Dr. Gary Preiser, 75, of Walton, born May 27, 1944, passed away peacefully at home surrounded by loved ones on Saturday, May 23, after a long illness.
Gary grew up in Middletown. He graduated from the University of Rochester with a BS in chemistry. His education continued at New York University Grossman School of Medicine, Children’s Hospital Los Angeles and Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, where he completed his pediatric training.
Dr. Preiser came to Walton in 1974 as a pediatrician with UHS Delaware Valley Hospital. During his career, he served as an officer with the Medical Society of the State of New York, president of the medical staff at the hospital, and medical director and lead physician for the primary care centers. He was the recipient of the Sally Dean Award for exceptional service. Over the course of his professional life, Dr. Preiser cared for three generations of children in Delaware County. In addition to his attentiveness to and concern for his patients, he will be remembered for his long ponytail, roller skating and skiing to work, wearing sandals and socks, coming to his office on Halloween in costume, and for painting faces at hospital events and murals to brighten up the walls of his office and the maternity unit.
After 35 years, Gary retired from his medical practice and remained in Walton as a dedicated and energetic community member.
Some of his notable volunteer service included Project Hope in Jamaica, community theater groups, Temple Beth El education program, Junior Great Books, Red Cross emergency assistance, Virgin Islands Environmental Resource Station, Lord’s Table Soup Kitchen, and he also constructed several “Little Libraries” in Walton. He was also a member of Temple Beth El in Oneonta.
Gary loved the outdoors. In addition to skiing, sailing, snorkeling, hiking, camping and canoeing, several of his most memorable adventures included running in New York City Marathons, climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro at age 64, and canoeing the Delaware River from Walton to Philadelphia. Gary was also a gourmet cook, enjoying food preparation for many family holidays and gatherings. He did countless ‘fix-it’ and building projects at his home as well as for his adult children and “Papa Gary’s” grandchildren.
Gary was an avid reader and a talented musician, who took classes in music theory and played a variety of stringed instruments. All family events included music and singing. He played the music from his father’s generation with his father and uncle and also learned and enjoyed the music of the next generation with his nephews, son-in-law, and dear grandsons. With an artistic flair, he enjoyed sketching, wood carving, making jewelry from items found in nature, and even learned the art of ballroom dancing with wife Lynda. His most recent accomplishment was the publication of a nonfiction children’s book, Loveys, which includes his watercolor illustrations.
Dr. Preiser is survived by his father Marvin Preiser; beloved wife and best friend of 45 years Lynda (Litz) Preiser; daughter Rebecca Preiser, husband Josh D’Ancona and grandsons Luke and Asa; daughter Rachel (Preiser) Feinberg, husband John and granddaughter Cora; daughter Gabrielle (Preiser) Koelbel, husband Eric and granddaughter Madeleine; sister Cheryl (Preiser) Leopold, husband Richard and nephew Matthew, wife Natalie and their children: Aaron, Noah, and Hannah, nephew Stephen, and niece Amy (Leopold) Bock, husband Matt; brother Geof Prysirr, wife Julia Whelan, as well as many cousins.
He was predeceased by daughter Sarah Preiser and mother Ruth (Katz) Preiser.
Dr. Preiser will be buried at the Walton Cemetery alongside his daughter Sarah after a private service.
Arrangements will be made by the Courtney Funeral Home of Walton. To leave a message of condolence visit www.courtneyfh.com.
A celebration of his life will be held at a future date. Gary’s family expresses deep gratitude to friends and the Walton community for support and help during this difficult time. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the International Myeloma Foundation or an organization supporting the preservation of the environment.