A Loving Tribute to
Gerald Nissenbaum, M.D.
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Memorial for Gerald Nissenbaum, M.D. and Presentation of Portrait
Jersey City Medical Center, June 20, 2003

Remarks by Dr.Eliot Nissenbaum at his father’s unveiling:

Much has already been said concerning my dear father and I don’t want to be redundant, so I would like to take this opportunity to elaborate on certain aspects that I feel must also be emphasized.

These mostly include his hobbies, talents and abilities. I’m sure I’ll never know anyone with such diversity in these areas who knows them well.  Unfortunately, I don’t think i can cover them all but will try my best here.

They include Medicine, Protozoology, small craft, boating, fishing, target shooting, constructing all sorts of things “from scratch”, auto mechanics, innovative ways of solving problems, the physics of all kinds of technical things, the intricacies of a canal systems (locks,etc), surfboard-lifesaving (a lost art), canoeing techniques (including advanced strokes not known by today’s canoeists) & Biblical archeology (prior to my parents trip to Israel in 1989, he knew the geography of Israel as well as most Israelis). He was one of the ten or so pioneers of endoscopy with the invention & marketing of the “Nissenbaum Diagnostotube”, a device which localized Gastrointestinal bleeding.

He was an extremely charitable person, who also gave so much of himself. Please visit my father’s website (www.geraldnissenbaum.com).  In the medical field, the A.M.A. found that he cared for more patients ,free of charge, than any other physician in the United States, since record keeping began. Can you imagine the scope of his charity ?

Along these lines, his honesty and integrity were also known by his colleagues.  They continually reelected him to the position of Secretary/Treasurer of the Medical/Dental staff of the Jersey City Medical Center, year after year, for decades.

He knew the intricacies of plumbing.  My uncle Sid recalled how my father drew elaborate diagrams on the wall of the swimming pool utility room, instructing how to set the valves at the camp where he ran the swimming program.  He did most of the plumbing work around the house. Dad had a vast collection of tools and he knew the fundamentals of all of them. These favorite phrases come to mind:

1) use the right tool for the job

2) don’t do something by hand that a tool can do

3) generally, before attempting to fix something, look at what the designers of the object was trying to accomplish with it, then figure how to correct the malfunction.

He was an avid photographer and knew a lot about antique and modern cars. Dad was very knowledgeable concerning microscopes ( he prized the antique one he used to discover “Nissenbaum’s Fixative”) and understood their binocular-physical system.

He was an expert Meteorologist and I credit him for introducing me to this skill, which helped me to win first prize in the sixth & seventh grade Hudson County Science fair, on this topic.  He loved C.B. radios and we would talk on them for as long a distance as we could (I, in Jersey City and he on his way to the lake house, until the signal faded, after Parsippany).  I remember how he showed me an article in popular science magazine, in the 1970’s, explaining hew cellular telephones would someday become commonplace.

He did not like to sit idle. Dad always had to be doing something or reading to stimulate his mind, or teaching.

At Greenspans ( a kosher restaurant we frequented in the 1060’s & 1970’s), while waiting for the food to be served, he would try to show me, on a napkin, how intricate chemical reactions took place.

He was called ‘bugs” at camp deal (as a child), for his love of insects and could identify so many of them.  He knew a lot about plants, trees and animals. Dad knew about air-conditioners, heating and electrical systems, various pumps and other machines.

Dad possessed a  “sixth sense” in medical diagnoses, as well. He was a most humble man, always denying the compliments so often paid to him.  My father was an incredible person.

His passing was most untimely as he had so much more to offer to his family and to the world.


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