Dr. Shreyer passed away June 13, 2018
July 10, 1924 – June 13, 2018
Eugene Stanley Shreyer ’49 of Silverton, Oregon, died June 13, 2018, peacefully at home under hospice care in the presence of his family and friends. This happened one week after a major stroke and one month shy of his 94th birthday. He had been the active and beloved patriarch of a large extended family and a mentor to many, including his church family.
Dr. Shreyer was born July 10, 1924, at home in Windsor, California, to Jessie Woodbury Shreyer, a nurse, and Albert Stanley Shreyer, a barber. Jessie was a lifetime member of the Seventh-day Adventist church and had had the privilege of home nursing Ellen White in her later years.
The family soon moved to Walnut Creek, California, where Albert built their home himself. Dr. Shreyer (an only child) and his cousins had a carefree outdoor upbringing exploring the creek and walnut orchards. He was quite adventurous and once rode his decidedly ungeared and unstreamlined bicycle from Walnut Creek to Sebastopol. Dr. Shreyer attended Adventist schools, including Martinez Elementary School, Golden Gate Academy in Berkeley, and then Pacific Union College. He was a classmate of Phyllis Jean Kesler (medical technologist ’46 White Memorial Hospital) at Golden Gate Academy, where they became high school sweethearts his senior year and eventually married in 1946.
Dr. Shreyer was in the U.S. Army Reserves during WWII and had a premed and medical school draft deferment. He graduated from the College of Medical Evangelists in June 1948 and then interned at Porter Hospital and Sanitarium in Denver, Colorado, through July 1949.
(During the WWII years, the College of Medical Evangelists had an accelerated program. In 1944, Dr. Shreyer was accepted into the January 1949 graduating class. His class started medical school in January 1945 and finished three and a half years later in June 1948. He started his internship with a provisional MD degree and received the official MD degree in January 1949).
Dr. Shreyer owned a private practice in general medicine in Somerton, Arizona, until 1951 (where he additionally served a term as mayor). He left Somerton for a recently established anesthesiology residency program at White Memorial Hospital in Los Angeles.
Dr. Shreyer considered himself very fortunate to train in anesthesiology under Forrest E. Leffingwell ’33. He was privileged to be one of the first residents under the mentorship of Dr. Leffingwell, who went on to be considered a giant in the
developing field of anesthesiology as a teacher and as the 1962 president of the American Society of Anesthesiologists. Dr. Shreyer’s love for anesthesiology was undoubtedly nourished by his mentor’s example.
After his first year of anesthesiology training, Dr. Shreyer was drafted into the army and served at a field hospital in Wurzburg, Germany, during the Korean War. Dr. Shreyer and Phyllis’s three children were born in the years before the army draft, and the family was happy to be stationed in Germany with him. They came home to California in 1954 so that Dr. Shreyer could finish his anesthesiology residency.
In 1955, Gene established an anesthesiology department at Mount Diablo Hospital in Concord, California, where there was a new surgery department. He was known for his very calm demeanor, his faith, his upbeat attitude, and his competence. He maintained his anesthesiology practice there until 1986 when he retired from medicine.
Dr. Shreyer and Phyllis took their young family on many camping adventures and also on trips in a Cessna 175 after Dr. Shreyer became a private pilot. The most memorable trip included a view over the Sierras and the Rockies when visiting friends in Wyoming and Colorado. Backpacking the Sierras was a favorite activity. Eating crispy breakfast pancakes over a Coleman stove on car camping trips was even more favored.
Phyllis, Dr. Shreyer’s wife of 31 years, died of cancer in 1977, leaving a void in his life that was filled when he and Joy Semmens became close through working with the Pleasant Hill Church Pathfinder Club. They married in 1978. Dr. Shreyer and Joy shared a love of camping and nature. After retirement, he and Joy explored the vast West as rock hounds and amateur lapidary artists.
In 1987, Dr. Shreyer and Joy moved to Silverton, Oregon, and planted 12 acres of commercial blueberries as well as a personal vegetable garden and an ornamental garden. He had previously established the landscaping and irrigation at the Pleasant Hill Seventh-day Adventist Church.
He was a great supporter of Pleasant Hill Academy in Pleasant Hill, California, and Livingston Academy in Salem, Oregon. He received an award from Pleasant Hill Academy for his strong support. He was an elder for many years at both Pleasant Hill Seventh-day Adventist Church and Silverton Seventh-day Adventist Church.
In his later years, Dr. Shreyer’s great joys have been being a blueberry farmer and vegetable gardener, continuing to travel with Joy to national and state parks, birding, reading, and assuring the welfare of his very large extended family.
Dr. Shreyer is survived by his wife, Joy Shreyer; his three children, Karen Shreyer Davis ’75, Donald Shreyer, Cynthia Shreyer Perrin, and their spouses; three grandchildren and their spouses; five great-grandchildren; Joy’s two sisters and her brother and spouse; his nieces and nephews and their children and grandchildren.
(Source: Family of Dr. Shreyer)