Peter Grossman

Our Classmate Peter Grossman died on March 20, 2019 in a nursing home in Seattle.  He had developed early-onset Alzheimers and had been there for several years.

Here is the official obituary announcement:

Dr. Peter Lawrence Grossman, beloved doctor, tennis competitor, world traveler, nature lover, and dear father passed away in Seattle, Washington, on March 20 from complications with Alzheimer’s disease.

Peter was born in Chicago, Illinois, to parents Nathan and Ruth, and raised in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where he later attended Milwaukee Country Day School. He attended Williams College (‘67), continued medical school at Vanderbilt University (‘71), and completed a residency in Boston.  After a tour in the Army at Fort Knox, he moved to California with his wife Christopher Hannan for a fellowship at Stanford where he specialized in infectious diseases. They settled down in San Mateo where they raised two children, Adam and Meredith. Peter practiced medicine for more than three decades with the Mills Peninsula Medical Group, developing lasting relationships with his patients and their families.

While his career was an integral part of his life, tennis was a passion.  Being the admirable combination of a fierce competitor and consummate sportsman, Peter made some of his best friends on the tennis court.  After captaining the Williams tennis team, he continued to play throughout his life, rising to a national rank for the 40+ age group of 12th in singles and 5th in doubles.  

He was always up for a game of any sort. He never missed a “Breakfast at Wimbledon” and loved to settle in for a couple of innings of Giants baseball after work. His children can attest that he was virtually unbeatable at backgammon, dominoes, or ping pong in the garage. And his presence was felt on the sidelines of many childhood sporting events, especially if anyone needed a band-aid.

Peter was also an avid reader, particularly of world history, and he was no stranger to the places about which he read.  From hiking in the Himalayas to sailing the Mediterranean, from fly fishing the Blackfoot River to playing tennis in Mexico in the Osuna Cup, pictures from his travels were only outnumbered by the books in his library about those places.  But as far as he journeyed, the Bay Area was home, where he could unwind with a long walk along Sawyer Camp Trail or up at Lake Hennessey’s Windy Hill to enjoy bird watching.

Though the disease was difficult, he was smiling to the end.  He will be missed by his son, Adam, his daughter, Meredith, his sister Robin, his grandchildren, and countless others whose lives he touched.

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6 Responses to Peter Grossman

  1. Peter Bent says:

    Peter had that infectious gene of limitless enthusiasm that lit up our room in Currier Hall (sophomore year) every day. How lucky I was to be his friend and all his friends in life probably felt the same .

  2. John Hufnagel says:

    Nov 30, 2015
    I had a good visit today with Peter Grossman who has early onset Alzheimer’s. He knew who I was and remembered some names from Williams. He was so excited as he said Williams changed his life. He said he thinks about it often and was so honored that I was visiting him. He kept tapping his chest and saying wow, how great you came. Just true joy with hugs and all. A truly beautiful experience.

  3. Allan Stern says:

    November 12, 2016
    As you may know, our classmate Peter Grossman — former tennis team member at Williams, later a successful internist in San Mateo, CA — has early-onset Alzheimers and is in an assisted-living facility in Seattle, where his son Adam lives. Huff saw him there last year and had a wonderful visit.

    While in Seattle with Susan, I had some spare time and went to see Peter this afternoon. Like his visit with Huff, he was overjoyed to see somebody from his class at Williams. While we didn’t know each other well then, we discovered we had some things in common — one of his tennis buddies in San Mateo was one of my best friends from junior high school; and Peter and I both grew up rooting for the Milwaukee Braves and he recognized all the players from the 1957 World Series team (Hank Aaron, Eddie Matthews, Warren Spahn, etc).

    Then I showed him photos on my phone from the Williams Oxford trip this past summer. As I pointed out classmates in the photos and named them, he would say, “Oh, I remember him!” It was great to hear that some of the long-term memory was still intact, and that some of us are still all in his memory.

    It was a very moving visit.

  4. Larry Ricketts says:

    I was in Bryant House with Peter and remember, as if yesterday, his wonderful smile and lively attitude.

    Many of us enjoyed rooting for Peter on the tennis and squash courts at Williams. We continued to root for Peter in his battle with Alzheimers.

  5. Christopher Kaufman (Amherst '67) says:

    I first met Peter in 1964 when we had a tennis match as freshmen in college — him at Williams, me at Amherst. He whipped me badly (although I did get revenge the next year despite Peter being the superior player).

    We became close friends when he moved to San Francisco. He was a fabulous friend and a fabulous doctor. Who else would have allowed a patient to be dropped at his house, diagnosed with an infection, taken to the pharmacy to pick up antibiotics and then driven to the patient’s home?

    He is sorely missed by many of us.

  6. Irv Blond says:

    Although I did not know Peter well while at Williams, our paths crossed after graduation. My wife, Sharyn, and I had the pleasure of Peter and David Nash staying at our home for several days while they competed as a doubles team in a national tennis tournament in Kansas City. Subsequently, on a visit to San Francisco, Peter hosted us for Sunday brunch at his home in San Mateo.

    He was a kind, thoughtful, humble and sweet man. A credit to Williams and our class. I am fortunate I had the opportunity to get to know and spend time with him.

    My condolences to his family.

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