Remembering Danny Adler

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. Daniel Adler

Dr. Daniel Adler

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.

(Arrangements are private. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made in Dr. Adler’s honor to Planned Parenthood or Weston Emergency Medical Services.)

9 responses to “Remembering Danny Adler

  1. Jane Nordli Jessep

    What beautiful words and so true. Doctor Adler was my mother’s doctor for many years and was considered one of the best. But what William said about his and my parents’ generation really touched my heart. I miss them, their generosity, their intelligence, their pragmatism, their quiet and dogged persistence, their frailties and faults. They didn’t need to have all the answers but they sure had a few. Thank you William for this lovely tribute to your dad.

  2. Thank you Dr. Adler for delivering me into this world 51 years ago.

  3. Denny Davidoff

    Danny Adler saved my life by palpating and diagnosing a cancerous breast lump that hadn’t shown up on a mammogram. It was August, 1985 and I was 53 years old. I adored him before, during and afterward.

  4. Sank T. Monious

    Being male, the youngest child and probably an “oops” baby, I never knew Dr. Adler.

    I do know his son and absolutely believe that the beautiful words he wrote about his father and his father’s contemporaries may have been an understatement. Such is the “Greatest Generation” their reality exceeds anything that could possibly be said about them.

    Rest in Peace, Dr. Adler and May God Bless You.

  5. Dr. Adler sounds like he was a wonderful, generous man, and that is a touching eulogy written by his son. He sounds very much like my late father-in-law, who had a “Marcus Welby”-type of practice in Port Chester and would accept spaghetti and meatball dinners as payment.

    I disagree with William’s generalizations about his dad’s generation–e.g., “This was the last generation of builders.” My experiences have been that there have always been a good number of community-minded individuals across all generations.

  6. Peter Gambaccini

    I always felt that the Adler home was the first meaningful Weston landmark to come into view as I drove up Weston Road from Westport. The Adler family meant a great deal to my brother Phil and myself, and Dr. Adler was my mother’s doctor after we’d moved to Connecticut. He was always gracious and curious and genuinely interested in what was on anyone’s mind. It was always a pleasure to visit with him.

  7. Danny was a friend, a neighbor and a fellow Weston Democrat . His son William said it all : He was a mensch, in every facet of his life. R.I.P Doc.

  8. Blake Hampton

    What a hole Dan Adler has left in Weston and in the lives of almost anyone he came in contact with. I never knew I could have a friend like Danny, since our politics were poles apart, but it worked! He’ll be missed by so very many.

  9. Jill Ross Beres

    Everything that William wrote is true and beautiful. And one more thanks to his Father, Dr. Beres and Dr. Kaunitz(and maybe others) for helping the MANY women who showed up with “botched abortion(coat hanger variety). This was before abortion was legal. Some week end there were rows of beds with grateful women who these men helped.