Dr. Daniel Adler — a beloved local physician who delivered of thousands of babies during 4 decades of service to Westport and Weston — died of natural causes on Sunday at his Weston home. He was 92.
Dr. Adler was a pioneer in his field. He was an outspoken practitioner in the use of midwives in deliveries, and in-office procedures like laparoscopy.
An outspoken advocate of women’s reproductive rights, he provided pro bono care to indigent patients in Norwalk, while operating a private ob-gyn practice in Westport from 1954 to 1985.
Dr. Adler was named the 1st chairman of Norwalk Hospital’s ob-gyn department in 1980. He also served as an assistant clinical professor at Yale. He retired from St. Vincent’s Hospital in 2000, age 80.
Dr. Adler’s deep interest in national and global affairs led to friendships with Westport journalists Harry Reasoner and Gordon Manning. A passionate Democrat, he hosted presidential candidate Gene McCarthy in his home, and met presidential hopefuls George McGovern and Sargent Shriver when they visited Westport. Last month, he reveled in the re-election of President Obama.
Dr. Adler’s son William honored his father — and his father’s generation — this way:
People around my parents’ ages were World War II era, and came home to build the suburbs and the life we love. They were not the Mad Men generation –they were a bit before. They were Rod Serling, or the Man in the Gray Flannel Suit. They were Cheever and Richard Yates.
They grew up on Bennie Goodman, not Elvis, and everything they stood for had to do with sacrificing so that the next generation — ours — could have it better. Could have peace, prosperity, new opportunity. So they were mensches.
They worked and they gave and they gave. I heard my father turning over the engine on his car, middle of the night, night after night – babies were being born, and this was before doctors had teams of partners and backup for their backup.
They didn’t expect to get rich. Danny charged $300 for a full 9-month course of care leading up to and including a delivery in the mid-1960s. One patient gave him a sculpture of a cat in lieu of payment.
This was the last generation of builders. They didn’t outsource; they built businesses, products, services. They didn’t run away to international havens; they did it here, in Westport.
Their names are on street signs and park names: Harding, Gault, Bisceglie. Most of them are gone, but to those of us who care none are forgotten. Such a name is Daniel H. Adler, MD.
PS: Among the thousands of babies Danny Adler delivered was my youngest sister, Laurie.