11/8/2013 8:05:00 AM Norman Jonas Selverstone, M.D. Jan. 27, 1925 - Nov. 5, 2013
Norman Jonas Selverstone, M.D., died in Damariscotta on Nov. 5.
Dr. Selverstone was born in Swainsboro, Ga., on Jan. 27, 1925, and spent his early years in Florida and New York City. He graduated from Erasmus Hall High School at the age of 16 and immediately entered the accelerated, wartime Naval Reserve program at Columbia University. Thereafter, he followed his brothers Bertram and Louis to Harvard Medical School, graduating in 1947.
He completed his internship and residencies at Boston City Hospital. In 1949 he was awarded a Moseley Traveling Fellowship to study with renowned cardiologist John McMichael at Hammersmith Hospital in London. It was in London that he met Gladys "Bobbie" Wynn, the woman who would become his wife of nearly 62 years. After marrying in 1951, they moved to Germany where Dr. Selverstone served as chief of cardiology at the 320th General Hospital, U.S. Army, in Landstuhl.
In 1953, he returned to a Rockefeller Foundation Fellowship at the Thorndike Laboratory at Boston City Hospital, serving as a Research Fellow with the legendary Dr. Maxwell Finland. He often spoke about these years as laying the foundation for a career focused solely on the needs of his patients, regardless of who was paying the bills.
Dr. Selverstone joined the medical staff of the Mt. Auburn Hospital in Cambridge, Mass. in 1954, where he would later become president of the medical staff. During his years there he trained and mentored many interns and residents as an Assistant Professor of Clinical Medicine at Harvard Medical School.
However, the private practice in internal medicine that he established with his brother, Louis, was the heart of his professional life. For six decades, he served his patients with intelligence, compassion, ribald humor, and an uncanny ability to diagnose even the rarest of diseases.
In 2002, he received the Morrill Wyman Award from the hospital, for "demonstrating caregiving in the truest sense of the word" and was also named Community Clinician of the Year by the Middlesex District Medical Society and the Massachusetts Medical Society. He was deeply appreciative of the outstanding staff who worked with him and Louis over the years, both in their practice and at the hospital, for all they did to allow him to focus on his patients.
Dr. Selverstone's intellectual passions ranged widely beyond the field of medicine; indeed, it was difficult to find a subject about which he did not have deep knowledge and pithy comments to share.
He cherished time at the family cottage in Chamberlain, fishing from the rocks, sailing, painting, cooking gourmet meals, and crafting wooden ship models from scratch.
He is survived by his wife, Bobbie; children, Andrew, Jane, and Roger; son-in-law, David Gutzler; grandchildren, Ben and Sonia Gutzler; niece, Joan; nephew, Peter; and extended family around the world, in addition to legions of friends, colleagues, and grateful patients.
There will be no service in Maine, but a memorial service will be held in Massachusetts at a later date.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Mt. Auburn Hospital, 300 Mt. Auburn St., Cambridge, MA 02138.
Condolences, and messages for the family, may be expressed by visiting www.StrongHancock.com.
Arrangements are under the direction and care of the Strong-Hancock Funeral Home, 612 Main St., Damariscotta.