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Dr. Elliot Chesler

Obituary for Dr. Elliot Chesler

February 16, 1932 - June 19, 2019
San Antonio, Texas | Age 87

Obituary

Chesler, Elliot, M.D. (Rand.) F.R.C.P. (Edin.) F.A.C.C.

Age 87, Born February 16, 1932, in Johannesburg, Republic of South Africa. Died June 19, 2019, San Antonio, Texas, United States of America. Dr. Chesler earned his medical degree from the University of the Witwatersrand Medical School in Johannesburg, followed by a residency at the Baragwanath Hospital in Soweto. He became the youngest South African physician to qualify as a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland, and later the American College of Cardiology. In 1967 Dr. Chesler completed a year of post-doctoral work in Minneapolis, Minnesota under Dr. Jesse Edwards, an internationally recognized authority in the emerging field of cardiac pathology.

Upon returning to South Africa, Dr Chesler joined the faculty of the University of Cape Town Medical School and the Department of Cardiology at Groote Schuur hospital in Cape Town, where Professor Christiaan Barnard had performed the first successful human heart transplant just a few months before. After five years at Groote Schuur, Dr. Chesler became Chief of Cardiology and Professor Medicine at the University of Natal. In 1977 Dr Chesler emigrated with his family to the United States and returned to Minneapolis, where he served for 22 years as Chief of the Cardiovascular Division of the Veterans Administration Medical Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota and Professor of Medicine at the University of Minnesota. Over the course of his career, Dr. Chesler co-authored over 80 articles in peer-reviewed journals, published Clinical Cardiology in the Elderly, and edited the fourth and fifth editions of Clinical Cardiology, originally published by his friend and mentor Dr. Velva Schrire, founder of the Cardiac Clinic of Groote Schuur Hospital and the University of Cape Town.

Dr. Chesler held a particular fondness for the veterans he served at the VA, to whom he dedicated Clinical Cardiology in the Elderly with the quote:" To the veterans we serve, who served us so well." He could often be found at the bedside of the veterans under his care in the cardiac clinic, joking with them and enjoying their memories of wartime experiences from World War II though Vietnam. Of his time at the VA, his longtime friend and colleague Dr. Edward Weir said: "His knowledge and experience were greatly appreciated at the VA. Through all those he taught, his scientific lineage continues, and will continue as long as his "cardiological" children and grandchildren practice medicine. One innovation that he made, which continues to be extremely valuable, was to hire a number of Nurse Specialists—super-RNs who are very experienced and provide excellent care to the patients and teaching to the medical students. By being a superbly competent "chief", he allowed the rest of us to avoid much administration and to get on with our research and teaching."

Dr Chesler retired from full time practice in 2004 when he moved to San Antonio, Texas to be closer to his grandchildren, alternately serving as chauffeur, consigliere, and co-conspirator. After moving to San Antonio, Dr Chesler regularly attended adult learning classes on literature, read voraciously, and cultivated interests in outdoor grilling and gardening. He travelled extensively to gardens all over the world with his wife of blessed Memory Dr. Rosalind T. Chesler.

Elliot is survived by his son, Alan Chesler and his wife Laura Ehrenberg Chesler; and grandsons, Marton Simon Chesler and Isaac Bernard Chesler of San Antonio; his son, Louis Chesler M.D., Ph.D. and his wife Heather; and granddaughters, Sophie Rose Chesler and Hannah Mae Chesler of London, England and relatives in South Africa, Australia, Israel, Norway, the United States and Canada.

In Lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the San Antonio Botannical Gardens or the Jewish National Fund.

Dr. Chesler was buried at the Congregation Rodfei Sholom Cemetery on June 21, 2019.

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Suggested Memorial Donations

  • San Antonio Botannical Gardens or the Jewish National Fund.

Arrangements By

Porter Loring Mortuary

1101 McCullough Avenue
San Antonio, TX 78212
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