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1930 Dr. Alan Dobrow 2024

Dr. Alan Dobrow

January 19, 1930 — January 30, 2024

Lincoln, Massachusetts

A child of New York, Dr. Alan Dobrow spent his long life fascinated by the city in which he was born and its literary and musical residents. Even after he and his wife Vicki moved to Massachusetts to be close to their children and their grandchildren, Alan retained an avid interest in those who’d resided on or near 10th Street, a fertile crescent of the literary world not far from the legendary Strand Book Store.

The son of Dr. Barnett and Minna (Levy) Dobrow, Alan followed his father to NYU Medical School. He trained as a psychiatrist at Bellevue Hospital and the Menninger Clinic before going into private practice. His younger brother, the late Robert Dobrow, became a cardiologist. They had a deep bond, the doctor of the head and the doctor of the heart.

Patients, friends, relatives, and those who knew him would unanimously agree: he was steady, thoughtful, generous, dignified, non-judgmental, and far more proud of the accomplishments of his family than of anything he had done on his own, considerable though it was.

Alan motivated others by modeling the respectful, polite professionalism and parenting of a bygone era, passively but deeply instilling a love of learning and a healthy work ethic in his children (Julie, Marty, and Joe Dobrow) and grandchildren (Mira, Aaron, Jeremy, and Jonathan Vale; Sarah and Josh Dobrow; and Jeremiah Montgomery-Thompson).

A big fan of F. Scott Fitzgerald, Alan always saw the green light shining across the bay. He leaves many legacies. Patients from years past continued to write him notes of appreciation well into his retirement. He was an incurable romantic who marked every anniversary with a tribute penned longhand on yellow legal pads, a mix tape of songs (prepared by his more technologically savvy grandchildren), and an appropriate gift. Every achievement on the baseball diamond, in the halls of academe, in music or on the stage by his children or grandchildren was celebrated by the creation of one of his “shirt cardboard” notes. Alan passed along his love of the West, books, learning, history, photography, and rooting for perpetually losing sporting franchises to the rest of the family. After retirement, he became a proud member of the Boston Authors Club and was an avid reader up until his final days.

His superpower was a prolific memory. Books he read in the 1940s were routinely referenced in startling detail seven decades later. There were Broadway song lyrics for absolutely every occasion.

He was a true book lover and collector. He believed mightily in the power of reading to make your life bigger and better and deeper. He cherished his first editions of Fitzgerald, in particular. He was extraordinarily proud that all three of his children became published authors. And when it came to the achievements of his grandchildren, the man could kvell. Just four days before he took his last breath, as he was raging against the dying of the light, he insisted that he didn’t want to do anything to hasten the end. “There are a lot of good things happening in the family,” he said. “I want to see them to fruition.”

He was a man of quiet contradictions:

A product of New York’s Gramercy Park who felt most at home in the Southwest—where even the first blush of winter sunrays would instantly tint his skin a welcoming golden brown.

  • A gentle and non-confrontational soul who was also a scholar of military events and strategies—and who dutifully served his country as a Captain in the U.S. Army.

  • A psychiatrist who undoubtedly saw a lot of the bad in people, but a man who always managed to see the good.

  • A man of medicine who always sought out facts and science-based learning, but who adamantly refused to ever touch a computer in his life.

  • A devoted aficionado of the American songbook who (save for one “A” in a music appreciation course) knew nothing about music and could not carry a tune.

  • A man of few words, but many good ones.

    He was a powerfully stubborn man with a tremendously kind heart who would always try to bend himself toward the light, especially the green light that year by year receded before him until it was gone altogether. Godspeed, Old Sport.

Services will be private.

Arrangements under the care of Concord Funeral Home, 74 Belknap Street, Concord, MA 01742 978-369-3388




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