Joshua Litwin will be remembered for his knowledge, compassion and humor

All those who knew Joshua Litwin, who ran Berkeley Ophthalmology Medical Group, will miss his unlimited knowledge, his quick humor, his big personality and his capacity for love.

Joshua Peter Litwin died suddenly on Nov. 20, at the age of 61.

Joshua was born on Oct. 3, 1959, in San Francisco, where his mother, Judith, was a student at SF State, and his father, Richard, was a medical student at UCSF. He was an inquisitive child with boundless energy. His first sentences were, “Doggy, go see Daddy” and “I am a meatball.”

As a child, Joshua spent hours perusing and memorizing the Guinness Book of World Records and learning the chords for “You ain’t nothin’ but a hound dog” on his guitar. After his graduation from Berkeley High, he led a mercurial life — he worked at Sizzler, he was the lead guitarist of the short-lived punk rock band The Losers and he worked construction for the Madonna Company in San Luis Obispo.

At a certain point, he decided to make a change. He settled down with his wife, Jennifer, and their two children, Hannah and Jacob, and applied himself to a pre-med curriculum with his usual obsessive fervor. He graduated at the top of his class (well, second) from Chicago Med and did a residency in ophthalmology at the University of Washington. After remaining in Seattle for some years, he acknowledged his destiny and came back to Berkeley to join his father at Berkeley Ophthalmology Medical Group, which he eventually took over. His extensive medical knowledge, which was not limited to eyes, made him a gifted clinician, and he cherished the personal connections that he made with patients.


Joshua’s children will miss the workouts and lunches that he shared with them; he was a steady presence in their lives and that of his ex-wife, with whom he had the friendliest and most supportive of divorces.

His parents will miss the long discussions about the practice and the patients, the attention and advice about their health and wellbeing, and the groceries that he faithfully dropped off on their porch, returning to pick up a home cooked meal.

His patients will miss his expert, thoughtful, compassionate care.

All who knew Joshua — friends, family, including his brother, Matthew, and sister Julie and his girlfriend — will miss his lively debating style, the amusement he got from a misspelled sign or a particularly ridiculous pun, his enjoyment of an elaborate Chinese meal, his delight in an early morning run in Tilden, his appreciation of a ’65 Mustang or a new BMW, his unlimited knowledge, both medical and general, his quick humor, his big personality and his remarkable capacity for love.