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Mar 25, 2014 2:47 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Dr. Edgar Grunwaldt Of Shelter Island Dies March 16

Mar 25, 2014 2:47 PM

Dr. Edgar Grunwaldt, a doctor on Shelter Island for 27 years, died at Eastern Long Island Hospital on March 16, surrounded by his family. He was 89.

Born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, on August 23, 1924, he began medical school in Argentina when he was 16 years old. He emigrated to the United States in 1947 and attended Washington University School of Medicine in 1948. He graduated alpha omega alpha, at the top of his class, with a medical doctor degree in 1951. After medical school, he completed a residency in pediatrics at the University of California, San Francisco.

He then moved to Carmel, California, where he practiced pediatrics for 10 years before pursuing his interest in research and development of pharmaceuticals. Longing to return to the practice of medicine and make patient care the focus of his life, he moved to Shelter Island in 1975 as the town’s physician.

His care was all-encompassing, from home births to midnight house calls to caring for the elderly and even the occasional dog with a fishhook caught in its mouth. Survivors said that, although his practice was clinically oriented, he was still able to make pivotal contributions to the research of Lyme disease, given his concern for so many of the patients he saw who were afflicted by perplexing and chronic symptoms that had been unexplained.

Dr. Grunwaldt was on the team that discovered the spirochete that causes Lyme disease. In 1978 the New Yorker magazine published a feature article about his groundbreaking research into this burgeoning epidemic that was affecting his community. He was a board-certified pediatrician and a member of the American Medical Association. He maintained his family practice at the Town Medical Center until his retirement in 2002.

Dr. Grunwaldt is survived by his wife of 44 years, Bonnie; four daughters, Sheila, Alexis, Noel and Lorelei; five grandchildren, Corrina, Graham, Olivia, Audrey and Ella; and three great-grandchildren, Cash, Dylan and Lotus.

A memorial gathering will be held in the early summer. Memorial donations may be made to the Shelter Island Ambulance Fund.

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