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Walnut Creek Magazine

Retired Concord Pediatrician loses his battle to Parkinson's Disease

Jan 06, 2020 11:47AM ● By Pam Kessler

Our hearts are heavy with the loss of Dr. Lance Gershen, a beloved husband, father, grandfather, and friend. As a physician, he touched the lives of thousands of Bay Area children and families. on shared the following obituary:

Dr. Lance R. Gershen

December 7, 1944 - January 2, 2020

Walnut Creek

Dr. Lance Ronald Gershen died peacefully at his home on January 2, 2020, in Walnut Creek, California at the age of 75. A retired pediatrician, Dr. Gershen is survived by his eight children, fourteen grandchildren, and his wife Cindy Gershen known for her restaurant Sunrise Bistro.

The older of two sons, Lance was born on December 7, 1944 in New York City to George and Lillian Gershen (née Gendelman). Alongside his brother Scott, Lance was raised in New York City and spent summers on Lake Mohegan with his Grandpa Abe Gendelman, Grandma Rose, and Aunt Selma. It was in New York where Lance discovered his first two loves—rock and roll and baseball.

A student of life, Lance had a passion to learn and teach. He graduated from Stuyvesant High School in 1961. He graduated from Brooklyn College of The City University of New York in 1965 as a member of the Pi Lambda Phi fraternity. Dr. Gershen received his M.D. from Albert Einstein College of Medicine in 1969.

Drafted into the U.S. Navy, Dr. Gershen served dutifully at the Naval Station Great Lakes in Chicago, IL. Thereafter, Dr. Gershen completed his residency at Children's Hospital Los Angeles in pediatric medicine. Dr. Gershen moved to the San Francisco Bay Area and began working as a pediatrician at Diablo Valley Pediatrics in Concord, California, where he became a principal partner for over forty years. Affiliated with John Muir and Sutter Health in Concord and Walnut Creek, CA and was faculty at Oakland Children's Hospital. Dr. Gershen was instrumental in opening the first alternative birthing center in the Bay Area and touched the lives of thousands of children and families in the Bay Area.

Active in the Jewish community, Lance helped found JBL, a Jewish men's softball team, and the J Mensch men's group. Lance was a member of Congregation B'nai Tikvah in Walnut Creek.

Lance enjoyed a lifelong pursuit of knowledge, continuing his academic education throughout his entire life. Retirement did not slow his spirit. From climbing Half Dome in Yosemite and traveling to the New Orleans Jazz Festival to hiking waterfalls in Costa Rica and boxing classes at Rock Steady, Lance never stopped pushing himself. A proud grandfather, Poppa spent as much time as he could with his grandkids. An avid sports fan, Lance brought his love for the San Francisco Giants, San Francisco Forty-Niners, and Golden State Warriors to generations of children and grandchildren.

Dr. Gershen served as co-president of the Parkinson Network of Mt. Diablo, providing vital support and resources to people living with Parkinson's Disease and their caregiving community.

He is survived by his wife Cindy Gershen, his five children Jennifer, Zachary, Sarah, Alexander, and Benjamin Gershen; step-children Danielle Brigham, Rose Stein, and Joe Stein; and fourteen grandchildren. He is preceded in death by his parents and his brother Scott.

In lieu of flowers, please send donations to the Parkinson Network of Mt. Diablo at


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