Two Years

Shared by Susan Scheidt on 13th July 2013

Yes, today is the two –year marker of the loss of our dear Kevin.

One of Kevin’s favorite books was “The Four Agreements” by Don Miguel Ruiz, and he lived by those four agreements: 1) Be impeccable with your word 2) Don’t take anything personally 3) Don’t make assumptions and 4) Always do your best.

He fought hard for marriage equality and would have been so heartened by the recent Supreme Court decisions.

Many of you contributed to the Japanese maple tree that we planted at San Francisco General Hospital in Kevin’s honor in the Comfort Garden in front of building 90 (immediately in front of the ramp to the right front side of the door) and to the bench in front of it. If you haven’t been by there for awhile, I urge to stop and take a look at the growth and strength of the tree in “Kevin’s Corner.” It is a living symbol of the life he shared with so many of us, and continues to be a source of inspiration and hope.

Oh Happy Day!

Shared by Susan Scheidt on 25th June 2013

Dear Kevin,

You worked so hard to have Prop 8 overturned....today is a day to celebrate progress, to celebrate you!!

There is still a long way to go...but today I rejoice with you and your spirit with this move toward justice!

Still loving and missing you,
Susan      

Shared by Debbie Hobbs on 15th August 2012

Kevin is one of those souls who will be forever remembered. I met him when he briefly worked as a psych tech! at Kekela at the Queen's Medical Center in Honolulu. Even then, he left his indelible mark, which I have recalled many times. His gift of story telling, his ability to bring light to a somber situation, and yet, his thoughtful demeanor belied a brilliant yet humble human being. I am thankful I was able to see where his life had led him.  Condolences to his family and friends, as all will miss Kevin.

Kevin and Aki in Geneva

Shared by Susan Scheidt on 6th May 2012

Kevin emailed me this photo the day they took it in Geneva.  It is one of my favorites.  He comes to me in my dreams and we laugh and laugh...

Shared by Laurine Marrocco on 21st April 2012

There was a wonderful article in "New Diagnosis" a publication published by the Physicians Organizaing Committee, Winter 2012.  I'll try to find a way to attach it somewhere on this website.  I sent it to my family and friends who either knew Kevin or supported me (and still do) through my unending grief over his tragic loss.  I want to post two of the many responses I rec'd from friends who read it:

Hi Laurie -   That was a wonderful article about your beloved Kevin.  He was certainly a good man who did so much during his short life time.  People continue to love and praise his life's work.  It's one thing to be able to treat a tangible thing like the body; its another thing to be able to treat the mind.  I'm sure thousands of individuals owe their lives to him.   He won't have any problems entering the Lord' kingdom.  I'm sure our Lord took one look at him and said, "Welcome, good and faithful servant."   Bless him and your family who continues to love him in spirit.   xo  Marilyn

Dear Laurie: I think it is so obvious that some human beings – a few – come into this world with special gifts to give the human race. Kevin was obviously such a person. His extraordinary energy and the positive impact he had on so many, not to mention the multiple missions he undertook globally AND his beautiful family life, all testify to his unique and transcendent contribution. The mystery is why his life and work had to end when and as they did. We can only trust that the same divine wisdom that underlay his entire life also guided Kevin at the end, and that there is indeed a purpose for all that happens, even when we can’t understand it.  Love, Jim


Marilyn and Jim are delightfully wise aren't they?!?!


Just sayin'  
  

A Guiding Light for Many

Shared by Jeff Maehara on 5th February 2012

Circa 1985, as my High School biology teacher at St. Louis High School in Honolulu, Kevin shared his favorite poem with me: 

I beg you, to have patience with everything unresolved in your heart and to try to love the questions themselves as if they were locked rooms or books written in a very foreign language. Don't search for the answers, which could not be given to you now, because you would not be able to live them. And the point is to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer.   -Rainer Maria Rilke, 1903; in Letters to a Young Poet

I haven't seen him in 15 or so years.  Still, if someone were to ask me who was the single greatest influence on the man I am today, it would be Kevin.  Unbeknownst to him, his spirit made the foundation for me to become a man, a doctor, a husband, and a father. 

Kev, there are so many more like me who will never forget you.  We still talk of you in sadness and in joy.  If my life can touch but 1/2 of those you have, will you please meet me at the gates of Heaven for one of those great hugs!  Godspeed!

