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Dedicated physician remembered

December 31, 2002|by CANDICE BOSELY

martinsburg@herald-mail.com

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - Berkeley County lost a man described as a dedicated physician, proud Marine and caring family man when Dr. Gerald T. Golden died unexpectedly at his home Sunday morning.

He was 60.

Golden owned Shenandoah Health Services, formerly worked as the chief of surgery at City Hospital, served in Vietnam, authored several publications and sponsored area sports teams, among other accomplishments.

At his Martinsburg walk-in clinic Monday evening, which was closed because of Golden's death, family members and a co-worker remembered Golden as they sat surrounded by newspaper articles, awards and photographs of him.

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Although Golden "dressed, walked, talked very professional" while he was in his office, afterward he "always had a new joke for us. That hound dog laugh of his," said Golden's sister-in-law, Carey Gano, who has worked in Golden's office for around 13 years.

Golden's sister, Robin Roberts, flew in from Florida Monday.

"He was bright, he was articulate, he was well-read," said Roberts. Golden's office exhibited proof of the latter, with books by Edgar Allen Poe, Fyodor Dostoevsky and Alfred Lord Tennyson, among others, neatly lined up in a glass bookcase.

Elsewhere in Golden's office, old and new medical books lined the walls, while statues of military men sat on his desk. A white lab coat hung on a rack in one corner.

A Vietnam War veteran, Golden was a proud American, hanging flags on his Jeep after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

"'Semper Fi, do or die.' We heard that the whole vacation," said co-worker Christy Jones, of a trip Golden took with others to the beach.

Golden also was interested in the Civil War, especially the 37th Alabama, in which a family member served more than a century ago, Roberts said.

Jones said numerous people called the office Monday, and some took the news of Golden's death especially hard. Two men cried, she said.

On an average day, anywhere from 60 to 100 people visited Golden's clinic on Foxcroft Avenue in Martinsburg. He also owned a clinic in Inwood, W.Va., Gano said. He opened the Martinsburg clinic in 1990 or 1991, Gano said, and the Inwood office a couple of years later.

Whether it was a dignitary or person off the street, Golden had a wonderful bedside manner, his family agreed.

"We're going to fall apart without him," Jones said. "He was wonderful. There are no other words for him."

Golden's memorial service will be private, but those who wish may sign a book that will be placed at Brown Funeral Home in Martinsburg.

Along with the honors mentioned in his obituary, Golden also received a Distinguished Service Award earlier this year from Musselman High School.

And in March, an American flag, now folded and on display in Golden's office, was flown over the Marine Corps War Memorial for his 30 years of service to the Marine Corps and U.S. Navy reserves.

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