Dr. Paul E. Kalish, a respected pathologist and former medical director of laboratories at North Shore-Long Island Jewish Health Systems, has died of skin cancer. He was 83.
Family and friends Sunday said that Kalish's wide-ranging interests away from the medical field were as vast as his detailed knowledge of his chosen profession.
He traveled abroad, had a passion for history, was a Brooklyn Dodgers fan and spearheaded family winter ski excursions to Vermont, his son, Stephen, 54, of Washington Township, New Jersey, said shortly after the memorial service Sunday at Harvest on Hudson in Hastings. Dr. Kalish, formerly of Glen Cove, died May 11 and was cremated, family members said.
He was also a connoisseur of fine food, particularly French cuisine and sushi, played tennis and took cruises, the family said.
Classical music was another curiosity, which spilled over to him learning the piano.
Kalish even left a mark having built two harpsichords, one of which is on display in Hofstra University's music department, his family said.
"He's a mentor and role model and he showed us the way life should be lived from many perspectives. He was just a very special individual," his son said.
"My dad was always there to help and reassure family and friends whenever they had medical problems. He really got down to the nuts and bolts of what was going on."
Kalish, who was a pathologist for about 60 years, was born in the Bronx and graduated from Stuyvesant High School in 1948.
Three years later, he received a bachelor's degree from New York University and received a medical degree from State University New York Downstate Medical Center in 1955.
After college, the New Yorker joined the Army and interned as a physician at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C.
For two years he was stationed at Ingrandes in France, where he spent two years delivering babies among other duties, relatives said.
When he returned to the U.S., he met his wife, Nereide Kalish, now 80 and living in Montvale, New Jersey, then a nurse at a Veterans Administration hospital in the Bronx, where he was a resident in pathology.
The couple married in 1959 and had four sons.
"What he brings to the table is priceless. I can think of 30 questions where I could pick up the phone, call and ask him right now," said Dwayne Breining, 48, who replaced Kalish as medical director of laboratories at North Shore-LIJ in Lake Success.
"He's one of those most valuable players in any profession. He has decades of experiences."
At some point, Kalish was an associate professor at Babies Hospital, Albert Einstein College of Medicine and New York Medical College.
Family members plan to create a scholarship in Kalish's honor at Stuyvesant High School.
Kalish also is survived by sons Peter, 52, of Clifton Park; David, 51, of Niwot, Colorado; and Chris, 49, of Pleasantville.