To my high school teacher

Shared by Paul Choudhury on 4th January 2012

Kevin,

Thank you for your patience and enthusiasm as my grade 12 physics teacher in 1982-83 at Notre Dame International School in Rome, Italy. You had a way of explaining mechanics and the laws of motion that managed to stick in my teenaged brain. You got me started in programming on that old (then new) Olivetti computer with the big 8 inch floppies and 16k of memory. You obviously remained a great teacher as your career and family blossomed - this photo is how I remember you.

how to contribute to the video remembrance project

Shared by Amin Azzam on 4th December 2011

Dear Friends,

It’s been 4 months since Kevin Mack was taken from us and although time moves slowly when we try to use it as an aid in healing, the time has otherwise flown by.  I thought I’d be better prepared to embark on this endeavor to capture “Kevin’s essence” in video but I’m thinking preparation may never come so I’ll deem it overrated and just jump in with both feet as if I know what I’m doing.  So here goes.

As you may already know, my objective is to capture Kevin’s “essence” through you so his children (Chiaki and Nobuaki) will know their Daddy.  We are all fortunate to have known Kevin and experience his zany brilliant loving spirit. Since I couldn’t possibly describe him and do him justice when talking to his children, Chiaki (7) and Nobuaki (4) - I need your help.

If you are getting this email, you have either contact me or I’ve found some connection that you’ve had with Kevin to include you.  I’m sure I have missed many key people, so please forward this email to those who may want to contribute. 

If you would like to be a part, let’s figure out when to connect.  I live in San Francisco (South Beach area) and right now I’ve deemed Tuesday night (6:30pm – 9pm) as my “Kevin night”, but if that doesn’t work, I’m flexible.  Just email me some available dates and I’ll confirm.  I plan to work on this for quite a few months – so if you can’t make it soon (the holidays are coming up) or you’re not ready – no worries.  Just let me know or we can book something several months out.

If you are out of town – no worries there either. There is no deadline and I’m sure you’ll want to visit San Francisco in the future (this is truly a great city), so just be sure to connect with me the next time you’re here.  I also travel a lot, so if you know you want to contribute, shoot me a note and your city – who knows, I just might be in your neck of the woods sometime soon.

I look forward to connecting with you soon.

With love and gratitude,

Natalie

nataliebybee@yahoo.com. 

A reflection from Aunt Laurie

Shared by Amin Azzam on 27th July 2011

I remember him the day he was born and recall how he peed all over my new dress as I was leaning over to kiss him as a newborn.  He did that more than once in fact.  Kevin was our first grandson/nephew and the pride n' joy of the family. 

how Kevin Mack helped me with my Mac

Shared by Lisa Dobberteen on 24th July 2011

dear Naoki, Aki & Nobu,

Your husband and dad, as you know, was an extraordinary person, who touched the lives of everyone he met. After an interaction with Kevin, you were fast friends.

I am a pediatrician at Cambridge Hospital, and I met Kevin years before the San Francisco chapter of your lives began. my first computer was a MAC, and the hospital IT staff didn't support MACs, period. It was widely known that Kevin Mack was the person to go to for help. He generously came over to my house one Friday night (sorry, Naoki!) and patiently talked me thru computer set up and hospital email connections. I am a savvy and more confident computer user thanks to his help all those years ago. ("You won't crash anything, I promise!")

I offered him something to eat when we finished, and he sat and devoured my homemade cookies. Noticing my children's artwork all over the kitchen, he picked my pediatrician /mom brain about children, adoption, 2 dad families--should they have a boy, should they have a girl, or both?

I've been so pleased to hear news of your growing family over the years, and I'm heartbroken about your loss. Know that Kevin will be with you, in your hearts as you continue on without him.

sending all my prayers, blessings, sympathy & love,

Lisa Dobberteen MD

 

 

Baby Nitta-Mack Announcement

Shared by Derek Ngin on 24th July 2011

Dearest JMP Family:

Naoki and I got home a little while ago, and wanted to let you know about the package that followed us home from the hospital.

Chiaki Natalie Nitta-Mack, otherwise known to us as Aki, was born
early in the morning, Saturday December 20 at 2:24 a.m. Weighing in at 8 lbs. 8oz. (3.85 kg) and measuring 20.4 inches (51.8 cm)

We've only seen her open her eyes twice.  She closed them right away.  (Probably in shock that Naoki and were looking back so cluelessly).  Let us hope that she has NO idea that we have NO idea what we're doing.

Your love, support and confidence in us as parents-to-be these past months is our soul food this week.

We are eternally grateful to Lavaun and Natalie for helping to make this dream
a reality.

Happy Holidays dear friends...
 -Kevin, Naoki, Aki, & Pancetta

From: Joanna Mandell




Nobu's Birth and My Appreciation

Shared by Derek Ngin on 24th July 2011

Dear JMP Colleagues (and Friends),

Please forgive my inability to send a more personal email to each of you
who has taken the time to write or call... and to many who have been
holding my family in their good thoughts.  It has meant so much.

