A Legacy of Accomplishment, “Doctor Keith” Passes

June 9, 2013 in Analysis & Editorial

Dr. M. Keith Nadel and Mary NadelOCALA, Fla. (June 2, 2013) — Dr. M. Keith Nadel passed Sunday morning at his home in Ocala. A dear friend to this writer and many in the community, he will be greatly missed. Most locals knew him as Keith, or “Dr. Keith”. This week we mourn his loss, but we celebrate his life and his part in our lives.

Nadel is survived by his beloved wife Mary, sister Mara, brother David; three sons, Michael, Gary and David; daughter Rachel; eight grandchildren; and eight great-grandchildren. Nadel and his wife moved to Ocala in 2002. Mary Nadel is a family genealogist and a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution.

A memorial service for Nadel will be held at Countryside Presbyterian Church at 11:00 a.m. on Tuesday, June 11.

Nadel Hails from Brookline, Mass., where he was born on Oct. 2, 1926. He led a life of active public service and earned wide plaudits in circles of business, government and medicine for achievements in all sectors. He commanded high respect too for his decorated service during World War II.

Nadel joined the Army at age 16, and trained for infantry. He quickly advanced to Corporal and attained the rank of Lt. Colonel at age 19. At Iwo Jima, during his early military service, he was distinguished with several stripes and his first silver star. For the invasion of Ie Shima, the first invasion of Okinawa, he received his second silver star.

Following relief from battalion command, he assumed responsibilities in Tokyo for the conversion of Japanese munitions industries to domestic production. During that time he initiated steps himself to provide shelter for a fast growing flock of several hundred children orphaned during wartime. Recognition of his humanitarian efforts led to his serving as an aide to Supreme Commander Gen. Douglas MacArthur.

Nadel attended the University of Tokyo at MacArthur’s direction and continued his education back on the U.S. mainland at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, and at Amherst College in English Literature. During these school years he met his future wife Mary. He continued on to earn a medical degree, a master’s degree in public health, and a doctorate in molecular biology. Ultimately he earned six university degrees including three doctorates.

Nadel made the rank of full reserve colonel at age 32 and was set to retire as a reserve officer. However, at the direction of the Secretary of Defense his retirement was deferred. He was reassigned from Army service to the Navy and raised to flag rank. He was assigned to solve certain national security threats in the field of biological warfare. On completion of his Navy service he retired as admiral with four stars.

Nadel also held the posts of NYC health commissioner, physician-in-charge at the United Nations and interim U.S. surgeon general. He served in various public service capacities in the Nixon, Ford and Carter administrations. In the private sector, Nadel served as CEO and chairman at several companies and his expertise was been widely sought after globally.

In retirement, Nadel remained active in a wide range of educational and public service endeavors. In Ocala, he was active in many church ministries and led an extensive lecture series in the community. He was known for his expertise on matters of public policy and community interest, and his lectures sponsored by the Master the Possibilities continuing education program serving On Top of the World Communities.


Keith, for all you have been to us, we salute you.