Peter Christopher Gazes, M.D.

  • Born: October 10, 1921
  • Died: April 2, 2019
  • Location: Charleston, South Carolina

J. Henry Stuhr Downtown Chapel

232 Calhoun Street
Charleston, SC 29401

Tel. (843) 723.2524

Tribute & Message From The Family


Message From The Family

Thank you for your support during this difficult time. Please enhance this tribute to Dr. Gazes by adding your memories and photos.

Peter Christopher Gazes, M.D., 97, husband of Athena Critikos Gazes, passed away peacefully at his home on April 2, 2019. The relatives and friends of Dr. and Mrs. Peter Christopher Gazes are invited to attend his Funeral Service at 12:00 PM, Tuesday, April 9, 2019 at the Greek Orthodox Church of the Holy Trinity. Interment will follow at Live Oak Memorial Gardens. The family will receive friends between 4:00 and 6:00 PM Monday, April 8, 2019, followed by a Trisagion Service, at the Greek Orthodox Church of the Holy Trinity.

Peter Christopher Gazes was born on October 10, 1921 in St. Matthews, South Carolina. He received his primary education in Charleston, SC at Mitchell Elementary School, the High School of Charleston, and the College of Charleston (B.S. degree). He was first honor graduate of the Medical University of South Carolina (M.D. degree) in Charleston, SC in 1944. After a year in the Navy as a Lieutenant JG, he completed an internship in internal medicine at Jersey City Medical Center. He then completed a residency in medicine and a fellowship in cardiology at Philadelphia General Hospital.

In 1949, he became the first board certified cardiologist in South Carolina. In 1961, he left private practice and established the Medical University of South Carolina's first cardiology division. He was known as one of the great pioneers in cardiology, publishing more than 220 articles and 30 book chapters. He authored textbooks, Cardiology Pearls and Clinical Cardiology, as well as his autobiography, Through the Back Door. In addition to training cardiologists, he taught countless medical students, residents, nurses, and attending physicians at the Medical University for over sixty years. In 1980, the Medical University founded the Peter C. Gazes Cardiology Society, which later became known as the Gazes Cardiac Research Institute. In 1982, he was named Distinguished University Professor of Cardiology and Assistant Dean for Alumni Affairs.

He was a fellow in the American College of Cardiology and received one of its highest honors, the Gifted Teacher Award in 1997. He was also a fellow of the American College of Physicians and the Council on Clinical Cardiology of the American Heart Association. He received many honors and awards from both civic, academic, and professional societies. An endowed chair was named in his honor by the Medical University. He received The Order of the Palmetto presented by Gov. David M. Beasley and The Order of the Silver Crescent by Gov. Jim Hodges.

He was a devoted member of the Greek Orthodox Church. He served as a member of the Archdiocese Council of the Greek Orthodox Church of North and South America. He was a member of The Archbishop Iakovos Leadership 100. He was an Archon of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople in 1990. He received the Plato Award from the American Hellenic Education Progressive in 1988.

He was an avid golfer, affectionately known as "Peter Putter" and a member of the Country Club of Charleston for over 60 years. He will be remembered for his quick wit and endless repertoire of stories and jokes.

His life message to his family, especially his children and grandchildren was three-fold: Faith in God, Motivation, and Persistence. The family expresses their appreciation to Hospice of Charleston (nurse Cynthia) and to the caregivers of Bishop Gadsden Connections.

Dr. Gazes is survived by his wife of 71 years, Athena, and their three daughters, Hope Gazes Grayson (Michael) of Charleston, Catherine Gazes Cline (Ty) of Charleston, and Joanne Gazes Ellison (Blount) of Mt. Pleasant; 11 grandchildren, 28 great grandchildren, and 1 great-great granddaughter.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Greek Orthodox Church of the Holy Trinity (New Building Fund), 30 Race Street, Charleston, SC 29403 or Drawing Near to God Ministry, PO Box 1274, Mt. Pleasant, SC 29465.


Services


Condolence & Memory Journal

Dr Gazes was always a favorite of the medical students, a wonderful teacher, mentor and clinician. He made learning interesting and fun, was full of useful pearls of wisdom. His teaching prepared me well for my internal medicine residency and my career in medicine. Above all, he was a fine human being. My condolences to the Gazes family for the loss of a wonderful man. Bill Thornton, MUSC Class of 1971.

