#OceanLoveEarl: RIP Earl Kanter, MD – 12/23/21 – 6/23/13 | Beth's Blog

#OceanLoveEarl: RIP Earl Kanter, MD – 12/23/21 – 6/23/13


My Dad with his Greg Noll Surfboard with me and my brother

RIP:  Earl Kanter, MD
Love Never Dies
December 23,  1921 – June 23, 2013

After a long and painful battle with Parkinson’s disease, my father passed away peacefully this week.  While I feel a profound sense of loss, what gives me comfort is that I had a remarkable father in so many ways.  I’m left with one final life lesson from him:  love never dies. His spirit, intelligence, joy of life, sense of humor, and wisdom will always be with me and our family.


My father had a deep-seated love of the ocean and was a life guard for 15 years for the Ventnor City Beach Patrol.  He was a swimmer in college and high school and was an accomplished competitive swimmer.    This honed his appetite for frolicking in the hurricane swells that sweep the ocean in late summer.    He introduced surfing to the Jersey Shore in the 1960’s – He was an early adopter, teaching himself how to surf and owned the first  Greg Noll surfboard.  In an article about his surfing in the local newspaper, he said, “I like the thrill of riding a large waves – it’s like climbing Mount Everest.”

Dad’s Beach

To honor my Dad’s memory and his love of the ocean, I am  raising money for Surfrider Foundation in his memory to support their ocean conservation efforts.   We will also adopt the beach at Brunswick Avenue in his memory.

My love for my Dad will never die. And his love for ocean will live on through the work of Surfrider Foundation.

Please donate to SurfRider Foundation in his memory.

Tribute to My Dad

With 6 out 7 grandchildren

He loved my Mom, his four children, and  7 grandchildren dearly.   When he was almost 80, he and my mother accompanied my husband and I to Cambodia to adopt our first child, Harry.    He gave Harry his first bath and soothed  him by holding him and dancing around singing “I’m Just Wild About Harry” that I captured my first digital camera.   Our family was blessed by an elder monk who asked my father his age and bowed to him when he learned my Dad was older.


My father was an OB-GYN in Margate, NJ for many years.  He brought much joy to many families by delivering their babies.  He was known for his compassion, awesome bedside manner, humor and always there for his patients.   He taught me his strong work ethic, giving back, and that job is not just a job but can be a calling.

I feel lucky to have been able to spend a few weeks with him this month towards the end of his life, although my mother and sister have done all the heavy lifting for his care during the past couple of years.   He told me to go back to California and not to neglect my family or work.

He chose OB medical specialty because he wanted an area of medicine that was joyful and happy – despite the long and unpredictable hours. He was an early adopter of wearing  “beeper technology”  in the late 60’s.   Our family nick-named the beeper “ruin the day machine” because whenever it beeped it meant that he had to drop everything and rush to the hospital to deliver a baby.

When I was 5 years old, I asked him “Where do babies come from?”   He pulled out a medical film strip and his Bell and Howe projector and gave me a detailed scientific lecture to answer the question.   I remember taking notes and drawings.  Later I  shared my learning with the neighborhood kids which prompted phone calls to my parents.

He loved gadgets and technology, especially computers, cameras, and the Internet.    His first computer was an Apple IIE in 1980.   He was an early adopter of SKYPE.  One of my most memorable Skype calls was when I had forgot to turn switch off SKYPE during a presentation to health care nonprofits about social media in 2007.  Participants, who were in the 60s and 70s were protesting they were “too old,” when my Dad’s SKYPE profile showed up on the screen.  I told them that my Dad was almost 90 and if he can use the Internet, they can too!

Even at age 90, he was wanted to learn new computer tricks and was open to “reverse” mentoring from his grandson, Harry.   During his  last month,  I entertained him by showing him how to ask Siri silly questions.   He suggested an updated plot for Twilight Zone episode “The Long Distance Call” where a young boy talks to his deceased grandmother on a toy phone.  (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Long_Distance_Call)   We laughed together as I said I could always reach him through Siri.

The last good photo we took together was as “selfie,” although in 1963 we took one together using his Minox camera.

He was interested in my work used to say, “My daughter the blogger.” He wanted to learn how to blog.  He started his own blog, although short-lived, called “My Name Is Earl”  Here a series of videos of the conversations we had about learning how to blog.

Two weeks ago, I got to share with him the  news that my second book, made the finals of the Terry McAdam award.


I’m metabolizing my grief my doing this online fundraiser in his memory to raise money for ocean conservation for SurfRider Foundation as well as do a virtual paddle out via Twitter hashtag #OceanLoveEarl on July 3rd. We will adopt the beach where he surfed in his name.

I will be taking a short break from blogging except for reminders about the virtual paddle out and fundraiser. At some point, I will share with you some lessons learned about online fundraising, hope you will help me celebrate my father’s memory.

Thank you.

55 Responses

  1. Kim East says:

    What a beautiful tribute, Beth. Your Dad sounds like a terrific man. Someone I would have loved to surf with! Hang in there and take care of yourself, and please give Earl my best via Siri. 😉

  2. Phyllis M. Perkins, MDFACOG says:

    Dear Beth,
    I knew your father when he let me spend some shadowing time in his office in Somers Point when I was a senior resident in obstetrics and gynecology at Temple University Hospital.I grew up every summer in Atlantic City, as did my mother. My mother had dated your father for a short while in the 1940’s. Just before I went to his office to spend 3 weeks, my mother told me the story of how they went with another couple to have drinks at the old Brighton Hotel garden. She said that he was very embarrassed because he got up and spilled beer all over her dress. My mother has a very good memory, as do I. When your father first saw me, he told me the story of how he spilled beer all over my mother when they went out once. It was funny that he told the same exact story that my mother did. When I was born at Jefferson Hospital in 1951, I believe my parents saw him as an intern there. My mother also remembered that she went out with him in his parents’ grocery store truck, and that he had go to the bay and dump a bag of garbage over into the bay.
    I knew your uncle, your father’s brother who lived on Bartram Ave. for a while, for that was our family’s beach. My mother pointed him out to me. My mother said your father was tall and handsome as a young man with reddish hair. My mother is now 93 years old and my father is now 92 years old. My mother is a retired teacher, and my father is a retired pharmacist. I had to move them out of their retirement home in Atlantic City to an independent living facility in Hollywood, Florida. I ended up practicing obstetrics and gynecology in Atlantic City from 1981 to 2005. I live in Linwood now. If you want to call me for more information, my cell is: 609-226-8108. I will show my mother the older pictures of your father. Take care!
    Phyllis M. Perkins, MD MPH FACOG FCPP

  3. rita purdy says:

    your father delivered my 3 children 1965, 1971 and 1972. My son born in 1971 was born because of your father’s following closely in Shore Mem Hospital labor room. I got in trouble during my labor and with firemen running thru the labor room because of a emergency fire alarm, he made the decision to deliver my baby by C-section. When born he had the cord tightly wrapped around his neck and would not have lived had he gone thru a normal delivery. So you see my angel was your dad watching out for my son and myself. I have always had a special place in my thoughts for him especially when I look at my son. God Bless you and your family for such a wonderful man. So happy he became a doctor.

  4. […] #OceanLoveEarl: RIP Earl Kanter, MD – 12/23/21 – 6/23/13 […]

  5. Christi says:

    This is a beautiful tribute to you father, Beth. He sounds like an amazing man, and clearly full of love and joy for his family and others’ family – and obviously so proud of you and your incredible work!