Al Polsky was born on April 21,1936, in Amityville, New York. He was the son of Louis Polsky, a pharmacist who had immigrated from Russia as a child in 1909, and Glory Kaplan Polsky. Al had one sister, Joy.
Educated in the New York public schools, Al developed an interest in music not surprising, as his father was a violinist and his mother a pianist. It soon became evident that Al was a significant musical talent. During his years at Midwood High School, from which he graduated as an honor student at age sixteen, Al was undecided as to whether to major in music or pursue a career in medicine.
Having chosen medicine, Al did his undergraduate pre-med studies at New York University, where he was a member of Phi Beta Kappa. Thereafter he studied medicine at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine and was a member of its first graduating class (1959). His internship was at the Jersey City Medical Center and his residency at Montefiore Hospital in the Bronx.
A member of the U.S. Air Force from 1963 through 1965, Al was stationed at RAF Lakenheath in Suffolk, England. It was there, at the officers club, that he met Louis Pitta, a teacher on the base. Al and Louise were married at RAF Mildenhall Base on May 14, 1965.
After returning for a time to New York, Al and Louise came to California, moving to Palos Verdes in 1966, the year in which Al joined the Harbor City Kaiser Permanente Department of Internal Medicine. A daughter, Karen Marie, was born on May 22, 1968. At the time of his death, December 19, 1995, Al had been with Kaiser for twenty-nine years.
Al Polsky was a master of his art the sort of physician other doctors chose for themselves. His perception and innate kindness were a gift to his patients that went beyond his impressive store of medical knowledge.
Al Polsky was a a facile and artful musician, whether on clarinet, saxophone, piano, recorder or theremin. His enthusiasm was great, his musical knowledge vast, and his sensitivity matched his dexterity. He was the ideal audience member, hoped for (and played to) by all musicians from the Carmel Bach Festival (which he and Louise had attended annually for the past twenty-five years) to an Ellis Island Klezmer Band concert.
Al never lost his sense of curiosity and appreciative wonder, and seldom missed an interesting exhibit of art of artifact. It something clever had been invented, he probably owned it. If it was a wonderful place, he traveled to it, here or abroad. During the holidays, the house took on the look of a festive museum, with the display of hundreds of nativity scenes, collected world-ide.
Als friends were many,and intensely loyal. He was the anchor of his weekly recorder group. Master of the quietly delivered one-iner, Al had a wit that was sharp, but never cruel.
Al was a family man. He joined his wife, Louise, in tracing genealogies of both their families. He had memberships in both the Jewish Genealogical Society and the Society for Crypto-udaic Studies. He took great, loving and obvious pride in the talents of Louise, and in the progress of his daughter, Karen Marie, from her infancy through the auspicious first years of her highly successful career. Trips back east provided opportunities for visits with his sister, Joy.
Surprised by death in the midst of his active life, and all too soon, Al leaves us here behind, with aches of unbelieving emptiness, which we must try, for now, to ease with memories of treasured times with him.
We thank all of you who have provided us with support during this time.
Special thanks to B. J. Ravitz for writing this memorial.
Louise and Karen Polsky