Posted by William Thornton - Old Fort, NC - Student   April 15, 2019

Doctor Gazes was one of the best clinical instructors I have ever had. He was very approachable and if you had a question he would give you a reasoned answer even if it was a dumb question. He was legendary for his physical exam prowess. He once listened to my own heart murmur because my mother was born with a bicuspid aortic valve (and ultimately died from it). Dr. Gazes pronounced my murmur an innocent one. We did a two dimentional echocardiogram (called an m-mode and standard for its time) but we didn't see my aortic valve well enough to be sure. I worried about it for years and especially as I approached the age when my mom's valve started to fail. But I had so much faith in Dr. Gazes's clinical expertise that I didn't push for an investigation until I had an unrelated medical episode that resulted in a modern 3D echo. Dr. Gazes was proven right as usual. What a guy!

Posted by Lambert Daniel - Healdsburg, CA - student   April 14, 2019

I worked in the Cardiology Division as part of the administrative support staff for 26 years. During that time I had many wonderful interaction with Dr.Gazes. He always made time for each of us. He was always patient and kind. I will always carry the fondest memories of him in my heart, one of which was watching him and Mrs. Gazes dance the shag at the Dept. Of Medicine Christmas party. He truly enjoyed his life. Rest in peace "Pete the Putter"!

Posted by Bev Ksenzak - Charleston, SC   April 13, 2019

Mrs. Gazes, Hope, Cathy and Joanne, I am so sorry to hear of the loss of your husband and father. I have many memories of not only your dad but of all of us growing up in the Club. Please know that you all are in my thoughts and prayers.

Posted by Frances Stelling Pye - Walterboro, SC - Neighbor   April 11, 2019

Cathy and family we are thinking of you during this time . I know you are finding comfort in your memories and your Faith right now. I will fondly remember His smile and wit . Denise and Stevie

Posted by Denise Leasure - Charleston, SC - Friend   April 10, 2019

for Dr, Gazes family, I appreciate the countless tolerances that you must have had since Dr. Gazes was our trusted ,patient and expert teacher of cardiology. For years I measured many cardiologists in California at USC and UCLA. His answers and pathways remained useful and germain. Please remember my thanks to you all. I will remember him for his competence, compassion and quizical glance when I proposed a finding. Also you can consider that he taught with me for 17 years at USC Keck School of medicine and "entered many discussions" at Nights At UCLA.

Posted by robert morehead,Jr., MD. - Mt. Pleasant, NC   April 10, 2019

I had Dr. Gazes as a 4th year med student. The only girl in the cardiology rotation. He had a great sense of humor. I remember him telling us that if talented one could hear certain types of heart murmur in the elbow or at the top of the head. Stuck with me all these years. Great professor and doctor.

Posted by J Ann Lentini - Hendersonville, NC - Student   April 09, 2019

My condolences to all of the Gazes Family for the loss of your Patriarch and Father. I remember so fondly Dr. Gazes' smile as he would watch The Dectones sing, with daughter Hope among the girls from Ashley Hall. Please convey my sympathy to Hope, Cathy, and Joanne, and of course, Mrs. (Athena) Gazes.

Much love to you all --

Dee Dee Geraty Squires
(Dee Dee and The Dectones of Ashley Hall)

2615 Ashland Avenue
Saint Joseph, MO 64506

Posted by Deirdre (Dee Dee) Squires - Saint Joseph, MO - Friend   April 09, 2019

A delightful & brilliant teacher, and gracious and patient man, I am saddened but also can't help smiling at the memories of the interactions I was so privileged to have with him back in the 1990's.

Posted by Sharon DeMocker - Washington, DC - student   April 08, 2019

One of my favorite professors at MUSC, I had the privilege of doing a Cardiology rotation with him when I was a medical student. He was excellent teacher.
Aionia e mnimi

Posted by Thomas Jarrett - High Point, NC - Student   April 08, 2019

Dr. Gazes was a giant among physicians, but humble enough to teach a floundering resident at 2 a.m. in the cardiac intensive care unit some 40+ years ago. I was having trouble cramming all the cardiology information into my head and asked him how he had been able to learn it all. His simple, yet typical, Gazes answer was, "Bob, you are trying to learn it, but I have lived it. You will know a lot when you're my age." I have never forgotten that brief conversation which I've carried with me all this time. He brought out the best in me. After "living it," I can say that he was right. Mrs. Gazes, thank you for lending him to us all these many years. I shall always remember him as a great, yet gentle man. Condolences to you and all the family.

Bob Turner, MD

Posted by Robert (Bob) Turner, MD - Florence, SC - student   April 08, 2019

Dr. Gazes was an incredible clinician, a superb professor, and a wonderfully gracious man. I knew Dr. Gazes first through my father, Dr. Al Rawl, while playing golf at the Country Club of Charleston with the "Rascals" and then as his student while attending MUSC class of 1982. One of my memories involved an examination of a patient who I thought had a heart murmur. After my presentation to Dr. Gazes, he said some of the best cardiologists were half deaf! Meaning I was hearing something that wasn't there!

