A listener recently called radio station WBLK with an unusual request.
"I'm a patient of a doctor, and I'd like the radio audience to offer a general prayer for Dr. Donald Ehrenreich, who's at the Buffalo General Hospital," the caller said.
And when Ehrenreich announced his retirement recently, about 60 patients sent him cards and letters, thanking him for his caring ways and wishing him well in his retirement.
That was the kind of respect that Dr. Donald L. Ehrenreich, a neurologist with Buffalo Medical Group and a clinical professor at the University at Buffalo Medical School, enjoyed with his patients and throughout the medical community.
Ehrenreich, who suffered from cardiac and other medical problems, died Wednesday (Nov. 18, 1998) in Buffalo General's Hospice unit. He was 70.
A native of Buffalo, he earned a bachelor's degree from the University of Buffalo in 1949 and a medical degree from UB Medical School in 1953.
After completing several residencies in Buffalo and Boston, Ehrenreich became a clinical instructor in the neurology department at UB Medical School in 1961. Since 1983, he had been a clinical professor in that department.
Ehrenreich held several leadership roles at Buffalo General, including acting head of the neurology department for six years in the 1980s, president of its medical staff in 1986 and member of the board of trustees for three years.
He joined Buffalo Medical Group in November 1978 and later served as chairman of its board of directors.
Ehrenreich carved out a professional reputation of teaching compassion, sensitivity and humanity by example and of treating the patient's whole family, not just the neurological problems.
Patients returned the favor after he became ill and announced his retirement, flooding his office with letters and cards.
"He meant so much more than just a personal doctor from whom they received medical care," said his daughter-in-law, Anne Ehrenreich. "Over and over, they urged him on to recovery, not for the purpose of caring for patients again, but wanting him to be able to enjoy his grandchildren."
Among his other experiences in medicine, Ehrenreich in 1984 was among the first group of U.S. neurologists invited to China to teach neurology to Chinese doctors.
Outside medicine, his chief interests included music, tennis, bird-watching, Chautauqua Institution, traveling and playing his own form of peekaboo with his young grandchildren.
Surviving are his wife of 43 years, Rivona H.; a son, Mark D. of Kenmore; a daughter, Beth E. Lichtenberg of Chicago; a brother, Arthur of Phoenix; a sister, Margery Rabow of Sarasota, Fla.; and eight grandchildren.
Services were held today in Temple Beth Zion. Burial was in Forest Lawn.