From A Friend: Dan Kramer

I was one of Greg’s classmates at HMS, and I am deeply sorry for your loss. Greg will be sorely missed by everyone who knew him, and I wanted to pass on just a few thoughts.

I wanted to share a memory I have of Greg, a moment we shared almost by accident that now helps me remember his best qualities: Match Day. Greg and I opened our residency match envelopes together in March of 2005 on the steps of Gordon Hall. We hadn’t planned it that way, but just happened to work our way through the crowd at the same moment at the Registrar and chose to escape outside. I remember vividly turning to Greg to watch him open his envelope with no expectations of how he would react…

…Like many people, I knew and greatly admired Greg for his wicked sarcasm, his courageous cynicism about medical training, and his talent for connecting people through humor. He was always alert for an opening for his impeccable comic timing, witticisms at the ready, delivered with his trademark poise and precision. He will remain, forever, in my All-Time Top 10 Funniest People I Have Ever Known.

But on Match Day, it was not his humor but Greg’s uninhibited, unvarnished happiness that made a lasting impression on me. He opened his envelope and sighed, softly, “Stanford.”  And then he clenched both fists, tilted his head to the sky with his eyes closed, and breathed, “YES!!!”  I still remember feeling almost shocked by the purity, the sincerity of his happiness at that moment, coming from such a constant well of droll humor… I will remember Greg and be grateful for the excitement he shared with me that day about his bright future. I have learned a lot about Greg in recent weeks, things I never knew about his commitment to public health and his equally strong conviction that his daily interactions with friends, family, and patients were opportunities to improve the world around him. I think it was that side of Greg, his sincerity, that I glimpsed that day, and I remember it as fondly as I do all the times he made me laugh.

A few weeks ago my wife and I had a baby boy, and every night since then I’ve been awake a lot in the wee hours, sitting with him in the dark, feeding him or rocking him to sleep. I think about Greg in those moments, about match day, about times when the future seemed limitless and filled with promise. I can only hope my son can grow up to be as caring and sincere a person as Greg, someone who touches so many people and leaves behind as heartfelt a legacy someday.

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