Dr. Nathaniel P. Selleck

Dr. Nathaniel P. Selleck, 85, died Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2013 at his home in Keene.

He was born in Danbury, Conn. on March 20. 1928. After graduating from Danbury High School in 1945, at the age of 17, he enlisted in the U.S. Army and was sent to the University of Minnesota where he learned to speak Japanese. He spent one year as chief clerk in the executive officer’s office in the Manila branch of the War Crimes Trials in the Philippine Islands.

He received a Bachelor of Arts degree with high honors from the University of Connecticut in 1951. He received his Doctorate in Medicine from the State University of New York, Downstate, in Brooklyn, 1955.

Dr. Selleck’s father and grandfather, both named Nathaniel, were also physicians and both practiced general medicine in Danbury.

Dr. Selleck’s mother was the former Marion Porter. His mother and father were divorced when he was 13 years old.

Dr. Selleck married Ruth Thyberg in 1949, and was the father of four splendid children: Barbara Jean Selleck, MSM, born in 1954, Nancy Gail Selleck, Ph.D., born in 1956, Nathaniel Selleck, J.D., born in 1957, and Kathryn Ann Shea, J.D., born in 1958.

After a one-year internship at Danbury Hospital Dr. Selleck practiced general medicine from 1956 to 1961. He served as secretary of the medical staff for three years. In 1961 he returned to New York City for three years of residency training, the first two years at Bellevue Hospital and the third at the Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center.

His internal medicine training focused on pulmonary and cardiac disease.

He practiced Internal Medicine in Danbury from 1964 to 1970. From 1967 to 1970 Dr. Selleck served as the elected chairman of the medical department at the hospital. It was during these years that Dr. Selleck and Dr. Nilo Herrera led the successful effort to change the medical staff by-laws to allow for chairmen of clinical departments to be appointed by the Board of Trustees rather than elected by physicians in a particular department. Thus, in 1970 the Department of Medicine became the first clinical department to have full-time chairmen appointed by the Board of Trustees. This opened the way for other clinical departments of surgery, obstetrics, pediatrics and psychiatry to follow suit.

Dr. Selleck was married to Barbara Stout from 1965 to 1976 when they were divorced. In 1970, Dr. Selleck again relinquished his Internal Medicine Practice to join the Danbury hospital staff as director of ambulatory services. In the early 1970s, he spearheaded the drive to create two new departments of the medical staff, a department of psychiatry and a department of dentistry. One of the reasons for developing these departments was to provide appropriate supervision for the Mental Health Clinic and the General Dentistry Clinic that Dr. Selleck was establishing.

During the 1970s, federal and state grants were available, and Dr. Selleck obtained well over a million dollars to help set up over 30 clinics. Some clinics such as Pediatric Surgery and Genetics are highly specialized, and Dr. Selleck was able to arrange for Yale Physicians to visit Danbury periodically to staff them. Dr. Selleck was an assistant clinical professor of Medicine on the faculty at Yale; and, in addition to teaching physical diagnosis to second year medical students, he was preceptor for several groups of students from the Yale School of Public Health who were assigned full-semester research projects at the Danbury Hospital. During the year he was at the hospital and until his retirement Dr. Selleck continued to see a small coterie of private patients of his who were elderly or infirm, he continued to make house calls.

In 1981, Dr. Selleck and Emily Lanier were married. Their son Jefferson Laniere Selleck, born in October 1981, is a graduate of Cornell University.

While at the hospital during the years 1985 through 1990, Dr. Selleck developed an out patient program called Corporate Health Care, which was a physician-centered managed care program. The provision of good medical care and seeing that employees went back to work in a timely fashion was valueable to corporate employers, and the program met with considerable success.

After 20 years at the hospital, Dr. Selleck resigned and opened a private office in 1990 for the practice of occupational medicine, which he continued until his retirement in January 1997. In June of 1997, Dr. Selleck, Emily and Jefferson moved from Redding, Connecticut to Keene in the Adirondack Mountains.

Dr. Selleck continued to be active in his retirement, serving on the Board of Essex County Public Health Department and the Essex County Community Services Board. He served on the Board of Trustees of the Keene Valley Neighborhood House for five years. And he served for several years as chairman of the Ethics Committee at Adirondack Medical Center in Saranac Lake.

He is survived by his wife, Emily; five children; and five grandchildren: Kristen Leah Selleck, Nora Shea, Margaret Shea, Nathaniel Selleck, and William Selleck; his brother, Robert Seleck; his niece, Kristy Iorfino; and three half-siblings: JoAnn Carnahan, MSN, David Selleck, D.V.M., and Cindy Selleck, Ph.D.

There are no calling hours. A graveside service will be held at the convenience of the family. The M.B. Clark Inc. Funeral Home in Lake Placid is in charge of arrangements.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests open your hearts and minds, and make donations in

memory of Dr. Selleck to High Peaks Hospice, P. O. Box 840, Saranac Lake, NY 12983.

Relatives and friends are invited to “light a candle” and share a memory or leave online condolences at www.mbclarkfuneralhome.com.