As most of you know, my partner Naoki and I have been anticipating the
arrival of our son "Nobu", but we thought it would be a little closer to
his due date of November 7.  As it turned out, he was delivered by
emergency c-section late on Thursday at a hospital in Napa.  He is well
--- all whopping 3 pounds of him. He remains in the ICU on ventilation,
but strong.  We are grateful.

The next few days will be important ones for him.  We are told that he
will need to be in the ICU for 4-5 weeks.  Naoki and I have begun to think
about how to construct our lives to be here until he is stable enough to
transfer.  That too will become clearer in the coming days, and I'll be
able to construct a work schedule around his care.

We at the JMP always are supportive of one another and I have found this
to be no exception.  Everyone has offered their support and we've made it
this far by accepting much of it.   I hope to see you all very soon.

with loving gratitude,  -k

From: Joanna Mandell

Pat Patterson Humanism in Medicine Award

Shared by Derek Ngin on 24th July 2011

I’m here to present the Pat Patterson award for Humanism in Medicine. This very special award is given in recognition of a physician-educator who exemplifies the qualities of a caring and compassionate mentor in the teaching and advising of medical students. First, I wanted to say a few words about Pat – because it’s truly an honor to present an award that was created in his memory. Pat was the anatomy teacher at the JMP for 8 years before his death in 2003. That was shortly before this class entered the program. But Pat was my anatomy teacher because I took some time off during these first three years. Anatomy at the JMP is in many ways our initiation into the world and culture of medicine – and Pat taught it so that we came away with not only a thorough knowledge of the amazing minutiae of the human body, but also with a deep sense of what it means to be not only doctors but humans who exist in these sometimes unclear spaces between life and death.

 
That kind of mentorship is rare – and Kevin Mack is truly one of those rare, one-of-a-kind mentors who has taken care of us as we’ve negotiated these first few years of the program. Kevin was the director of the curriculum for the last 5 years at the JMP – perhaps not quite as exciting as his past gig as a Catholic monk, nor his other current job in psychiatric emergency services at SF General – but he does it like it’s the best job in the world. I began at the JMP during the first year of the new curriculum, and while many people were responsible for its planning, Kevin was the pioneer. His job was to get us and it to hit the ground running – and in keeping with the true spirit of the JMP, to make it always a process in which students were completely equal partners in our learning – even when we weren’t completely convinced that we needed or wanted to be involved in every last detail.
But I don’t want to sound overly serious, because Kevin is this totally bubbling-over-the-top-infectious-crazy-energy, who always just makes me want to smile or laugh and hug him every time I see him. I think back to the end of my first year, when he hosted a celebration for us at his home, showered us with food and gifts and then at the end of the night and maybe after a few drinks, sat down at the piano and proceeded to pound out – I don’t remember –was it Wind Beneath my Wings, or maybe Candle in the Wind? – with Ronnie singing along and his partner Naoki turning pages – and I left in awe at this sense of feeling like I wasn’t quite sure if we had landed in medical school or summer camp. Kevin made us play with legos, helped us weave a quilt, taught us to see the forest around the trees, and gave us plaques with imprinted poetry to express how much we mean to him. And he also has this dog that runs in these endless circles around 570 U-Hall and makes me instantly forget anything bad the moment I see him.
 
But thankfully, Kevin’s mentorship doesn’t stop today; Kevin is actually the appointed advisory college mentor for all of the JMP students over at UCSF – so it’s really comforting to know that he’ll be the one there for us when we need a little extra help in the overwhelming sea of all that craziness across the bay.
 
We love you, Kevin.
 
Joanna Mandell, JMP classes of 2005 and 2007

The thoughtfulness of the gesture and the craftiness of its execution were pure Kevin.

Shared by Derek Ngin on 24th July 2011

Kevin had been in my residency training program a few years ahead of me at Harvard, but I did not know him well.  I had been hired as a psychiatrist for the Psycho-Social Medicine program at the San Francisco General and he was about to become my supervisor.  I had just moved across the country and was in a top floor apartment near the Castro. It also happened to be my Birthday. I opened the door that morning to find a beautiful, homemade cake on a covered glass pedestal.

I don't know how he got my address or my birth-date, much less how he got in the locked entry door downstairs, delivered the lovely gift, then slipped out without detection.

The thoughtfulness of the gesture and the craftiness of its execution were pure Kevin.

He could made things happen as few others can.

