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Dr. Gregory Emery, 50, anesthesiologist, part of California practice


Dr. Gregory Emery, an anesthesiologist and former Baltimorean, died July 14 of heart failure at Pendleton Methodist Hospital in New Orleans. He was 50 and lived in San Jose, Calif.

Dr. Emery was the first black student to attend Gilman School in Roland Park, said his mother, Anne Emery of Baltimore. By the time of his 1968 graduation, three other blacks had gained admission, and all graduated the same year.

He then attended Loyola College and earned his medical degree from the University of Maryland School of Medicine. He completed his residency in anesthesiology at Stanford University in 1980, and that year joined Porter and Swedish Hospitals in Denver.

In 1981, he went to work at O'Connor Hospital in San Jose, Calif., and was named chief of anesthesiology in the mid-1990s. In 1997, he became a partner in the Forest Surgical Center in San Jose, remaining there until his death.

Born in Birmingham, Ala., Dr. Emery moved to New Orleans as a child, then to Baltimore in the early 1960s.

A talented vocalist, he had performed since he was in middle school.

"If you heard him sing, you'd know he had an experience with a higher being," said Willa Bolden of Baltimore, who knew Dr. Emery since his early teens.

"He was very talented, a person of outstanding ability. It was amazing that he was able to sing and still be a doctor," said Carolyn Boston of Baltimore, a longtime family friend.

In the 1980s, Dr. Emery joined the San Francisco Symphony Choir. He also was a member of the San Jose Light Opera Company, where he starred in the musicals "Porgy and Bess" and "Dreamgirls."

Every year since 1993, Dr. Emery had given benefit concerts at Heritage United Church of Christ on Liberty Heights Avenue in Northwest Baltimore, where his family worships. The proceeds went to a scholarship fund for members of the church.

"He was always willing to do whatever he could for you," Mrs. Bolden said.

In 1997, Dr. Emery completed "Legacy," an album of traditional and contemporary gospel music.

He was an avid traveler and visited Portugal, Hong Kong, Scotland, Japan and other countries.

A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday at United Church of Christ, 3110 Liberty Heights Ave.

In addition to his mother, Dr. Emery is survived by his father, Vallen L. Emery of Baltimore; two brothers, Vallen L. Emery Jr. and Travis C. Emery, both of Los Angeles; and his paternal grandparents, Travis and Lizzie Emery of New Orleans.

Memorial donations may be made to the Emery Family Scholarship Fund at Heritage United Church of Christ, 3110 Liberty Heights Ave., Baltimore 21215.

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