Howard Zweier, MD, 71, passed away on the morning of July 21, 2019 at home with his wife and daughters by his side after waging a valiant two-year battle against pancreatic cancer.
Howard was born on April 23,1948 to Rosaline and Paul Zweier in Brooklyn, New York. He spent most of his youth in Columbus, Ohio and graduated from Eastmoor High School before attending college at Syracuse University. He earned his medical degree at State University of New York Downstate in Brooklyn and went on to complete a residency in internal medicine at St. Vincent’s Hospital in Manhattan and a fellowship in infectious disease at Brown University.
After enduring a lifetime of frigid winters and the historic New England Blizzard of ‘78, Howard headed west in search of sunshine and a job.
In November 1979 he began his 30-year career as a physician and chief of infectious disease at Kaiser Permanente Medical Center, Vallejo. Just as he started his practice, the tragic AIDS pandemic struck, and he proudly found himself on the forefront of HIV management.
He diagnosed and treated hundreds of other complex illnesses and was an extremely valued consultant to his fellow physicians in all departments.
Howard was a hardworking perfectionist and it was not uncommon to find him making extra rounds on his patients late at night or on days off. Medical staff and patients alike appreciated his thoughtful care delivered in a down-to-earth manner. Even ten years after retiring, “Dr. Z.” was always enthusiastically greeted when returning to his home hospital for his own appointments. Howard built a family as well as a career at Kaiser Vallejo. He met his wife, Linda, a physical therapist there in 1980 and their daughters, Lauren and Adrienne (Adi), were born at the facility in 1986 and 1992, respectively.
Howard was likable, honest, and fun to be around and he accrued many close friends with whom he shared a love for medicine, golf, sports, politics, and life in general.
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He was a Bay Area sports super-fan and enjoyed rooting for the Warriors, Giants, and 49ers. He attended many noteworthy games throughout the years, but perhaps his most memorable experience was riding out the Loma Prieta earthquake from the upper deck at Candlestick Park during the 1989 World Series. Howard was a 35-year member of the Napa Valley Country Club and enthusiastically teed off with his band of golf buddies at every given opportunity.
Howard was a devoted and loyal family man. He lovingly cared for his parents in their later years and visited his mother nearly every day during her seven-year residency at the Meadows Care Center.
He was his disabled sister’s legal guardian and best friend and made four trips a year to the East Coast to visit her without fail. He was a wonderful, fun, charmingly quirky, and never boring husband to Linda, his wife of 35 years.
As a father, Howard taught Lauren and Adi to not sweat the small stuff and that anything can be made interesting with the right color commentary. He was their number one cheerleader for all academic, professional, and extracurricular pursuits and the best fixer in times of crisis.
Howard made sure that his girls knew the lyrics, history, and lead singer of all Beatles songs and routinely led rousing Fab Four sing-alongs on family road trips.
Howard is survived by his wife, Linda, of Napa, and their daughters, Lauren Zweier of San Francisco and Adi Zweier of Portland. He was preceded in death by his mother and father, Rosaline and Paul Zweier, and sister Rita Zweier.
He was simply the best of the best and will be forever loved and missed. Fighting pancreatic cancer takes a village and ours was incredible. We are eternally grateful to all medical personnel, friends, and family who supported us along the way and became an integral part of Team Zweier.