Rachel B. Vinkey M.D.

A Letter from Dr. Emily Lee

Shared by Derek Ngin on 24th July 2011

Dear Aki, Nobu and Naoki,

 
Though we have never met, and probably never will, your father, and husband, touched me, as a fellow psychiatrist colleague, as he did so many others, whether we be colleagues, students, patients in need, or simply people who were fortunate enough to come across your father ...
 
I just wanted to let you know that your father personally inspires me, and will continue to do so, in the following ways, among many:
 
"Kindness in words creates confidence. Kindness in thinking creates profoundness. Kindness in giving creates love." -Lao Tzu
 
Your father is a most generous, deep, sensitive, humble, curious, honest, and sincere soul, as you know, of course. His kind spirit lives on. Thank you for letting us in health care and education have this chance to get to know and to learn from him.
 
Take care, my heart goes out to you and the rest of your family, and best wishes in all that is coming up,
 
Emily Lee, M.D.
Department of Psychiatry, SFGH/UCSF"

The last time I saw Kevin

Shared by Rita Hamad on 23rd July 2011

I have so many memories of Kevin as a teacher, mentor, and friend from many years at the JMP and afterwards.  His lecture on the psychiatric interview still frames the way I do my own history-taking today.  Whenever he brought in Aki or Nobu to school with him, his normally exuberant energy would be tripled, and it would light up the whole department.  

The last time I saw Kevin was at a wedding a few weeks before he died.   After the dinner, I was tired and a little pouty from a busy week at the hospital, so I was about to go to bed without even dancing, but Kevin pulled me onto the dance floor with him.  I am a lousy dancer, but he twirled me around and had me laughing in seconds.  What fabulous footwork he is capable of!  I probably stepped on his toes a couple of times, but he was beaming with joy anyway at having made me smile.

The next morning, I woke up early to take a walk in the woods near the cabins.  I ran into Kevin, who must have been staying in the cabin nextdoor, and Aki.  The three of us strolled together, making our way to the main building to get breakfast.  We chatted as Aki ran ahead, and he was telling me how excited he was to work on his medical education project in Ethiopia, trying to find ways to get me involved.  At one point we ran across a statue in the middle of the forest, of one small person, nestled inside a bigger person, nestled inside a bigger person, etc.  He called for Aki to look at it with him.  "See this small person?  That's you!  And you are descended from me, and I from my father (your grandfather), and he from his father (your great-grandfather) etc.  OR!! That's you, and you are descended from Papa, and he from his father, and he from his father.  OR!!  That's you, and you are descended from your surrogate mother, and she from her mother and grandmother."  Watching him relate this tale of Aki's ancestors, I could only think of what an amazing daddy he must be.  Then they had a discussion about whether French or English words sounded prettier.  Papillon!

We continued our hike up the main building, where we sipped tea together.  Then I got to sit and play with Aki, while he trekked all the way back down the hill and up again -- what an amazing husband too! -- taking coffee to Naoki who was still asleep.  When he came back to fetch Aki, I said my goodbyes, and that's the last I saw of him.  In this life anyway...

Kevin, your teaching has forever changed the way I practice medicine, your mentoring has forever changed the way I view my career, and your parenting has forever changed the way I will someday be a mother.  I love you and miss you.

Shared by Katie Young on 22nd July 2011

I first met Kevin when I was a med student at the JMP, just after he was hired to redesign the curriculum. A fellow student and I were alone in the student lounge (do they still call it the “fun room”? I wonder) in the early evening, and in he bounded to introduce himself with that characteristic wide grin, self-deprecating humor and wildly earnest friendliness.  Needless to say, he had our attention.  And then he sealed the deal by offering a cookie, claiming he was too full to eat it and would we do him the great favor of taking it off his hands.  We were charmed and won over in very short order.  

My experience of him has been just as so many others have described in different venues in the last week.  In the ensuing four years of my training, he bestowed upon me an energy and attention that I could never have expected. Out of the blue, for example, he invited me, a pre-clinical student with no particular credentials, to accompany him to UC Irvine to tour their state-of-the-art standardized patient facilities and provide him with input.  And in my junior year, when I vacillated between pursuing psychiatry and internal medicine, he took me under his wing, created a multi-site fourth year elective with him, with me as the sole student, for the purpose of showing me the breadth of work in which a psychiatrist could engage.  He helped me clarify my goals, and when I ultimately decided on psychiatry, he took it upon himself to introduce and promote me shamelessly to faculty members in the department.  As was so aptly stated at his memorial service last week at Cole Hall, he took mentoring to a whole new level. To me and so many others, he gave of himself so fully, loved us so openly.

