Gary George Lapid
Nov. 27, 1945-Jan. 14, 2024
Mountain View, California
Gary was a Physician, Professor and Humanitarian. Born November 27, 1945 in Los Angeles to the late Miriam (Mickey) Shapiro Lapid and Gilbert G. Lapid, M.D. of Chicago, IL. He grew up in Long Beach, CA with his sister Sharon and brother Terry., His magnetic personality, boundless energy and drive to succeed were lifelong assets and goals. He attended Long Beach Poly High where among his many accomplishments were Student Body President, Boy’s State Treasurer and AFS Exchange Student. Gary played basketball and waterpolo and was a member of Comus. At UC Berkeley he took his studies very seriously in order to fulfill his desire to go to medical school. Zeta Beta Tau Fraternity provided the perfect outlet to balance his academic hard work with “good times” and life long friends. After he completed Medical School at the University of Pennsylvania, he did his postgrad training in Psychiatry at Stanford and became Chief Resident. Gary opened a private practice in Palo Alto and was an Associate Clinical Professor in Psychiatry at Stanford Medical School, where he was voted Professor of the Year establishing his course “Medicine from the Heart.” Gary and his former wife Barbara had 2 children, Zachary and Maya to whom they gave the gifts of love, wisdom and opportunity.
As children the Lapid siblings were taught the value of giving back to their community, a life long commitment for Gary who with his dear friend and colleague, Craig Schindler initiated Project Victory, whose goal was to facilitate national dialogues, teaching people with different points of view conflict resolution in order to work together supporting human dignity, environmental restoration and global security.They wrote a book, “The Great Turning” exploring win-win outcomes to reach these goals. Their work awarded Gary the “Outstanding Contribution to World Peace” by the National Physicians for Social Responsibility. On a smaller more personal level Gary enjoyed coaching youth sports teams hoping to achieve a positive impact on children’s lives.
At age 49 Gary underwent elective heart surgery. Tragically, a surgical mishap left him a quadriplegic, but his intelligence was intact. This tragedy became Gary’s personal “Great Turning” and most significant success. He never met a challenge he could not conquer. There were dark, introspective days but In time he realized that losing control over his body did not change who he was as a person — his true being and soul. He knew he could still do the most important things in his life; love his family, friends and spread kindness and gratitude. Gary continued to teach “Medicine from the Heart” by living it. He elevated everyone around him with wisdom and grace. There is an old saying, “Doctor heal thyself” which Gary did. In addition to intense rehab work, he made the empowering decision to accept his fate.
In the last 30 years he never complained nor had self pity. Instead he created a full and satisfying life. His voracious thirst for knowledge was filled by reading biographies, historical and spiritual books retaining more information than most. His Apple computer allowed him to stay in touch with friends near and far. Being limited to typing with only one finger, a slow endeavor, yet he even took time to correct spelling errors.
Gary relished watching the Warriors and 49ers and competing with contestants on Jeopardy. He watched the news, until like so many of us it became so depressing, he stopped. His greatest pleasure was spending time with Maya and Zack. He thrived in having meaningful conversations, sharing memories and laughing with his ‘chosen family” Craig Bloom, Craig Schindler and Mike Smith. Celebrating holidays with family and friends, often at the Blooms’ house, were events he looked forward to with excitement. He always remembered birthdays by sending cards and gifts. Gary cared little about titles, Psychiatrist or Professor were just names that described the work that made him happy. But the one title that lit up his life and filled his heart with endless joy was “Papa.” At age 75 he became a grandfather to Maya’s beautiful son, Star. Gary traveled the road less taken with dignity, kindness and love. His life and contributions have left an indelible mark on all who knew him.
Gary leaves behind a loving family. His daughter Maya Lapid, grandson Star of Sebastapol, son Zack Lapid of Oakland, sister Sharon Lapid of Coronado, brother Terry Lapid (Teddra) of Talent, OR, nephews David Simon (Suny) of Hood River, OR, Greg Simon (Toni) of LA, Matthew Simon of San Francisco, Adam Simon of LA,Trace Lapid of Denver, CO, nieces Tori Lapid of Denver, CO, Elishia Holmes (Alex) Sloan Heineman of LA, Barbara Lapid of Panama, many loving cousins. Gary will be missed by all.
It is with overwhelming gratitude for Siete Fatongia, Gary’s caregiver of 28 years, Nia Pale for her kindness and smiles, and Neta and Vea Tiamani whose strength and love kept Gary comfortable and smiling in his final days.