Dr. William Roberts Nadel, long-time resident of Summit and Chatham, passed away on November 25, 2017, at Overlook Hospital. His family was at his bedside. He was 77 years old.
Bill Nadel was born on June 15, 1940 in Irvington, New Jersey to Helen (Roberts) Nadel and Dr. Charles Irwin Nadel. He grew up in Bayonne and Irvington, raised his family in Summit, and retired to Chatham. After high school at Newark Academy he attended Amherst College, graduating in 1964. He received his M.D. from Case-Western Reserve Medical School in 1968.
It was at Amherst that Bill met Virginia Bunzl, who would go on to be his life partner. While in medical school, together with Ginger, he volunteered on the mayoral campaign for Carl Stokes, the first African-American mayor of Cleveland, Ohio. In Cleveland, the young couple welcomed a daughter, Helen. During his psychiatry residency in the Bronx, he and Ginger welcomed their son, Joshua.
Upon finishing his residency, Bill began work as Deputy Commissioner for the City of New York’s Department of Mental Health and Mental Retardation. In 1977, he began working at Fair Oaks Hospital, a private mental health facility, as President and Medical Director. He moved with his family to Summit that same year. After four years at Fair Oaks, he became Chief of Psychiatry at Muhlenberg Regional Medical Center, in Plainfield, New Jersey, where he worked until his retirement in 2006. He continued a private practice until shortly before his death.
Bill worked tirelessly to raise awareness about mental illness. He was a member of the American Medical Association and the New Jersey Psychiatric Association, and was a Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association. He served on the Union County Mental Health Board and frequently lobbied the both the United States and New Jersey legislatures to increase funding for mental health programming and care. More broadly, Bill witnessed growing health disparities as the medical field shifted from patient focused care to a more business-oriented model. He noted in public hearings that this shift would have negative impacts on healthcare for all, but particularly for poor communities.
Bill had a lifelong affinity for music, especially the jazz and folk that formed the soundtrack of his young adulthood. He passed this love down to his children. Indeed, there is little that Bill loved more than spending time with his family. In the last sixteen years, his grandchildren have given him great joy.
Bill is survived by his wife of 53 years, Virginia Nadel; his sister Nancy Greenberg of Riverside, California; his daughter Helen and son Joshua Nadel; their spouses Joel Zarrow and Evanthia Canoutas; and four grandchildren: Isabel Cayla and Felix Livingston Zarrow, and Sofia Ariadne and Rafael Nikolaos Canoutas-Nadel.
A memorial gathering will be held at Bradley, Brough and Dangler in Summit, Sunday December 3 at 1 pm, followed immediately by a service of remembrance at 2 pm. In lieu of flowers, please send donations to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (https://ifundraise.nami.org/index.cfmfuseaction=donorDrive.personalCampaign&participantID=1416) or WBGO Newark (https://pledge.wbgo.org/epledgenow).
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