We had talked in recent years of more personal things such as family.  He expressed incredible enthusiasm for me to start my own family, and spoke of what his meant to him. In this August 2007 email to me, he wrote:

"When it comes to the parenting journey, the most I can say is that I have never ever known this kind of love or this kind of utter loss of self.  I didn't know that I could even have these feelings... and then came Aki and now Nobu.  I feel like I would gladly exchange the whole next 20 years of my life for what I've experienced in the last 3 years.  I know that sounds SO CHEEZY.  It's the truth though..."   

A lovelier soul I have never met.

Never too old for Karaoke

Shared by Meena Tahiliani on 20th July 2011

 Kevin and Naoki joined us in celebrating my husbands birthday in December of 2010.  Friends who also attended have shared that, during that evening, many who did not know Kevin well had a long, meaningful conversation with him that left a lasting impression.  In his usual way, he showed deep interest in those he met and asked great questions, making you feel you were the only one he cared about at that moment.  

His light, playful nature added to the fun that we shared that night. He initially declined the offer to sing Karaoke with us, claiming he was too old to partake and preferring to cheer Naoki and the rest of us on instead.  When I pushed further, refusing to accept the age excuse, he told me he was 52 and I thought he was joking. He was so youthful that it was hard to believe.  He was certainly the youngest 52 year old I've ever met.  Luckily, he changed his mind and shared in a song with my husband Gaurav and a few other friends.  We are so grateful that Kevin and Naoki shared in that celebration.  It is a night we will cherish.

Finally We Meet

Shared by Veasna Khay on 20th July 2011

On July 2nd, 2011, I finally met Uncle Kevin and his family, Uncle Naoki, Aki, and Nobu.  Uncle Kevin had been a good friend to my dad, having been classmates and housemates back in Hawaii during medical school.  My parents are always grateful for his love and kindness.  He visited us once before but I was a little too young to remember much about his short visit.  My dad always talked about him and told us many interesting stories. During this visit, I was able to get to know him and will always remember what a charismatic person he was.  When we entered his home in San Francisco, we were greeted by Uncle Kevin's giddy screams of excitement.  We had lunch together and he told us many stories about everything from going to Cambodia with my dad to getting chased across the Swiss border.  We also shared our personal lives with him, and within the hour I felt like I had known him all my life.  He, Aki, and Nobu later took us to Twin Peaks, having been a beautiful, clear afternoon in San Francisco.  I will cherish the time we spent together for the rest of my life.  I was very fortunate to have spent time with him a few weeks ago and will miss him with all my heart.  Within the few hours that I spent with him and his beautiful family, I gained four new, awesome friends that I will never forget.  Uncle Kevin was a unique man that I would hang out with any day of the week.  He taught me how to enjoy life, and he gave me a definition of a real friend.  I love him dearly and my sincerest thoughts go to his family.

Thank you for your love, Uncle Kevin.

So, what was that like?

Shared by Scott Bihr on 20th July 2011

Kevin had such presence and being around him was always a treat. He had a gift of asking a question that would linger and leave me thinking. I believe he felt there was much to be learned from those around him. His questions came from a place of infectious curiosity; they were never threatening and always thought provoking. Frequently, his questions were concerning a patient’s behaviors and how they might indicate a particular diagnosis. Sometimes, his questions were about my experiences. Those questions served to incite my introspection. He was particularly interested in why, as a young gay man, I’d chosen to join the Air Force. Over several months of Tuesdays and Thursdays in PES, Kevin and I held a fractured discussion around this issue. I was amazed at how Kevin kept the conversation alive and on track. He was always able to come back to where we’d left off the prior week. I sensed the culmination of our discussion when he asked me to bring a picture of myself in uniform. I initially resisted, but Kevin gently reminded me over the next couple of weeks that, “I’ve still not seen that picture.” When I relented, and brought my basic training graduation picture to work one Tuesday morning, he gathered our coworkers around, “Show and tell everybody, show and tell!” As the picture of me was passed from coworker to coworker, I slowly realized he’d subtly and compassionately allowed me to embrace, and even be proud of, a part of my experience I’d not previously valued.  

Flowers from Kevin

Shared by Deb Logan on 19th July 2011

 

On Thursday, July 14, 2011 I attended our annual memorial service for our patients at the methadone clinic. This year 26 patients died and as is our time honored ritual at OTOP, we have one flower for each patient who has passed on during the year. The tradition is to take a flower from a vase and lay it on the altar as we remember each patient individually by name. I got the flowers this year and counted carefully to make sure I had just the right number of flowers. (This year it was irises, red tulips and bright yellow calla lilies)
 
As the memorial service progressed we began announcing names. I nervously observed as we read the names that sometimes more than one person would go forward and choose a flower as the names were called. I fidgeted as I tried to think of a plan to get flowers back in the vase from the altar so that we would not run out. To my astonishment when all the names were read, there were still 5 flowers left in the vase. I smiled to myself. 
 
