dixon
October 5, 2014
He was the best
Jo Borchardt-Smith RN
October 5, 2014
To the Gans family:

Dr. Gans was my parents Dr. (Amy and Clyde Hammer) and was also an acquaintance of mine for years. I was so sad to hear of his death. I can't help but think of him now walking straight and strong without pain. We will be praying for your family.
Geri Heyne
October 4, 2014
Dr. Gans was the best doctor and a good friend. Even though I moved eight and a half hours away, I kept him as my doctor. He always had time to listen. There will never be a doctor like Dr. Gans again. What kindness! What conversation! What a human being to know. I feel so privileged to have known him. What a huge sadness for us all.
Pamela Wagner
October 3, 2014
David was my Doctor from the moment he took over Dr. Franks practice. He always took the time to discuss medical terms or the recent news. He was one of the smartest men I ever knew. He struggled thru many years as being a sick man himself. He will be in my heart forever. I miss him & his knowledge. Rest in peace David. May God bless you. Dutch Dolson

david was my Doctor the moment he too over Dr. Henry Frank's practice
October 3, 2014
Dr. Gans was my doctor for 15 years. Good care and a stimulating conversation was always to be had in his office. I will miss him and extend my condolences to his family.
John Lucas
October 2, 2014
David was a rare Renaissance Man in the fullest sense. A sensitive artist, poet and physician. I feel honored to have known him and also to have shared the stage with him while performing with the spoken word group Speakeasy.
William Mitchell
October 2, 2014
October 2, 2014
I was a patient of Dr. Gans for the past 18 years or so. I appreciated so much that he actually spent time with and listened to his patients. I also had the pleasure of hearing Speakeasy live, and have a cd. My heart goes out to his wife and brother, and to the medical community as a whole for the loss of such a wonderful person.
Mary Waters
October 2, 2014
David will be missed by many. I dealt poker to him. He enjoyed texas holdem tournaments. I would often hear him advice people when they asked him a medical question, he took time out to give advice, showing he cared. To his family I am so sorry for your loss. He is no longer in pain, but he Will be so missed. Vera Shumard
October 2, 2014
In loving memory of a wonderful person. We will love you and miss you always.
Ernie Sousa
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