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In Remembrance of Dr. Gary Preiser

May 27, 2020

UHS Delaware Valley Hospital family has lost a patriarch. Dr. Gary Preiser, pediatrician at DVH for 35 years, passed away after a valiant fight against myeloma.   Coming to Walton early in his career, he chose to practice in a rural area but he never stopped studying medicine.  He knew, that even in small towns, complicated cases could arise.  In fact, he diagnosed a local child with the extremely rare condition known as Reyes Syndrome. Wanting to keep other children safe, he began a campaign to alert parents to the potential danger of giving children aspirin when they were ill. Over the course of his several decade long tenure, he cared for countless children- 2 to 3 generations in many cases. When necessary, both he and his wife, Lynda would be available, morning, noon and night, to help parents learn to manage the care of their children with chronic conditions.

While at DVH, he was very supportive of the hospital itself, his colleagues, staff and administration. He served as Medical Staff President, Medical Director and Lead Physician for the Primary Care offices.  He was a generous contributor to the Enhance DVH Fund.  As serious as he was about medicine, he could always be counted on to liven up any celebration. He would bring the music and his blenders! He even helped spearhead the observance of the CEO’s 50th birthday by helping to “decorate” his office, after hours, as a special surprise! (A very bold move at the time). Whenever the hospital was bringing on a new physician, he and Lynda would graciously host a dinner, featuring their culinary skills. Always inviting the primary care doctors and spouses, it created a warm, welcoming and comfortable atmosphere for the physician and his/her spouse to meet their new colleagues.

He was also a gifted artist. One wall of an exam room in the Medical Office Facility (MOF) and a wall in the nursery had scenes he designed and painted from Doctor Seuss and the Wizard of Oz. At many events, he was the official face painter and many creative characters played across children’s faces (and arms) over the years.

Dr. Preiser was the epitome of a Renaissance Man. He was a skilled woodworker, gourmet chef and studied Greek cuisine.  There wasn't a subject that didn't interest him and the walls of his pediatric office and exam rooms were a showcase of his many pursuits and talents. Beautiful photos taken of the various places he had been or things he had seen filled the space. The rooms were decorated with a plethora of objects so there was always something that would capture a child’s imagination or attention. 

He was actively involved in the community and gave back in a variety of ways. As a PTA volunteer, he helped at multiple fundraisers to build a playground at the Townsend School. For several years, he arranged for The Nutcracker Suite ballet to be performed at the High School.  Culture was important to him and he helped with both Ogden Library and Walton Theater projects.

His love of being fit meant many would see him, walking, jogging, running or roller-skating the sidewalks of the village.  Back in the days before beepers or cell phones, he would call the ER before going out for a jog and when he came back past the hospital on his way home, he would look to see if there was a white cloth tied to the ER door. If there was, he would know he was needed at the hospital, so seeing him roller skating through the halls of DVH was not an uncommon sight. He completed several marathons and his love of hiking brought him to successfully hike to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro.

Indeed, the only thing in which he did not excel was handwriting….his was the stereotypically atrocious writing of a doctor. 

As we remember him, we know that DVH and the Walton community is a better place because of him, while anyone who had the privilege of knowing him, in whatever capacity, knows that he has left an indelible impression on them and one that has enriched their lives for the better.  He will be sorely missed!