As I entered the clinic after the service,  I was informed of the tragic news about Kevin’s death. Until a few months ago, Kevin had been the medical director for the methadone clinic. Kevin was dearly loved by the staff at OTOP and I knew that the news of his death would be very difficult for the staff. I arranged for the chaplain to come to our staff meeting that day and spoke to the staff as they shared stories of his impact on their lives. Kevin had a way of making everyone feel important. He knew the stories of our lives and we knew his, especially his husband, his children and his students.  
 
As I began to feel the impact of his loss to me personally, I stepped into my office for a moment. When I entered my office (which happened to be Kevin’s when he was at OTOP), I saw the “eternal” flowers from the memorial service on my table. Someone had placed them in the office.  It was in that moment that I knew that Kevin's spirit and love was there and would always be there when I wanted it. You see he imprinted me with his joy. I will see him when I see a student, a child, a flower and all of you.

 

 

Bath-tubs, Bosoms and Bra's...

Shared by Susan Brekhus on 19th July 2011

I am hoping that my humorous story will follow Laurie Richer's entitled "Lady Parts!"  Yes, I had the absolute honor of meeting Kevin when I played a part in recruiting him to SFGH from Harvard.  The minute I spoke with him on the phone, I fell in love with him and we have been soul mates ever since! Throughout the years, I have been privileged to share in Kevin and Naoki's lives and their ultimate dream of having children.  They have entrusted me with their two cherubs, Aki and Nobu, since they were born and I am so proud to be looked upon as a "surrogate Grandma" to them - I love them as if they are my own.

I continually pester Kevin and Naoki to let me have the cherubs so that they can have peaceful and romantic weekend date nights!  More for my sake as I always love seeing the two little ones! So, there are many times that the cherubs come to my house.  We do art work together, and then it's dinner time, and ultimately a bubble bath for them both together.  When I sit by the bath tub, Aki shares so many of her "secrets" with me as well as what is going on in her life - problems and also questions that she has  - Nobu also in the bath playing with toys and oblivious to our girl talk!  (Although I wonder if he is taking it all in - if so, he will be wonderful in understanding women later in his life!).

Yes, so much talk about "lady parts" and more recently "bosoms" and bras!  I have shared the view of my splendid bosoms with Aki, much to her glee and laughter - and we have had such sympathetic talks about having to wear bras and how we can't wait to take them off after a few hours!  Aki has a little bra that she is allowed to wear on weekends!  We both commiserated together when she told me that after wearing it for a morning, she just had to take it off because it got so uncomfortable - oh, I told her, do I ever understand!!!!!!  And we rolled our eyes together!  The joys of being women! 

I have so many wonderful stories about the cherubs, but there is not enough room here to write it all!  I am so very, very lucky to have Kevin (because he will always be with me), Naoki, and the cherubs in my life! 

 

 

"Lady-parts"

Shared by Laurie Richer on 19th July 2011

I first met Kevin 9 years ago when we began working at the same outpatient clinic and it took about 30 minutes..OK 10, to realize that my world was going to be the better for meeting him.  We became fast and shameless friends sharing the intimacies of our lives and when his daughter turned one, he asked me the big question.  Would I bathe with her?  Kevin, concerned and sensitive to everyone's needs, worried that growing up in an all-male home, Aki needed to be exposed to "lady-parts."  He proceeded to pimp me out on a sporadic basis for this very purpose.

I relished bearing witness to his love for his partner, Naoki and the manifestation of his dream to create a family. First a daughter, then a son and in between the two came Pancetta the blab (beagle-lab).

I will miss him as a mentor, colleague, and confidant but mostly as a friend whom I loved dearly.   Laurie 

Tamalpais Hike

Shared by Noriko Anderson on 18th July 2011

I had the opportunity to meet Dr. Mack this year as a member of the Hughes Mack advisory college. He had a spark for life that was immediately apparent, when you met him. He was a great lecturer and engaged his listeners. I am still in shock but I am happy to have gotten to know him a little bit better on our hike. He was friendly and amusing. I'll always remember him wearing that headband as we trekked up the mountain. Kevin will be missed. 

