On November 18, 2004, our colleague and friend Cheryl Riva Zaret, MD died in Chicago at the age of 58 of a cardiac arrest. A family service was held on November 22 in Philadelphia.
Northwestern Memorial Hospital held a Memorial Service on December 15 with Rabbi Amy L. Memis-Foler of Temple Sholom officiating. At the Chicago memorial service, Lee Jampol, MD, chair of the Ophthalmology Department at Northwestern University, friends, colleagues, and patients paid tribute to her genius, humor, and wide-ranging accomplishments. A cellist played Bach, reminding us that Dr. Zaret had an intense love of the arts. She had subscribed to the Chicago Symphony, Shakespearean Theatre, The Art Institute, and Alliance Française. She was a gourmet chef.
Born in 1946, Dr. Zaret grew up in Philadelphia, graduating magna cum laude in mathematics from Temple University in 1968 and from Jefferson Medical College in 1972 with honors and grants. She completed internship at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in 1973 and ophthalmology residency at Northwestern University Medical Center and Childrens Memorial Hospital in 1976, serving as chief resident in her senior year. As a Heed Fellow in neuro-ophthalmology, she studied with Myles Behrens, MD at Columbia University from 1976 to 1977.
Dr. Zaret returned to Chicago in 1977 with an appointment as Assistant Professor of Ophthalmology and Neurology and chief of the Neuro-Ophthalmology Section at Northwestern University Medical School. She was active on medical school committees, serving on the Faculty Senate in 1978, as chair of the Northwestern ophthalmology residency selection committee, and as judge of the neurosurgery residents research awards.
Dr. Zaret organized an exemplary Walsh Society meeting in Chicago in 1994 and later guided the development of the new Walsh Symposium. She co-founded the Upper Midwest Neuro-Ophthalmology Group (UMNOG) in 1979 and directed it from 1990 onward.
Fearlessly uncompromising, whether on an ethical or teaching issue or as a patient advocate, Dr. Zaret maintained the highest standard of patient care. She would wrestle a problem to its finest solution, enjoying a child-like sense of the world with uncommon sophistication. Her adventurousness never faded. She wanted to be an astronaut, she enjoyed skydiving, and she perfected her powder skiing. My ski-instructor sister would get her to back trails from which she would return with a glimmer of joy, saying, "Guess what I got to do today?"
Her family has requested that all donations be sent to Feinberg School of Medicine, Residency Program in Ophthalmology, Northwestern University, c/o Kevin Heffernan, Department of Ophthalmology, 645 North Michigan Avenue, Suite #440, Chicago, IL 60611.
Chloe Tyler Winterbotham, MD