Gunther Peter Nagel
Peter was born January 3, 1928, in Rochester, Minnesota, the son of Gunther and Eleanor Nagel, where his father studied at Mayo Clinic. He died on December 6, 2009, almost 82 years old. His life ended in the village of Szecheny near the border between Hungary and Slovakia, about 100 km from Budapest. His body was discovered when he failed to-awake from a nap after being out in the field. The cause was a stroke.
Peter was raised with his younger brother, Carl, in San Francisco while his father carried on his medical practice. A highlight of Peter’s life when he was 8 years old-He rode his horse in the drill team of the Explorer Cub Scouts Troop and he was honored by being selected to celebrate the opening of the Golden Gate Bridge by parading across it on his horse.
His family had a cabin on the water at Inverness, during World War 2, where he learned to sail and fish on weekends. In the summer, he worked on a ranch and then went with his brother and father to the Trinity Alps to hike and explore. His love of the outdoors grew.
He attended Lowell High School in San Francisco and then went to Stanford as an undergraduate and as a medical student. He graduated in 1953 and married Else (Leinie) Schilling) a fellow Stanford student. They moved to Baltimore, Maryland, where he interned at Johns Hopkins Hospital, then to New York City where he was assistant resident at Cornell Medical Center. They then moved to Zurich where he studied pathology and then back to San Francisco where he studied hand surgery with Dr. Sterling Bunnell. In 1957, he took his residency at Barns Hospital in St. Louis. While there, he enjoyed playing polo and fox hunting on weekends. In 1960, he and Leinie moved with two children to Santa Barbara where he joined Dr. Katherine Stevenson in her plastic and reconstructive surgery practice.
In 1964, he volunteered for Care-Medico in South Vietnam repairing cleft lips and palates of so many children in Saigon as well as treating those injured in the war. Two years later, he again volunteered to work overseas and practiced in India where he treated cases of arrested leprosy. From India they went to Afghanistan where there were many opportunities for his skilled work. He worked mostly in Kabul and Kandahar.
In November, 1968, having separated from Leinie in 1966, he married Cinny Hollister (Masek) and settled down with his medical practice and to a life of challenging and fulfilling outdoor experiences. They were together for 41 happy years also enjoying frequent visits from his and Leinie’s children.
While married to Cinnie, they lived first in Montecito and then Los Olivos on a small ranch surrounded by numerous cherished hunting and cattle dogs, used both in the field and herding their huge long horn cattle.
Along with his successful practice, Peter’s central and controlling spirit was immersed in reading on a variety of subjects, in engaging in competitive sports, in absorbing the beauty of the natural world, and enjoying opera, especially Wagner. A skilled polo player in Carpinteria, a finished fly fisherman in the high Sierras, Wind River Range in Wyoming and stalking bonefish on Christmas Island or Dorado off Las Cruces in Baja. He also participated many times as a contestant in the brutal Tevis Race, a 100 mile, 24 hour timed horseback event from Squaw Valley to Auburn: he truly did it all in his arena, the great outdoors. Peter’s activities were deeply competitive along with close social camaraderie as a member of the Gringo Camp on Ranchero’s Visitadores’ annual Spring Ride. There for a solid week, he took part in many trail horse events along with exciting gymkhana, reined classes in horse shows and expertly busting clay targets at the shotgun range.
Peter, who survived Carl, leaves behind his wife Cinny, Leinie Schilling Bard of Montecito- the mother of his four children, Peter and Mary Nagel, of Palmer Alaska with seven children; Victoria and Bernard Hauzy of Mill Valley with four children; Sophia and Kendric Foultz of Westlake Village with twin girls; and Phoebe and David Holscher of Tiburon with three children for a total of 16 grandchildren!
A remembrance will be held on Saturday, January 16 from 3 to 5 PM at the Santa Ynez Valley Historical Society and Carriage House, 3596 Sagunto Street, Santa Ynez California 93460. Telephone number 805 688 7889. Donations in his memory will be gratefully accepted there.
Arrangements by Welch-Ryce-Haider Funeral Chapels, Santa Barbara.