Early on when I worked at Kaiser, the director of nuclear medicine was Walter Froehlich and he eventually turned that job over to Stephen Adelman. Not long after that , Walter, who usually held the phone up to his right ear, held it up to the left and he heard nothing. That could have been caused by a benign tumor of the auditory nerve but shortly after that, he wasn’t able to cross his legs. To make a long story short, he had an inoperable brain tumor and he retired very shortly after that.
As his symptoms progressed, Walter ended up essentially confined to his home. Stephen wanted to take him out for breakfast and he asked me to help. That sounded reasonable to me and we arranged to go to Walter’s house to load him up to go downtown for breakfast. We did that on a regular basis until they moved into a rest home. We enjoyed the camaraderie and we had some good laughs. We had recently purchased a new gamma camera and the one that Walter wanted was well beyond our budget. We weren’t allowed to bargain but as it turned out, their bid came in low and we got what we wanted. The funny part was that I jiggered the deal and got a letter of reprimand in my file for assisting the company that didn’t get the sale. The docs found a lot of humor in knowing that I got in trouble for doing the opposite of what actually happened and of course, the person who wrote my letter received a commendation for a really great deal that magically fell out of the sky.
When I retired from Kaiser, they told a lot of funny Marvin stories and Stephen told them about us going to breakfast with Walter. He told me later that he wanted them to know that I also had a serious side. I told the breakfast story at Stephen’s memorial, not because I wanted them to know that he had a serious side but because I wanted them to know that he was courageous. His father lived in Boston and he died from a brain tumor. Stephen wasn’t able to be there to help out as much as he would have liked and I think that always bothered him. What he did for Walter was undoubtedly difficult but he stepped up and did what he thought needed to be done. I think he probably told the story at my retirement party because Walter would have enjoyed being there and he was an important part of our shared memory.