In memory of Richard Effrem Topel, neonatologist, traveler, book collector

Richard Effrem Topel, 77, died Monday, June 17, at home with his family by his side.

He is survived by his wife of 30 years, Tamara Lerner; his sons, Greg and Jarrett Topel, daughters Alison Wayne and Jen Brand, nine grandchildren; two brothers, Mark and Eugene; many close friends including his first wife, Susan Lynn, who he remained close with throughout his life.

Rich was born and raised in Chicago, the son of Joseph and Bea Topel (Tomash). He grew up in Venice, CA and made his way to Cincinnati, where he attended Woodward High School.

Richard attended the University of Cincinnati, College of Medicine and went on to do his residency at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. In 1975, he completed a fellowship in neonatology at Stanford University. Shortly thereafter, he joined Kaiser Permanente where he helped countless newborns, infants, children and teens, and their parents, as a neonatologist and pediatrician. He was chief of quality assurance at San Francisco Kaiser for almost 30 years. He retired from Kaiser in 2016, after 40 years of devoted service.

Rich had a passion for traveling, doing crossword puzzles and collecting books on the South Pacific as well as a robust collection of suspenders. He was deeply devoted to his wife Tamara and wanted nothing more than to spend time in Hawaii with her walking along the beach.

A private burial service was held at Sunset View Cemetery in El Cerrito. A memorial and celebration of Richard’s life will be held in July. Donations can be made in memory of Richard to Oakland Kaiser Hospice: 4501 Broadway, Oakland, CA 94611 or a charity of your choosing.