Taken too soon, gary was an inspiration to all who knew him.
  • Born on August 18, 1953 .
  • Passed away on October 17, 2018 .

Dr. Gary Greenberg was a ferocious advocate for healthcare for all, and especially for the underserved. Gary exemplified all that is good in this world. He cared deeply for each and every one of his patients, students, colleagues and staff. He is already sorely missed and we will remember him forever.

Please share a story about Gary in the Tribute section for family, friends and colleagues to read.  In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to Gary's favorite healthcare access project - Urban Ministries of Wake County https://urbanmin.org/donate/ , or to Democracy NC https://democracync.org/ or to a charity of your choice.

Thank you.

Posted by Aurora Connelly on 17th December 2018
I am in total disbelief that Dr. Greenberg is no longer with us/ I am really in tears. I am a patient at Urban Ministries where I met him. He was the best, always making me aware of my health. He was a caring Doctor who cared for his patients. I loved that about him. I remember the phone call, he gave me one time about me having Graves Disease I was a little scared but, "He said you are going to be just fine". He was a angel there and he will always be.
Posted by Morticia C on 31st October 2018
Rest in peace.
Posted by Stan Hazan on 30th October 2018
By Gary's good friend Dr. Marc Shepard I met Gary when we both started medical school at Northwestern in Chicago in 1974, 44 years ago. The diversity committee at Northwestern must have taken a day off when they accepted 2 Jewish guys from suburban Detroit. Our parents found out that we were both going to the same medical school, and wanted us to meet each other, but we refused to do anything to make our parents happy (grandchildren take note of the previous sentence). We were introduced to each other on our dormitory floor, and realized we were meeting the person we didn’t want to meet, and we became immediate close friends. After our 2nd year, we decided to room together. We needed furniture and needed a sofa. It was Gary’s idea to buy an old used sofa. We paid 25$ to carry it out of someone’s basement (we should have been paid to carry it out) The sofa was so disgusting we had to fumigate it with cans of Lysol. Gary taught himself how to reupholster a sofa, and told me what to do in his parents Huntington Woods house garage, much to his mother’s dismay. As a renaissance man,Gary was interested in many things, one of which was weaving. He then taught himself how to build a loom and would weave during downtime in medical school. We spent many hours discussing what kind of doctor we wanted to be. We both chose internal medicine for our careers We both hated the way the surgeons treated us, and felt at home with the banter and egalitarian nature of internists, and the intellectual challenge of trying to understand everyone’s problems. After medical school, we ended up in different cities. We spoke by phone regularly. Gary always kept me abreast of the latest technology, and the latest findings in the world of medicine. We also attended the annual American College of physician annual meetings in various US cities every year. While many colleagues would attend a few clases, Gary and I started at 7 am and finished at 5:30 every day. Gary was the smartest person I knew. He was quicker to understand concepts than anyone.He usually had to explain to the rest of us that which he has already processed. He was a brilliant physician and a unique individual. How many men do you know who would knit during high school football games to while away the time during the game, to get to halftime to see his son in the marching band, then leave. Family was most important to Gary. He was a great husband, father, grandfather, brother and uncle. He was a great doctor and humanitarian. But to me, he was a great friend that I will sorely miss. Dr. Marc Shepard
Posted by Maria Munoz on 26th October 2018
Dr. Greenberg gave high quality care to his patients at the Open Door Clinic. I could see a patient in consultation and have proper records and labs done, and if I sent the patient back to the Open Door Clinic, I knew they would be well cared for. That does not happen at every free clinic. We will miss him at Health Care for All, but by his leadership and consistent work, he helped grow the organization so that the work will continue.