My condolences to the family. I know he will rest in peace playing eternal golf with other Rascals who have past!

Posted by Dana Rawl - John's Island, SC - Student   April 08, 2019

I met Dr Gazes many times from 1974 thru 1977 while I was in my residency at MUSC. He was truly one of the greatest mentors I have had during my career in medicine. I feel honored to have known him and will always hold him in the very highest regard.

Ed Saylor MD

Posted by EDWARD SAYLOR - RICHMOND, VA - Student   April 08, 2019

As a student I remember the patient way he taught students making them feel comfortable.
As a physician working in ERs in rural SC I remember he taught me the neosynephrine rinse technique for terminating ventricular tachycardia. I thought of him every time I use it.
Wonderful man!

Posted by Robert Adams - OAK HARBOR, WA - Student   April 08, 2019

There will never be a more special clinician as skilled as Dr Gazes. To have been taught by him was both an honor and a blessing! Sincere condolences to the family

Posted by Yolanda Bryant, MD - Columbia, SC - student   April 08, 2019

To Mrs. Gazes and all Dr. Gazes' family:

Dr. Gazes lived a full and fellowman-serving life. I found it one of Nature's random coincidences that Dr. Gazes and Senator Hollings died at the same integral age in the same week.

Is reminiscent, to me, of the nearly contemporaneous deaths of Thomas Jefferson and John Adams back on July 4, 1826. Both Adams and Jefferson were Declaration signers and Presidents.

Both Dr. Gazes and Senator Hollings were giants of lifetime accomplishments from Charleston.

Condolences to all the family but it is hoped the many good times shared together will mitigate the sorrow that pervades proximate to the death of a loved one.

Posted by Jeff Brooker, MD - Columbia, SC - Acquaintance   April 07, 2019

My deepest sympathy to Mrs. Gazes, Joanne, Cathy, Hope and your families for your loss. Dr. Gazes was a fine gentleman of that wonderful generation. I remember when he brought his heart model to Joanne's class and showed us how it worked. He was kind and patient with us kids. May your fond memories of him help you through these difficult days. You are in my thoughts and prayers.

Posted by Anne Daniell - Charleston, SC - Classmate   April 07, 2019

Having the privilege of knowing Dr. Gazes through the Cardiology Clinic at MUSC was such as honor.

He shared his warmth, humor, and gift of curiosity and intellect through his passion for Cardiology.

Yet he was very down to earth and humble,

Our community has been very blessed to have Dr. Gazes and his talents to improve the lives of his fellow beings.

May his family has solace that he was loved and cherished. His was a life well lived.

The MUSC will continue his legacy through compassionate care and research continuing his life's work.

Martha Holmes

Posted by Martha Holmes - Charleston, SC   April 07, 2019

Candle

Heartfelt condolences to all the family of Dr. Gazes...what an extraordinary man and gift to our community! He will be missed here on earth, but his legacy of kindness and compassion will continue through his family. May his memory be eternal and his journey home be glorious! Our thoughts and prayers are with you all.

Posted by Kathy Chakides Gaffos - Mount Pleasant, SC   April 07, 2019

Dear members of the Gazes family,
Please accept my condolences for the loss of one of Charleston's most loved individuals. Dr. Gazes was such a gentleman, and so pleasant and charming in every way. I only have fond memories of the times that I so thoroughly enjoyed his company, and what has endured in my heart was the genuine interest and consideration he had for others.
Sincerely, Michael Trouche

Posted by Michael Trouche - Mount Pleasant, SC   April 06, 2019

Dear Gazes sisters and family,
As we bid good-bye to our sister Elizabeth today, John and I send your our condolences for your loss. Your dad served his community so well, and was a leader in his profession.
Blessings on you all,
Chris

Posted by Chris Sosnowski - Wadmalaw Island, SC   April 06, 2019

Dearest all ..so sorry to hear about your dad
With much love and affection nancy and brad walker

Posted by Nancy Walker - charleston, SC - Family Friend   April 06, 2019

My condolences to the Gazes family. Pete was an admired colleague
for many years at MUSC. He was patient enough to play golf with me when I was just learning the game late in life. I always enjoyed his company. He took good care of me and my father. I will always feel great gratitude toward him.

