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David Neal Hart

April 30, 1956 April 4, 2020
David Neal Hart
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Obituary for David Neal Hart

Dr. David Neal Hart MD was born “Luc-David Kerry” on June 17, 1955, in Norfolk, Virginia, and shared that birthday with his twin brother, Michel-Philippe. His father, Sean Kerry, was a 70-year-old “big crazy Irishman” who emigrated from County Kerry, Ireland, while his Jewish mother came from Laval, Québec, and her own mother from France. His biological parents did not marry. French was David’s first language and he would continue to translate his thoughts to English throughout his life. When Michel-Philippe passed from an illness at age four, David’s parents placed David into the foster care system where he was adopted and his legal birthday was changed to April 30, 1956.

 In Virginia, David was adopted by Fred W. Hart of Michigan, an Irish and Iroquois WW2 Navy submariner who took ice bore samples in Antarctica and captured penguins for zoos, and Ethel L. McCleod of Alberta, Canada, a reincarnation of Annie Oakley with a family history that traced back to the Oregon Country. Fred and Ethel adopted two additional sons, Brian and Eric, and the family moved from Virginia to Redmond, Oregon, in 1962. There, David spent his time working on his grandfather’s farm, balancing his parents’ checkbooks, and reading comic books. Before he turned ten, David died twice: once after drowning in an icy lake (age six), and again (age nine) from acute appendicitis and the flu. David said both incidents helped inspire him to become a doctor. He graduated from Redmond High School on June 4, 1974. 

After high school, David moved to the Lower Ninth Ward in New Orleans and attended the Tulane University School of Medicine, where he received an MD after just 3 and ½ years. During this time, one of his brothers and his mother Ethel passed away. In New Orleans, David was rear-ended at a traffic light by his future wife, Jennifer-Anne “Jenny” LeQuie, and her two sons, Joshua and Stephen, who were passengers. No one was injured, and six weeks later David married Jenny and adopted her children as his own.

 As a doctor, David traveled to Indian Reservations, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Thailand, and Laos. In Afghanistan he inoculated children against polio and survived an attack on his life. David retired from medicine and transitioned into teaching to spend more time with his sons. As they moved back-and-forth between Ohio, Illinois, and Hawaii, David taught history, English, and science at private schools. David said he had “eleven and a bit more wonderful years” with his wife until a fatal car crash took her life and the life of their youngest son, Stephen, in the early nineties. In the time following, David lost his father and his second brother. Six years after the crash, he also lost his second son, Joshua, who succumbed to myelogenous leukemia. 

Together with Duchess, his Labrador retriever, David moved to Corvallis, OR, in June 1996 where he worked at local businesses until starting at Cub Foods (now Winco Foods) in May of 2001. In 2008, David clinically died for a third time following three heart surgeries, which led him to famously say, “Is that the best you got?” David met his life companion, Rob Hart, at Winco after answering a question about sunscreen in French, and they married in July of 2014. He continued to work at Winco for a total of 13 years until he medically retired and moved with Rob to Silverton, OR, in 2017, where he lived at Marquis Silver Gardens. Following the closure of Silver Gardens, David moved to Marquis Marian Estates in Sublimity, OR, where he passed on April 4, 2020. 

Proud of his Jewish heritage, David lived by the Hebrew principle of Pikuach Nefesh (פיקוח נפש), which he translated as, “To save a life is to save the world.” David wrote: “I was born a Jew and we have sayings about taking on adventure in life. I have saved lives and as I could made the lives of others better. So even if one cannot save lives, everyone can do something to make the world better by making someone's life better. I hope that I have been a success at those adventures at least.” He loved Superman and superhero comics, animals, baseball, and history, and listened to pre-1950s radio programs to help him sleep. His favorite movies were The Wizard of Oz and Lost Horizon.  

 Dr. Hart was predeceased by his biological parents, his adopted parents and brothers, his wife and his two children.

He is survived by his husband, Rob Hart, his extended family, and by the many loving friends who brightened his life.

 There are no planned services. In lieu of flowers, please donate to Turtle Ridge Wildlife Center in Salem, OR, for his love of wildlife.

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