Posted by Donna Kaye on 25th October 2018
I did not know Gary personally, though I saw him for many years as a member of Judea Reform. My heart aches for the heartache he endured as someone who loved and lost so many people close to him and finally found love and happiness with his wife. I also lost my beloved after a only being married a short while. It is so unfair, especially for such a special, mensch of a person like Gary. My deepest condolences. Donna Kaye
Posted by Cindy Jones on 25th October 2018
As a staff member of the NC Association of Free and Charitable Clinics I met Dr. Greenberg through Urban Ministries Open Door Clinic. Dr. Greenberg had a passion for this work and the Free and Charitable Clinic sector has lost a CHAMPION. 10 Qualities of a Champion 1. A champion gives his all no matter what the score. It's called EXCELLENCE. 2. A champion sees every challenge as an opportunity. It's called OVERCOMING ADVERSITY. 3. A champion is one who makes all those around him better. It's called LEADERSHIP. 4. A champion dedicates himself to prepare for success. It's called DISCIPLINE. 5. A champion may fail, but he never quits. It's called COMMITMENT. 6. A champion puts the success of others above individual achievement. It's called TEAMWORK. 7. A champion lives by a higher standard and stands firm when others around him fall. It's called CONVICTION. 8. A champion is one who lays down his own desires for the benefit of others. It's called SACRIFICE. 9. A champion gets up one more time than he's been knocked down. It's called PERSEVERENCE. 10. A champion knows his talents and success are God-given, not self-developed or endowed by others. It's called FAITH.
Posted by Peter Kussin on 25th October 2018
We lack all knowledge of this parting. Death does not deal with us. We have no reason to show death admiration, love or hate; his mask of feigned tragic lament gives us a false impression. The world's stage is still filled with roles which we play. While we worry that our performances may not please, death also performs, although to no applause. But as you left us, there broke upon this stage a glimpse of reality, shown through the slight opening through which you dissapeared: green, evergreen, bathed in sunlight, actual woods. We keep on playiing, still anxious, our difficult roles declaiming, accompanied by matching gestures as required. But your presence so suddenly removed from our midst and from our play, at times overcomes us like a sense of that other reality: yours, that we are so overwhelmed and play our actual lives instead of the performance, forgetting altogehter the applause. Translated by Albert Ernest Flemming Rainer Maria Rilke
Posted by Stan Hazan on 23rd October 2018
Gary was a lover. He loved reading - science fiction, medical journals, research papers, politics, humor, fiction. He loved learning and he loved knowing – a lot. And he loved using his knowledge. He loved being a doctor. He loved helping people. He loved being charitable, very charitable. He loved his friends with whom he stayed close for decades. He loved his wife Marcia, and together they built an incredible family. He loved his sons Sam and Andy, and reading to them. Other kids went to Disney World. Gary took his to factory tours and museums. He loved that they were both enrolled at the NC School of Science and Math. He was so proud of them. He adored his dogs and took such excellent care of them. He had a dog for years who was blind, and the love and compassion he showed him was endless. I was in awe. Mostly, Gary loved his work, his public service, his charitable causes, his clinic, his teaching, his patients and his colleagues. He volunteered his time and money to causes that helped people. For him, it was personal. He was all in. Gary loved tennis, and running, and biking, and running with his dogs. Boy did he love dogs. His and everybody else’s. He didn’t love team sports for some reason and never got into the rah rah mentality. Life wasn’t a spectator sport for Gary. That’s just who he was. And despite Gary’s dad’s love of golf, Gary never took it on. Ron would have loved to golf w him, but Gary couldn’t see the practical utility of spending 6 hours riding in a cart when there was so much to learn, teach and do. But he loved Ron. And from Ron he learned the importance of civic duty, community service, charity, honesty and respect for the rule of law. And he loved his mom Tenny. He once thought that the social graces she spent her time on were not good uses of her time, but with time he really came to appreciate the family and friend value of her cooking, her entertaining, her socializing, and the richness of friends that follows. He grew to want more of that in his life. He so loved his sister Jill, and he admired the way she tended to her boys, husband Bob included. He loved her intelligence, devotion and her attentiveness to their needs, and advocacy and her public service. And he loved his baby sister Julie, with whom he spoke regularly after Marcia passed away, as she became an emotional support for Gary, and they supported each other in the care of Tenny in her later years. He loved his new daughters, Lauren and Malika, so much, and the beautiful little grandsons they gave him. They were his nuclear family and he so looked forward to building a life around them. He so loved his North Carolina family friends, the Boyarskys – Bill, BJ and Sam. BJ and Bill were incredibly helpful and supportive and present with Marcia during her illnesses and after she passed, they adopted Gary. The bond with the Boyarskys was like nothing I’ve ever witnessed before. If you ever meet them, you’ll know what I mean. But it wasn’t complete. It wasn’t enough. Gary wanted a mate, and someone to love, and this past June he married Erica Rothman from NC who offered him love and companionship with which to enjoy his retirement years. But it wasn’t to be, as Gary fell ill on their honeymoon in Scotland. A rare form of cancer ravaged his body, and with it, ravaged our hearts. When news of his illness spread, the outpouring of love, support, gratitude, accolades, and recognition was overwhelming. There was so much about Gary I didn’t know that only reinforced my view of Gary as a very humble man – one who did what he did because it was the right thing to do. He loved his patients. He loved his fight for healthcare for all. He loved serving the underserved. He was a pillar of several communities and he worked hard to ensure they would continue to thrive after he moved on. Gary was my hero too. He was so much of what I wanted to be. What I thought was important. I looked up to him in every way. A decent man who I enjoyed being pals with. Gary was a lover of all things good. Taken too soon, the world is a much better place for having had Gary in it. We will all miss him.