Posted by Marion Woodbury - Summerville, SC   April 06, 2019

My dear Hope, I am so very sorry to hear of the loss of your father. He certainly left an incredible legacy. God's loving arms will see you and your family through the days ahead.
Know you are in my thoughts and prayers.
Jackie Adamson

Posted by A friend   April 05, 2019

A very special place exists for Dr gazes in the heart of all he mentored. I personally remember his message to me on the meaning of life and it's priorities. My thoughts are with all the cardiology fellows who will never forget his positive influence on their lives and practice.

Posted by Russell stapleton - Jacksonville, FL - Student   April 05, 2019

Sincere Condolences to the Gazes Family. Dr Gazes was a truly gifted teacher and physiatrist He will be missed

Posted by Alice Bunnell - Charleston, SC   April 05, 2019

Gods presence was always felt when with Dr. Gazes. He will remain in our hearts. No words can express how blessed we are for the sincerity of his love given to our family. The time given, stories, smiles and laughter, art for the children, all are our treasures. We will forever be grateful to him and his family. May he rest in his fathers arms and peace be given to all who were touched with such a gift as he. Lovingly, The Jenkins Family

Posted by Gordon and Janet Jenkins and Family - Johns Island, SC   April 05, 2019

Dr. Gazes was a fine gentleman and superb physian. He was my father's friend and cardiologist, saving his life on two occasions. My deepest condolences to family and friends.

Posted by Otis Pickett - Columbus, GA - Family Friend   April 05, 2019

Dr. Gazes was a fine gentleman and superb physian. He was my father's friend and cardiologist, saving his life on two occasions. My deepest condolences to family and friends.

Posted by Otis Pickett - Columbus, GA - Family Friend   April 05, 2019

Dr. Gazes was a fine gentleman and superb physian. He was my father's friend and cardiologist, savi his life on two occasions. My deepest condolences to family.

Posted by Otis Pickett - Columbus, GA - Family Friend   April 05, 2019

So grateful for his legacy, at MUSC and in the community. My heart goes out to his lovely family. Prayers for peace and comfort.

Posted by Helen Bertrand, MD - Charleston, SC   April 05, 2019

Dr. Gazes and my father, Julian Keil, worked together at MUSC. Dad was very fond of Pete. They collaborated on many projects and enjoyed one another's sense of humor. Great men from a great generation! Peace be with your family. I know you will really miss him! God promises us we will be reunited in heaven...what a glorious time that will be!

Jean

Posted by Jean Keil - Charleston, SC - Friend   April 05, 2019

Everyone at MUSC loved Dr Gazes and it was a honor to get to work in his clinic. I grew up in St Matthews and his birth was our claim to fame, although his family moved when he was a baby. A true gentleman, his death ends a great era.

Posted by Kaye DeMars Pegram - Greer, SC   April 05, 2019

My wife and I met the great Dr. and lovely Athena in 1976 while they dined at our restaurant. They became regulars and we became friends. Pete always had a recent joke when we met, and those jokes lead him in being the life of the party and best speaker of his serious subject, the heart. I am always in awe of his worldly accomplishments, he had few peers in his field, our Lord Graced him with an extended like so he could continue his fine work until his last breathe or last plate of pasta. And, this cherished doctor was the most caring person I'll ever know. I'm remiss for not being in his company in his senior years. May he rest eternally. Love, Robert and Pam Dickson

Posted by Robert Dickson - Charleston, SC - Family Friend   April 05, 2019

Dan and I would like to express our sincere sympathies for the loss of this wonderful man. Our prayers, love, and hugs are being sent out to you from our family here in Raleigh, NC. Please know that our thoughts are with you at this time. His life was a full and wonderful one, and you are all so lucky to have had him for such a long time. God Bless You ALL, and I pray you will have the Peace that Passeth Understanding as you go through your time of loss. May his soul rest in eternal peace!

Posted by Brenda and Dan Balcome - Wake Forest, NC   April 04, 2019

I send my deepest sympathies to the family. Take comfort in knowing that you will see him again in Heaven. Dr. Gazes was a kind and caring physician who lived out for his patients what he preached about healthy lifestyles. He always had a smile on his face and you could tell he thoroughly enjoyed all aspects of his life. He was a remarkable man that I always looked up to. I can only imagine how many lives he has saved by training so many cardiologists over the years. His life has made lasting impact on our world.

Posted by Bonnie Paterniti - Charleston, SC - Acquaintance   April 04, 2019


Family Album


Life Stories

It was my privilege to be a student of Dr. Gazes in the era before coronary angiography, stents, CT scans and most medications in use today. His love of teaching, his sense of humor and his vast storehouse of pearls of wisdom inspired awe which has not faded after more than 40 years of practice. Condolences to all who have been fortunate enough to know this wonderful man.