Gary B. Witman, 68, of Providence,died April 30. A graduate of Rutgers University, Dr. Witman received his medical degree from SUNY Downstate College of Medicine. He continued his training at the Mayo Clinic, followed by internship and residency in internal medicine at Brown/The Miriam Hospital. He completed a fellowship at Yale as the American Cancer Society scholar in medical oncology; he then became a National Cancer Institute program director as the head of all 12 comprehensive cancer centers throughout North and South America.
During his accomplished career in oncology research and internal medicine, Dr. Witman never put aside his hands-on work treating patients. He ran several Boston-area emergency rooms where he thrived in what he called “battlefield” conditions. With an uncanny talent to counsel, comfort, and diagnose, he demonstrated his great love for all around him with warmth, humor, confidence, and a depth of great humanity. His was the first and second medical opinion of countless friends and relatives, and was regarded within the medical community as a “physician’s physician.” He was an Eagle Scout, a lover of sports, an avid traveler, and an accomplished skier on the US Ski team.
In 2010 Dr. Witman suffered a lifealtering accident, rendering him a quadriplegic. Despite his injury, his
brilliance and passion for others only grew stronger; he relished his expanding family, and continued to work as a full-time physician.
He is survived by his wife, Dee Dee (Zarum) Witman, three children, and three grandchildren. Gifts in his memory may be made to Temple Emanu-El in Providence, teprov.org, or the United Spinal Association, unitedspinal.org.