Posted by Stan Hazan on 23rd October 2018
Gary served on a Council at my employer that oversees consensus national standards for products that can impact public health. Many of today's Council members knew Gary and really enjoyed his critical scientific thinking, logic, knowledge and yes, humor. The following are some of the responses I received to yesterday's email letting them know Gary passed away. Subject: Dr. Gary Greenberg It is with great sadness that I inform you that Dr. Gary Greenberg of Durham NC passed away last week of cancer/leukemia. He was 65. He was my wife’s brother. He is sorely missed. Many of you will remember Gary from his years of service on the CPHC. In addition to being a highly qualified internist, epidemiologist, and a specialist in Occupational Medicine, he was a tireless fighter to provide healthcare access to the poor, the indigent and the undocumented. He taught himself medical Spanish to better serve Hispanic patients. After a 20 plus year career at Duke University, Gary moved on to be the Medical Director of the Open Door (Free) Clinic for over 10 years, from which he retired this year. The Raleigh TV station ran this story: https://www.wral.com/news/local/video/17927916/ If you’d like to share a memory of Gary, please visit https://www.forevermissed.com/gary-greenberg/#about Thanks Stan ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- I am very sorry to hear that Stan. The TV story shows his great impact on the community and naming the center after him seems very appropriate. My condolences, E ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Dear Stan, I'm so sorry to hear of Gary's passing. Please extend my deepest sympathy to your wife and family. With warmest regards, B ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ My condolences to you and your family, Stan. Such a big loss. In addition to how bright and committed he was, I will remember Gary for being quick with a smile and a kind word. K ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Dear Stan: You have my sincere condolences as well as from Duncan E who acknowledges all Gary’s wonderful contributions to NSF. Kind Regards R ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Stan, Please accept my sincere condolences. Regards, F ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Terrible news Stan. We sat together over the years at the CPHC. Watched the video clip of his work at the clinic. Impressive on so many levels. Peace be with you and yours. M ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Dear Stan, My deepest sympathies to you personally on your loss. I do remember Gary, as I had the pleasure of sitting next to him at one of our CPH Meetings. I remember thinking this fellow has so much knowledge and such a great sense of humor. He was young to have passed. Sincerely, A -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Stan, My heart is breaking for you and your family. An incredible tribute for a wonderful man. I will be keeping all of you in my thoughts and prayers. J -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Stan, I am so sorry. Prayers will continue. B -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Stan, Sad news. Very sorry to hear. My condolences to you and your Family. S ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Stan, I’m very sorry to hear of Gary’s death. Please extend my sincere condolences to your wife and the entire family. Gary was a great man and professional. He will be missed. Regards, D ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Stan, The photos and memories of Gary on forevermissed.com are so touching. My deepest sympathy to you and your family. M -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- I was deeply saddened to have this news. He was one of a very rare breed and those of us who knew him and had the opportunity to work with him will understand what a loss his passing represents. D -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Hi Stan, My deepest sympathies to you and your family. May the memories you have of Gary z”l provide you some comfort during this difficult time. In sympathy, R ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Hi Stan, I’m really sorry to hear about Gary. I’m glad I got the chance to know him and I appreciated his intelligent and humorous contributions to the Council. K
Posted by Jonathan Kotch on 21st October 2018
Thousands of North Carolinians will have to wait a little longer for access to quality, affordable health care now that Gary is gone. An immediate loss, of course, is to the patients he cared for at the Open Door Free Clinic, but for me the greater loss is to the cause of Medicaid Expansion and Medicare for All. Gary applied his considerable quantitative skills to the work of advocating for universal access to health care in North Carolina, specifically to the cause of Medicaid Expansion. His poster, which is on display in the photo of him demonstrating on the balcony of the NC General Assembly – Care, Lives, Jobs, $$$$ – uses numbers that he adapted for NC from many sources, state and national. His colleagues in Health Care for All NC and in the Moral Monday Movement used his data to advance the cause. I am indebted to Gary for convincing me that one could advocate for Medicaid Expansion while remaining true to the mantra of single payer health care. After all, what could be wrong with enrolling another 300,000 low income North Carolinians in Medicaid? I miss his voice, his wit, his gentle chidings when I didn’t meet the high expectations he set for himself. He can be emulated, but not replaced.