Shared by Alinne & Leon Loucheur on 18th July 2011

From Leon:

Sometime around the Fall of 2005, my wife started an internship at UCSF.   When she returned from her orientation day, all she could talk about was this amazing doctor who’s car she had been assigned to ride in.  She was giddy in recounting the details of this fun, zany man who’s candor and humanity shined in the sometimes bleak landscape of academic propriety.  Dr. Mack.  The way she talked about him was so infectious. I wanted to meet him.

I got my chance a few months later at a UCSF event.  He knew I had written a children’s book that had been published, and he was very interested, although by this time my already 5 year old book had become mostly a disappointment to me, a big dream that had ended in a whimper.  I was still putting on a happy face about it though, and so when Kevin asked me to recite it to him, I lurched into my gazillionth recitation of the book, a task which had become a 5 minute exercise in drudgery.

But this time would be different.  A few lines in this strange momentum started to build.  Kevin was really into it.  He had his head bowed, leaned in toward me, listening so intently, this big grin on his face.  I remember it something like him bobbing his head and making these reactions that I was translating to mean “go man, go…you’re blowing my mind.”  There was something so infectious about that.  He was filling me up with this feeling, this thought that was telling me “believe in yourself.”  It got into me, and I started really getting into the telling, just going for it.  All of a sudden I was in the zone, and the material was so vibrant, pouring out of me with this incredible dynamism.  It was the best recitation I ever gave of that book, of at least a thousand readings, ever.  It sounds strange, but it was a transcendent moment, him proving to me that something I thought was dead was still alive.  It just needed to be believed in.

My wife has since become very close with Kevin, working with him at UCSF, often riding the shuttle with him to work in the morning.  I keep thinking, these last few days, that he possessed that incredibly rare gift of listening and getting excited, of caring in a way that validates all of us around him.  Kevin’s were the ears that listened, the one’s that made us feel human, and heard. 

Thank you Dr. Mack, Kevin, our treasured friend.  Your life made the rest of us feel more alive, and we will miss you very, very much.

a little secret fetish

Shared by Sherri Franklin on 18th July 2011

Besides being a great firend of mine, Kevin was my hair styling client--no I won't  tell you about his hair "issues"- not fair... but he told me a little secret one day.

He was always so funny this way, he told me he loved to see great legs and high heeled shoes on women!! So I always tried to remember this and wear my fanciest shoes for him! He always said a nice shaped ankle and hot shoes tickled his fancy.

I bet you didn't know this!

Kevin was so special and caring, my assistant Vicki's sister had cancer  and was living in China and he pulled me aside and told me to make sure she got back there and if she had any problems getting thre to call him. When hearing the news of his death, the two of us  broke down. I am still broken, He was one of the most vibrant people in my life, always funny, deep and caring-above and beyond.

Every time I wear a hot pair of heels I will think of Kevin Mack

 

The Willows pond incident

Shared by Lee Buenconsejo-Lum, MD on 17th July 2011

 From Peter Lee, MD:

"I remember first meeting Kevin at a Kaplan MCAT prep course and thinking 'hmmm he's starting med school a little late.' But what I came to realize, and part of what made him so special was that he experienced so much outside of school.  He was a teacher, he worked with the suicide hotline and the homeless, he dealt with life and death issues... he had the perspective many of us snot nosed straight out of college kids never had. 

I also thought having Naoki present him with his lei at graduation was amazing... at a time when being gay was not as accepted. But Kevin was authentic and wore his heart on his sleeve in the best way. "

This picture was taken at Willows Restaurant, after tutorial ended, and "it started out as a fine innocent sunny day. For the record, I (Peter Lee) was not pushed... I believe I was unceremoniously DROPPED from Kevin's shoulders into the pool, maybe with a little assist from Byron Izuka."

Classmates in the top photo:

Dareth, Charlene Ushijima, Pharis Mohideen, Kevin, Peter Lee (on Kevin's shoulders), Jeff Lin, Byron Izuka (likely accessory to the crime), Ivy Nip

 

Bottom photo:

Kevin (with more hair) and Peter

 

My BFAM

Shared by Byron Izuka on 17th July 2011

I had the fortune of sharing a tutorial group in medical school with Kevin.  At the end of the rotation we had lunch with our preceptor and just BEFORE we took a photo of our group, Kevin pushed Peter Lee into the pool.  Full submersion.  Ahhh, the courage to do what others only think about.

At colloquia one day, as we were taking our seats in the auditorium, Kevin saw that I was chewing gum and asked if I had any.  I said "Only this one" and stuck out my tongue with the gum on it.  Just as the folks around us were beginning to say "Ewww!", he snatched the gum, popped it into his mouth and started chewing it.  People lost their appetites and this is when I knew I really really really liked this guy. 

