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Dr. Charlie Grossman, Long-time Oregon PSR Board Member, Dies at Age 98

August 5, 2013


Charles M. (Charlie) Grossman, 1914 - 2013

Charles M. (Charlie) Grossman, MD, age 98, died on July 16th, 2013 ending his distinguished career as a doctor, scientist, community organizer and peace activist.

A memorial service will be held for Charlie on Saturday, August 24th beginning at 2:30 PM at Portland State University's Hoffman Hall. View a map of the PSU campus.

Born December 23rd, 1914 in Harrison, NJ, he attended City College of New York and New York University School of Medicine. He did his internship and residency at Yale University where he was involved in the first successful use of penicillin in the US. In New Haven, he married Helen Frost (Frosty) Grossman who shared his passion for peace and social justice.

One of the initial group of doctors at Northern Permanente in Vancouver, WA in 1944, Charlie began private practice in downtown Portland in 1950. Frosty joined him as office manager, and they worked together until her death in 2002. He continued his medical practice for another five years. Charlie also pursued scientific research funded by the National Institute of Health on a part-time basis. Most recently, he helped document the health effects of radiation released from the Hanford Nuclear Reservation during the 1940s. He published over 30 scientific articles in his lifetime.

Friend and physician to Senator Wayne Morse, Charlie marched and spoke out against the Vietnam War. He cofounded several community organizations including the Interagency Welfare Crisis Committee, the Evans F. Carlson Friends of the People’s Republic of China and Oregon Physicians for Social Responsibility. National board member of PSR and US China People’s Friendship Association, he was active with International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, Nobel Peace Prize recipients in 1985. IPPNW gave him the Albert Schweitzer Peace Award.

Charlie believed that people to people contact promotes cultural understanding and worldwide peace. His first trip to eastern Europe was in 1960; he led annual tours of Americans to China between 1974 and 2010. The Chinese People's Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries designated him “Friendship Ambassador” in 2010, an honor given to only five other Americans since 1949. He received a Lifetime Achievement award from Oregon PSR in 2012.

Charlie is survived by his children, Peter (fiancée Cheryl Cox) of Salinas, CA and Lindsay (Mark) Johnson of Washougal, WA and four grandchildren. Memorial gifts may be sent to Oregon PSR or the Portland chapter of Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom. Charlie’s life will be celebrated at 2:30 PM on August 24th, 2013 at Hoffman Hall, Portland State University. He also will be remembered at Oregon PSR’s Hiroshima, Nagasaki, & Hanford: A Tragic Connection commemoration event on August 6th at 6:00 PM at the Japanese American Historical Plaza (Portland Waterfront at Couch Street).

-Adapted from Dr. Grossman’s obituary in The Oregonian (published August 4th, 2013)

See the links below for more on Dr. Charlie Grossman’s life and work.

Dr. Charles M. Grossman, 1914-2013, Founding Northwest Kaiser Permanente Physician (by Lionel Cushing, Kaiser Permanente Heritage Writer)

YouTube interview of Dr. Grossman from 1998, discussing the work of the Northwest Health Radiation Alliance

Oregon's Physicians for Social Responsibility honor Charles Grossman at annual event (by Eric Mortenson, from The Oregonian, March 29th, 2012)

Reflections on the First Use of Penicillin in the United States (by Charles M. Grossman, MD)

Dr. Charles Grossman Wins China Friendship Ambassador Award

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