Posted by Alex Cho on 21st October 2018
Gary was someone I looked up to, from whom I learned what kind of healthcare provider I wanted to be - out in the public square, using our privileged role to work to bend the arc of the universe towards justice, always. A real hometown hero! I remember touring the Open Door Clinic w Gary, and the pride and real joy that he had in the mission, the place, and the people - introducing all the good folks working there. It was a wonderful memory, and one that I shall treasure, always!
Posted by Marian Place on 19th October 2018
May Gary rest in peace and may the world rest easier because he was in it. I knew Gary barely at all, only through Erica. But the first time we met happened to also be the first time that he and Erica met. I was delivering Clover to Erica at the cafe where Gary and she were having an introductory coffee. It struck me than that Gary came out the door of the cafe as eager to meet Clover as Erica was to see her. That he was an animal lover and a very kind man was clear. Only later did I learn that that kindness was paired with a fierce determination to make this world a better place, especially for those who are struggling. I hope that his kindness and commitment will be passed on and on...
Posted by Judith Ferster on 19th October 2018
Is the picture of Gary with the sign for Medicaid expansion at the legislature building? I think I recognize the balcony, and it reminds me of running into Gary last summer demonstrating against the latest Republican shenanigans on judicial elections. We had a great time talking and joking waiting to get into the gallery. Not being able to look forward to more of that, at lobby day or ever, is one of the heartbreaks of his death now.
Posted by Ken Updegrave on 18th October 2018
I first met Dr. Greenberg, or Dr. G as he became affectionately known, while he was still employed at Duke Medical Center and we shared a volunteer evening at Urban Ministries. He would typically come into the clinic with one or two residents in tow and would use the evening as a graduate teaching exercise. Over the years I came to know him not only as a colleague but also as a valued friend. I often said if he decided to go into private practice I wanted to be his first patient, His clinical skills were legendary but his compassion for his patients exceeded them. He was a gifted mentor to the many NCSU students determined to attend medical school and allowed them to shadow him as he saw our patients and he wrote dozens of elegant letters of recommendation for them. When he became Medical Director for The Open Door he strove to bring greater coordination to the way we provided care, partnering with Duke Raleigh to handle our daily lab work, with Wake Med to allow us to treat many of the patients who showed up at the ER, with various community specialists to provide the care which was beyond our scope as an outpatient clinic. I remember him sitting in his office after finishing his clinic day, munching on his ever-present animal crackers, calling patients with lab results, checking of their anticoagulation readings and whatever else needed doing. I remember our conversations about social issues and what needed to be done to help make this county, this city, and this county work for all of its citizens. I remember his passion for those who had been dealt a bad hand and how he frequently went out of his way to advocate for them. And I remember his annual April 1st emails, often composed of complex medical issues complete with documentation from noted medical journals and prominent newspapers. This would be followed late in the day with another message letting us in on the joke. I consider myself fortunate to have volunteered with him, worked beside him and called him a friend because I believe he embodied the best that we have to offer our fellow man. In his own not-always quiet way, he was one of the finest men I've ever known and I'm saddened by knowing we have only his memory. May he rest in peace.

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