Dr. Orland "Eli" Eliason, a former Atherton and Menlo Park resident and Sequoia Hospital urologist until his 2006 retirement, died on May 24, shortly after his 82nd birthday. A memorial celebration of his life is set for Thursday, June 16, in Menlo Park.
Dr. Eliason died after a four-year battle with a progressive and rare form of Parkinson's disease, according to his family, who were at his side at his passing.
Born in Havre, Montana, on May 12, 1934, Dr. Eliason graduated from Hamline University in Minnesota before attending medical school at the University of Minnesota. Following requisite medical work in Texas, Minnesota and Ohio, he moved in 1966 to the Peninsula to begin his practice in urology, joining the staff at Sequoia Hospital and Stanford University.
His local medical career was interrupted when he was drafted into the Army in 1968. He served two years, first in Fort Polk, Louisiana, and then in Vietnam, where he worked in the Army hospital in Qui Nhon, retiring as a lieutenant colonel.
After returning from Vietnam, he resumed his urology practice and his affiliation with Sequoia Hospital, where he served as chief of surgery for two years. He also worked at San Mateo County's hospital, now San Mateo Medical Center, in its urology clinic one day each week for 12 years.
"Eli spent most of his free time serving the community, not only as a caring and compassionate physician, devoted to his patients, but also in community service," said his wife of 43 years, Charmaine. He was active in the Kiwanis Club of Redwood City for 42 years, staffed a crew of volunteers to serve meals in a church kitchen for Urban Ministries of Palo Alto for 15 years, and served on committees with the California Medical Society, the American Medical Association, and the American Urological Association, she said.
The Eliasons lived in Menlo Park for five years, then in Atherton for 21 years. In 1999, when their children were out on their own, they moved to Redwood City, Ms. Eliason said.
Dr. Eliason enjoyed golf, skiing and tennis, and was a member of the Ladera Oaks Swim & Tennis Club since 1974, his wife said. The Eliasons also hiked and bicycled in national parks in the U.S., and traveled to many countries, she said.
Ms. Eliason said her husband was devoted to family and friends, and was kind to everyone. "Most of all, Eli was known for his gentle nature, his kindness, warmth and sensitivity," she said. "He was humble and gracious, with a twinkle of subtle wit and humor always present. ... To the very end, he dealt with this disease with grace and dignity, always concerned about others first, a true testament to his character."
In addition to his wife, Charmaine, Dr. Eliason is survived by a daughter, Kirsten of San Francisco; a son, Kyle, of Washington state; and a granddaughter.
The memorial celebration is set for 2 p.m. June 16 at Menlo Church, 950 Santa Cruz Ave. in Menlo Park. A reception is scheduled to follow.
The family requests that memorial donations be made in Dr. Eliason's name to the Brain Support Network: P.O. Box 7264, Menlo Park 94062; or brainsupportnetwork.org.