Some people come into our lives and we are never the same. 

God must be doing some pretty important stuff up there if he needed this angel by his side.
 

Farewell, my brother.

Spreading Joy in PES

Shared by Andrea Crowley on 16th July 2011

I met Kevin a couple of years ago when I began working as an RN at Psychiatric Emergency Service.  He was one of the first to really welcome me there.  I loved coming to work on Tuesdays because Kevin would make it such fun.  He was always either joking around, teasing someone (gently), having a deep conversation about something interesting/controversial, or asking you questions about your life.  He shared so many stories about Naoki and their children.  He felt that having children had been a profoundly life-changing event, and he kept asking when I was going to do so.  When I told him my partner and I were trying, Kevin insisted that I would need to text him IMMEDIATELY when I found out I was pregnant.  After some negotiation, he agreed that yes, I could tell my partner first!  I regret that it didn't happen before he died, he would have been so excited.

All these conversations and joking around didn't mean he didn't do work.  Kevin was so good with the patients, and had a brilliant clinical mind.  Even if he disagreed with my assessment, he still made me feel like my contribution was valid.  He also had a way of questioning me about the cases which helped me learn more about clinical assessment, and helped me to do better interviews and a better job presenting my cases. I loved watching him explain his way of thinking about cases to new residents and students.  He got so excited about teaching.  Actually Kevin got excited about nearly everything he did.  His enthusiasm was infectious.

Kevin wore his heart on his sleeve.  If he liked you, he told you, over and over.  I was taken aback the first morning he greeted me with a hug and a "Hi, love!" or "How ya doin' babycakes!"  Now I will miss it so much.  I am so grateful that I took some time the last day I saw him, to give a hug and tell him how wonderful he is.  I learned that from Kevin.  He knew how to love, and how to show love for people.  I am so grateful to have known him for the short time I had.  Despite my sorrow at this time, I can't help but feel some joy when I think about Kevin.  What an amazing man. 

 

From the halls of Cambridge Hospital

Shared by Cheri Carey on 15th July 2011

I met Kevin when he was an intern and I was a nurse manager.  Immediately I knew that he was brilliant!  I also knew that he was fun and compassionate.  We developed a wonderful friendship.  When he and Naoki were in Rome for 6 months, my husband and I had the pleasure of spending a week with them.  It was our first vacation without our children.  That week is my favorite memory of Kevin and Naoki.  Sharing that time with them, laughing, cooking, doing all the touristy things!  We even saw the Pope! And because I'm vertically challenged, Kevin and my husband lifted me up in St Peter's so i could actually "see" him! 

Kevin touched so many people's lives - the hospital has quite a pall over it today.  I will never forget how Kevin and Naoki shared their life with me and my family.  You will always be in our hearts Kevin.  The Carey boys who are 19 and 23 now wrapped their arms around me and cried.

 I'm going to miss your annual phone call singing happy birthday to me on Christmas as you had done every year since you met me. 

I am so blessed to be able to say Kevin was my friend!  You were a little bit of heaven right here on earth!

 

 

Brent and Michael's Wedding

Shared by Coco Auerswald on 15th July 2011

 Kevin was so happy!! He was dancing with Nobu in his arms, then with Aki, then with his tie on his head. It was a great day...

True Angels do exist

Shared by Claire Brekhus on 15th July 2011

 

Kevin was the type of person who had a dream and went after it until it was fulfilled, even when the world seemed determined not to allow it.  His marriage to husband, Naoki Nitta, was one of them along with his two incredible children, Chiaki and Nobu Nitta-Mack, who he treasured with every ounce of his being.  Kevin knew what he wanted and, even when it meant beating the near impossible, he accomplished it.  He was one of the very few people in this world who really understood the true meaning of life and lived it.

Kevin’s presence was so amazing that once known, he would never be forgotten.  Just a few moments was enough to leave a lasting impression.  Thus, he meant so much to so many.  Likewise, so many were important to him and, incredibly, he managed to make time for all of them. 

Kevin was and continues to be a very precious part of me.  He dropped everything to help me in a very desperate time of need and for that as well as everything else, he will always hold a special place in my heart.  To him, this was a normal practice and any type of gratuitous return was not expected or even accepted.  The reward for him was the good deed itself.  He was just that type of person.

I am so glad to have loved and been loved by you, Kevin.  You will live on in many hearts including mine. I promise to be here and do everything in my power to watch over Naoki, Chiacki and Nobu with you.

Thank you for being a part of me.

 

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