Longtime emergency physician, novelist and photographer Dr. Edward “Ted” Hard Jr. died July 16 of stomach cancer and heart problems. He was 81 years old.
For over 20 years, Hard led the emergency department at Sutter Medical Center Santa Rosa and served the same role when he was the Sonoma County Community Hospital. He also practiced emergency medicine at Petaluma Valley Hospital.
In 2018, he and his wife, Elizabeth Galvez-Hard, moved to Eureka where he led emergency services at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Eureka and Redwood Memorial Hospital in Fortuna.
“He had that soft, warm, radio-like voice,” said former colleague Dr Brian Schmidt, director of trauma at Memorial Hospital in Santa Rosa since 1996. “It was a pleasure working with him.”
Schmidt said he saw Hard calm down the stressful situations that arose in the ER while Schmidt was on call at Sutter.
Hard was “interested in trauma patients” and was supportive of Schmidt when he worked on the opening of the trauma center and generally helped promote the county trauma system, he said.
But Hard’s life was more than his job as a doctor, said his wife, 68, a retired former professor at Sonoma State University in Rohnert Park who taught bilingual teachers.
“He loved beauty,” she said, remembering their time together exploring the rivers and mountain trails in Humboldt County. “He loved photography and art. He took pictures of nature while I took long walks.
“She was a very loving person. He really cared about him, ”she added. “I never heard him say anything negative about anyone. He was so positive.
Galvez-Hard, who was born and raised in Chile and is called “Ellie”, said she met her future husband in Sutter’s emergency room while suffering from a whiplash after being bottled by a truck. She said she was immediately impressed with him.
“There was this very tall and dignified man,” she said. “I said to my son, ‘This doctor is really something.’ “
Recently divorced, she said she had just moved from Crescent City to Santa Rosa in 1998, a single mother. As it turned out, Hard was in awe of her as well, as the two had traded cards, and she returned from a weekend outing to find a voicemail message from him.
“I had just broken my wrist on a bike ride,” said Galez-Hard. “He got me treated and I was treated like a VIP because of him.”
During their first date at a Mexican restaurant in Santa Rosa shortly after, she said, “We sat there for three hours and he told me about ‘The Blackfoot Lion Hunt'” , a novel that Hard was writing around the time that he completed during his lockdown during the pandemic.
The book was finally released in January and became an Amazon bestseller. Recalling “Jaws”, the story takes place in Montana and follows an insatiable beast with a fondness for humans.
The two married on May 26, 2001 and have been together ever since. Each had children from previous marriages.
Hard had written several other novels, including “Oasis” and “SUM VII”. Twentieth Century Fox bought the film rights to “SUM VII”, but did not make a film. Another novel, Ishmael, about the journeys of a dog that gets lost and is swept away in the ocean, was completed before his death and is now being edited for publication.
He also plays an emergency room doctor, appearing on an episode of the original “Hawaii 5-0” television show in 1968.
Hard has written articles for the Sonoma County Medical Association, two of which have won outstanding article of the year awards. One of them, written for the Winter 2018 issue, was titled “Touched by the Dragon’s Tongue”, about the horrific Tubbs fire in 2017. The family home was spared.
“The sight is reminiscent of the photos I saw of the Allied bombing raids in Dresden towards the end of World War II,” Hard wrote in the magazine, describing his former neighborhood of Fountaingrove. Back in their neighborhood, he wrote: “I count the houses burned down. The remains look like corpses. No roofs, no walls, no color. The corner house has disappeared. The neighbors’ houses behind and across the street are rubble.
The following year, with the children gone and surrounded by burnt out grounds, the couple decided to move north.
“It was no longer a healthy environment for us,” said Galvez-Hard, a graduate of Humboldt State University.
But Hard has kept in touch with friends and colleagues in Santa Rosa, especially his closest friend, Dr Robert Scheibel. They met in the early 1980s when Scheibel was head of the radiology department at the community hospital. They became close friends, their families met, and took an annual fishing trip to Alaska.
Hard thanked Scheibel for his support in the acknowledgments in “Blackfoot Lion Hunt”.
“He made me bounce ideas and concepts,” said Scheibel, 85, and long retired. “He and I did a lot of wonderful things together and he was my dear friend. “
He said he often visited Ted and Ellie in Eureka, including just days before Ted died.
Hard was born Edward Wilhelm Hard II in Buffalo, New York on October 6, 1939, the son of Mary (Hazel) and Edward Hard. His grandfather, John R. Hazel, was a judge who was sworn in to President Theodore Roosevelt following the assassination of President William McKinley.
He played full-back for the Yale University football team in 1960 and attended class reunions. He graduated from Columbia University College of Physicians And Surgeons in 1966.
Hard has always loved to write. When he was doing a surgical residency at Stanford University, he had three short stories published by the Saturday Evening Post.
Along with his wife, Hard is survived by his children, Michael Hard of San Diego; Sophia Hard from Austin, Texas; Leisa Cohen of Short Hills, New Jersey; Paul Alsop of Santa Rosa; and Sara Alsop from Oakland. He is also survived by his younger sister, Gretchen Jones of Bryan, Texas.
A service will be held at the Eureka Faith Center at 1032 Bay St. in Eureka on August 12 at 11 a.m. Friends are asked to donate to the American Cancer Society or the Faith Center Bible Institute in lieu of flowers.
Galvez-Hard said her husband died at home surrounded by family members.
You can contact Editor-in-Chief Kathleen Coates at [email protected]