Oliver Harold French, M.D. (1921 - 2018)

Oliver Harold French
1921 - 2018
updated April 23, 2019
Oliver Harold French, M.D. was born on September 3, 1921 in Berlin, Germany. He died on January 23, 2018 in Ithaca, New York at age 96.

Obituary for Dr. Oliver H. French
Dr. Oliver French, a longtime resident of Ithaca, NY, passed away peacefully in his sleep on January 22, 2018, age 96.
Oliver was born as Helmut Otto Freund on September 3, 1921, to a well-off Jewish family in Berlin. His maternal great-grandfather, Leopold Ullstein, was founder of the prestigious Ullstein publishing house, a heritage the family bore proudly. His mother trained as a social worker, and his father was a successful lawyer.
On April 1, 1933, the family fled Germany, ahead of the boycott of Jewish businesses that had been proclaimed for the next day. They moved first to southern France, where his father hoped to establish a farm. Oliver and his brother were sent to boarding school and quickly became fluent in French. The farm plan was cut short by their father’s sudden death, and the family moved to Paris. Late in 1935 they moved again to London, where they finally settled. Oliver completed his secondary education in classics and won a scholarship to Peterhouse College at Cambridge University.
Oliver’s university plans were put on hold by the outbreak of World War II in Europe on his 18th birthday. After a brief period of internment as an “enemy alien,” he was released to join the British Army. In the lead-up to the invasion of Europe, he trained as a tank radio operator, but the invasion itself found him in officer training, and he eventually saw active duty as a British officer in India after the end of the war. It was during his army service that he, like other soldiers with refugee backgrounds, anglicized his name, to Oliver Harold French.
Oliver returned to England early in 1946 to take up his place at Cambridge, where he received his BA with First-Class honors in 1948. He married Hannah Adler, a fellow medical student and also a refugee from Europe, in 1949. He completed his medical degree at Cambridge in 1952 and qualified as an anesthesiologist in 1956.
In 1957, the couple emigrated to the US with their three small daughters and settled in Freeport, Long Island. Oliver began working as an anesthesiologist at South Nassau Communities Hospital, while Hannah established a private practice as a psychiatrist.
Following Hannah’s untimely death in November, 1972, Oliver took at increasing interest in psychotherapy. After studying Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy with its initiator, renowned psychologist Albert Ellis, he moved to Lexington, Kentucky, to re-qualify as a psychiatrist. He met his second wife, Norma Prendergast, in Lexington, and they moved together to Ithaca, where Norma completed her Ph.D. in Art History at Cornell, while Oliver completed his psychiatry residency in Rochester. Life in Ithaca agreed with them, and they decided to put down roots: Norma found work at Cornell, and Oliver was appointed Chief Psychiatrist of Tompkins County. His work brought him into contact with a varied population, including youth offenders and abuse victims, and he took a keen interest in the treatment of individuals with Multiple Personality Disorder, a consequence of abuse.
Oliver’s work for Tompkins County gave him great satisfaction, and he continued until well past retirement age, retiring from his final part-time position only at age 94. He also returned to his early classical education by translating medical texts from Latin and German into English. An avid sportsman, he enjoyed skiing (a perk of living in upstate New York), tennis, bowling and golf, and won a medal in the local Senior Olympics in his 80s. He joined Norma in her enthusiasm for gardening, and they enjoyed gathering and canning their seasonal crops.
With his literary background, Oliver also nurtured a talent for writing. He wrote the entry on Anesthesiology for the Encyclopedia Americana (19??) and later in life composed memoirs and poems, some of which were published in a chapbook.
Oliver is fondly remembered for his positive and caring nature, his open, accepting and unassuming demeanor, his broad erudition and his interest in almost everything. He is survived by his wife, Norma Prendergast, his three daughters, Deborah French Greniman, Naomi Ben-Ari and Dr. Jacqueline French, who followed him into the medical profession, and by his eight grandchildren and, at last count, three great-grandchildren.
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Oliver Harold French Biography

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Oliver Harold French, M.D.
Most commonly known name
Male
Gender
Oliver
First name
Harold
Middle name
French
Last name(s)
M.D.
Suffix
Unknown
Nickname(s) or aliases
Unknown. Did Oliver move a lot? Where was his last known location?
Last known residence
Oliver French was born on in Berlin, Germany
Birth
Oliver French died on in Ithaca, Tompkins County, New York United States
Death
Oliver French was born on in Berlin, Germany
Oliver French died on in Ithaca, Tompkins County, New York United States
Birth
Death
There is no cause of death listed for Oliver.
Cause of death
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Burial / Funeral
Unknown
Obituary

Ethnicity & Lineage

German

Nationality & Locations Lived

United States Citizen

Religion

Jewish

Education

Cambridge in the United Kingdom.

Professions

Medical Doctor.

Personal Life & Organizations

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Military Service

After a brief period of internment as an “enemy alien,” he was released to join the British Army. In the lead-up to the invasion of Europe, he trained as a tank radio operator, but the invasion itself found him in officer training, and he eventually saw active duty as a British officer in India after the end of the war. It was during his army service that he, like other soldiers with refugee backgrounds, anglicized his name, to Oliver Harold French.

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Amanda S. Stevenson
10.1k+ favorites
What are the names of his daughters?
Apr 22, 2019 · Reply
Amanda S. Stevenson
10.1k+ favorites
Fine physician and a good friend.
Apr 22, 2019 · Reply

Oliver French Obituary

This obit of Oliver Harold French, M.D. is maintained by Oliver's followers. Contribute to her obituary and include details such as cemetery, burial, newspaper obituary and grave or marker inscription if available.

Oliver Harold French, M.D. passed away on January 23, 2018 in Ithaca, New York at 96 years old. He was born on September 3, 1921 in Berlin, Germany. We are unaware of information about Oliver's immediate family.
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1921 - 2018 World Events

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In 1921, in the year that Oliver Harold French, M.D. was born, hugely popular Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle, silent film star, was arrested for rape and manslaughter after an actress died following a party at his house. He was acquitted after three trials and the jury wrote a formal letter apologizing for the charges, but his career never recovered. His films were at first banned - the ban was lifted after a year - and he was mostly ostracized by the community. He died at 46..

In 1943, by the time he was 22 years old, on March 31st, the Broadway musical Oklahoma! opened. Written by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II (the first of their string of successful collaborations), audiences loved it. The musical ran for 2,212 performances originally and was made into a movie in 1954.

In 1956, when he was 35 years old, this was the year that the King of Rock and Roll, Elvis Presley, became an international sensation. He began the year as a regional favorite and ended the year with 17 recordings having been on the Billboard’s Top 100 singles chart, 11 TV appearances, and a movie. Elvis scandalized adults and thrilled teens.

In 1969, when he was 48 years old, one hundred countries, along with the United States and the Soviet Union signed the nuclear nonproliferation treaty (NPT). It called for stopping the spread of nuclear weapons, the peaceful use of nuclear energy, and the goal of nuclear disarmament.

In 1990, when he was 69 years old, on April 24th, the Hubble telescope was launched into space after long delays due to the Challenger explosion. An optical flaw was found within weeks of launch but was fixed within three years. The discoveries made possible by the Hubble have contributed to scientists' understanding of the universe.

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