Dr. Igal Silber, MD 1936-2021
March 8, 1936 - December 28, 2021 As a resident of Orange County for 50 years and Laguna Beach for 44 years, Igal Silber has been part of the fabric of the community.
He pioneered the practice of Pediatric Urology in Orange County, participated in multiple charitable and cultural institutions, and connected to a multitude of residents as friends and colleagues.
Igal loved life and lived it to the fullest with broad and deep passions in many disparate fields. Igal was born in Israel and served in the Israeli military as a physician, after receiving his MD degree from Hadassah Medical School of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.
While already in the US for his Pediatric Urology residency he flew back to Israel for both the 1967 Six-Day War and the 1973 Yom Kippur War, where he served as a physician treating wounded soldiers as well as POWs.
After a year's general surgery residency at Mt Sinai Hospital in NYC, where he met his wife Diane, he completed a residency in Urology at Washington University St Louis, followed by a fellowship in Pediatric Urology at The Hospital for Sick Kids in Toronto.
He joined the faculty of the UCI Medical School and opened his private practice for Pediatric Urology. He was a pioneer in this new subspecialty being the first and only Pediatric Urologist in Orange County until Joseph Raffel joined him in the practice years later. They remained the only Orange County Pediatric Urology practice.
He served a term as chief of the Medical Staff of CHOC and retired in 1996.
Igal was an adventurer at heart and in action. He, along with four others, retraced Perry's trip across the Arctic Ocean on sleds with dogs and an Innuit team led by Perry's grandson. He climbed Mt Kilimanjaro and Mt Whitney. He mountain biked across the Himalayan Kush between Kyrgyzstan, China, and into Pakistan at elevations up to 16,000 ft. He ran 8 marathons, including the Boston Marathon twice.
He had broad tastes culturally as well. He was an opera and classical music buff but thrilled to the rock concerts of The Band in the '70s. He loved theater, film, and dance (classical and contemporary). In the '60s while in medical school, he was selected to represent Israel as one of eight folk dancers. He toured through Europe with this amateur dance group.
In their travels, he and Diane managed to cover 6 of the seven continents with Antarctica being the only one missed. He was an avid reader, mostly nonfiction-especially biography and history.
Over the last 21 years, he and his wife split their time between Laguna Beach and Washington DC where they made many wonderful friends.
A passion for art was shared with Diane and they started collecting from the beginning of their marriage. They bought art before furniture, which guests seated on the floor didn't appreciate. They loved contemporary figurative painting and sculpture. Building a significant contemporary ceramic collection, which has been exhibited in museums and will be donated to AMOCA, was a joyful lifelong endeavor.
Philanthropically, Igal cared deeply about those in need, scientific research, and our cultural institutions. He served on the Boards of the Laguna Art Museum (where he served as President of the Board 2003-2006), Laguna College of Art and Design (where he and Diane set up a fund for students in need), the American Museum of Ceramic Art, and the Laguna Food Pantry.
In addition to supporting the mission of the Pantry that no one should go hungry, Igal started a book program that he solely supported. He believed families in need probably couldn't afford to buy their children books. So, he worked with local libraries to buy children's books, enabling each child in the family to receive a book each time their parents came to the Pantry for food.
He and Diane also donated to several departments at UCI, including the Center for Neurobiology, Learning and Memory (CNLM), the Claire Trevor School of the Arts, and multiple other nonprofits and cultural institutions. His music collection is now housed at the UCI Music Dept.
Igal touched the lives of many. Some knew him for one or two of his many interests, while family and friends knew him through possibly all. But everyone who was fortunate enough to have been touched by him will remember him for his intellect, sense of adventure, passion for life, and caring for his fellow human beings, especially those less fortunate.
He will be dearly missed. On January 6th he would have been married 54 years to the love of his life, Diane. He had always shared with her how grateful he was for such a rich and meaningful life.
In addition to Diane, Igal is survived by his beloved sister Sarah and her family in Israel, as well as many close friends whom he considered to be family as well.
In Lieu of flowers, donations in his memory can be made to the Silber Family Scholarship Fund at Laguna College of Art and Design ( https://www.lcad.edu/Igal) or to the Laguna Food Pantry (http://www.lagunafoodpantry.org/in-honor-of-dr-silber).
Published by Orange County Register on Jan. 9, 2022.