On Sunday, January 24, 2021, David W. Westring, MD passed away at the age of 87 due to complications of COVID-19.
David was born in Milwaukee in 1933 to Dorothy Elizabeth Westring and Clarence Alfred Westring. A graduate of Whitefish Bay High School in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, he earned both a Bachelor of Science (1955) and an MD (1958) from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He interned at the Washington Hospital Center in Washington DC, and through Marquette University he completed a residency in Internal Medicine and held a fellowship in Hematology at Milwaukee General Hospital. He then held a Postdoctoral Fellowship in Hematology and Genetics at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.
David served active Army duty in 1961-62 , and thereafter remained a major in the 32nd Division of the Wisconsin National Guard.
He served as a hematologist at Queens General Hospital in Queens, NY and at Brooklyn-Cumberland Medical Center, Brooklyn, New York; as Chairman of the Department of Medicine at Nassau County Medical Center, East Meadow, NY; as Professor of Clinical Medicine at SUNY, Stony Brook, NY; as Associate Dean, SUNY, Stony Brook, NY; and as Medical Director, Nassau University Medical Center. He published 23 scientific articles & three textbook chapters. He was loved and trusted by his patients and, breaking with common practice, was an early advocate of truth-telling and transparency. He was delighted to be called by one of his cancer patients “The King of the Positive Maybe”.
David is survived by his three children, James (Bilgee), Christopher (Alisa), and Molly (Jennifer); his new son, Joseph; his brother, Richard (Jo); his former wife, Mary Westring, and his grandsons, Blaise and Kai Westring. He and Mary Leal Bersch married in 1960. Although they divorced in 1998, in keeping with their kind nature and strong sense of family, the couple maintained a warm and close friendship. He was grateful to be near James and Bilgee in Madison, and he loved visiting Chris and Alisa in Florida, and Molly and Jennifer in Washington State.
Upon his retirement and return to Madison, WI in 2007, he held an academic appointment in the School of Medicine and Public Health where he volunteered teaching entering medical students and people who were unable to complete high school in the Work and Learn Program. He also mentored students at Edgewood Nursing School and, as an Adjunct Professor at the UW Medical School, he taught clinical skills for patient-centered care to medical students. He attended many UW Continuing Education PLATO courses and taught one entitled Appreciating Classical Music.
His interests were many. David was a passionate and knowledgeable lover of classical music. He studied violin from 1941-1951 and during that period also sang in the St. Paul’s Episcopal Boys Choir. Between the two he developed an enduring passion for the great composers. He especially loved grand opera and held season tickets at the Metropolitan Opera in New York and Madison Opera in Wisconsin. Many of his fondest memories involved music, including a trio he formed with medical colleagues early in his career. He also enjoyed spending time with his friends and family, traveling, dining, cooking, swimming, American history, science & biographical literature, jogging (he said it was the best on the beach on Long Island) and later in life, walking.
He was a gentle and inspiring man. We mourn our loss and will miss his kindness, integrity, fidelity, love and his dry, quiet wit.