Harry Beskind, MD

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Yarmouth, Maine — Harry Beskind, MD, of Yarmouth and Pemaquid, Maine, formerly of Norwich, Vt. and Hanover, N.H., passed away on Sunday, May 13, 2018, from complications of acute mylogenous leukemia.

The son of Perry and Sadie (Teitelbaum) Beskind, Dr. Beskind was born Aug. 2, 1932, in Brooklyn, N.Y. He grew up in Queens, attended Jamaica High School and graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Queens College in 1954. He obtained his MD from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in 1958 and was elected to the Honor Medical Society-AOA. He interned at Hopkins in pediatrics and was a resident in pediatrics at Boston City Hospital before going on to the Massachusetts Mental Health Center (Harvard Medical School) as a resident and chief resident in psychiatry from 1960 to 1963. He completed his psychoanalytic training at the Philadelphia Association for Psychoanalysis and was a member of the American Psychoanalytic Association.

Dr. Beskind began his 42-year career as a psychiatrist at Fort Dix, N.J., during the early years of the Vietnam war, from 1963 to 1965. After his discharge, he established a private practice in Princeton, N.J., and subsequently in Norwich and Lebanon, N.H. He held the position of Adjunct Professor of Psychiatry at Dartmouth Medical School. He retired in 2001, at which time he took up watercolor painting, a passion he actively pursued until his death. Dr. Beskind painted regularly in the summer with two groups of plein air painters in Damariscotta, Maine, who affectionately called him “Wild Man Harry” for his use of brilliant color and strong compositions. See www.wildmanharryart.com. His work was exhibited in one-man and group shows in Lyme and Hanover, Norwich, Yarmouth, Portland and Damariscotta. Most recently his show “Whimsical Watercolors” at Merrill Memorial Library in Yarmouth raised $12,000 to benefit Portland’s Mercy Hospital Hematology Oncology Center. Many of his paintings are in private collections.

In addition to painting and being an unofficial medical “ombudsman” for his friends, Harry loved traveling and biking. He accompanied his wife to France on many occasions and also visited England, Scotland, Holland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Turkey, Israel, Jordan, Morocco, South Africa, Botswana, New Zealand and China. In the US, he biked through all the major passes of the Colorado Rockies with the Colorado Heart Cyclists (“securing last place and never surrendering it,” as he used to say) and with friends and family took long rides throughout Vermont and in the San Juan Islands. To celebrate his eightieth birthday, he successfully completed the Trek Across Maine, never getting off his bike except at rest stops. At 84, he was the oldest rider in the Pan Mass Challenge, raising $15,000 for the Dana Farber Cancer Institute, where he was a patient.

Dr. Beskind was preceded in death by his brother Martin (Mike) Beskind. He is survived by his wife of 23 years, Virginia Swain of Yarmouth; and his sons, Mark Beskind, of Pasadena, Calif. and Daniel Beskind, MD of Tucson, Ariz., and their wives Janice and Vicki; and by his sister-in-law Rosemarie, Beskind; and nephew David Beskind of Simsbury and Hartford, Conn. He also leaves five wonderful grandchildren – Hannah, Jessica, Samuel, Katelyn and Julia – to whom he was a devoted “Papa Bear.”

The family would like to express their deep gratitude to Harry’s medical team – Dr. Richard M. Stone and nurse practitioner Ilene Galinsky at Dana-Farber, and Dr. Roger Inhorn and his nurses, especially Risa Card, at Mercy Hematology-Oncology Center in Portland – for their devoted care and support throughout Harry’s long battle with cancer.

A memorial service will be held at Temple Bet Ha’am in South Portland, Maine on May 30 at 1 p.m.. Burial will take place at the Harrington Cemetery in Pemaquid at a later date.

In lieu of flowers, contributions in Harry’s memory may be made to the Adult Leukemia Section of Dana Farber Cancer Institute, Harvard Medical School, 450 Brookline Avenue, Boston, MA 02215, in honor of Dr. Richard M. Stone (or at dana-farber.org/how-you-can-help); or to Mercy Oncology Hematology Center, 195 Fore River Parkway, Portland, ME 04102.

To share a memory or condolence, please visit www.coastalcremationservices.com.