4th Great Grandson of Capt. David Perry
(1928, Logan, Cache, Utah - 2006, Bountiful, Davis, Utah)
Dr. Ariel George Gudmundson, 77, loving husband, father, grandfather, great-grandfather, physician, and friend, passed away peacefully, surrounded by his devoted family, at Lakeview Hospital on Friday, May 19, 2006 at 9:44 a.m. [NOTE, 3/25/2009: After a massive stroke, his dear wife Bonnie S. Gudmundson followed him on 17 April 2007 less than a year later. She died in the University of Utah Medical Center. She was also 77.]
Ariel was born July 3, 1928 in Logan, Utah, the youngest son of Arthur Daniel Gudmundson and Annie Maria "Rye" Bingham
Given an uncommon name,
Ariel was expected to make something extraordinary of himself, to shoot for the stars.
And that he did.
As he grew, he preferred to go by his initials "A.G." In junior high and high school
he was nicknamed "Abe," short for Abraham Lincoln, partly because he
was tall and thin and partly because he was honest — he wouldn't cheat on anything.
He was also called "Goodie" from medical school days onward, due to the
pronunciation of his surname. He attended Logan High School where, because of his expertise in chemistry,
he was known as "Silver," Ag being the chemical symbol for the element silver.
During the awards
assembly at the end of his senior year, Ariel received the coveted Bosch and Lomb Science Award.
He graduated from Logan High in 1946 and attended
Utah State Agricultural College (now Utah State University)
for his freshman year.
Ariel continued his education at the University of Utah,
where he met his eternal companion,
Bonnie Virginia Stucki, a 17-year-old Elementary Education student there minoring in English.
Courting her faithfully from the time they met in 1947, Ariel and Bonnie were married on August 31, 1950, in the Salt Lake LDS Temple
shortly before Bonnie graduated. Their courtship never ended.
Ariel graduated from the University of Utah with a B.S. degree in Biochemistry (1950) and in Pharmacy (1956). In the interim, he pursued graduate work in anatomy at the "U" and doctoral work in biochemistry at the University of California at Berkeley. While working as a Graduate Research Engineer at Berkeley, Ariel invented a "high vac[vacuum] drying oven" for the Department of Mines and Minerals, which was still in use over thirty years later. He was "always creating novel and better ways of doing things," Bonnie remembers. One day while in a chemistry lab, he looked around at other students bent over their chemical paraphernalia and realized that he wanted to work with people not test tubes for the rest of his life. He believed he could be of more use to his fellowmen as a physician. So it was back to the University of Utah, this time to Pharmacy School, a logical choice considering his background in biochemistry. Moreover, it would be a valuable resource and stepping stone to reach his ultimate goal — acceptance into medical school. It would also be a practical, medically oriented occupation to pursue while actually in med school. In his pharmaceutical studies, one of Ariel's first reports (dated May 22, 1953) was on the newly propounded chemical rule of "Steric Control of Asymmetric Induction." For his original research in the field of chemistry, he was elected to Sigma Psi, a prestigious national science fraternity. His grades were excellent, and as a result he was also elected to the national scholastic honor society Phi Rho. During his schooling, Ariel co-authored a number of articles related to biochemistry; one of these, entitled "Preparation and Properties of β-3-Indolyl Compounds Related to Tryptophan Metabolism," completed in 1954, was published in the Journal of Organic Chemistry in 1958.1
In February 1956, Ariel was accepted into the University of Utah School of Medicine, upon which occasion he said, "An acceptance! Well, I won't say it isn't a surprise!" Working, as he had planned, as a pharmacist while attending med school,* he completed his internship at Holy Cross Hospital in Salt Lake City (now Salt Lake Regional Hospital), and received his M.D. degree in 1961. He enjoyed relating the story how, when he walked across the stage to accept his diploma, daughter number five toddled up to him. He handed her his diploma and, pointing at his wife seated beside his four other daughters, said, "See that lady? Take it to her; she earned it!" Now signing his name "A.G. Gudmundson, M.D.," Dr. Gudmundson decided to specialize in the area of medicine dealing with birth (as opposed to death) and women's health, and continued on to complete his three-year residency in obstetrics and gynecology. He accomplished this in two stages: his first 18 months were spent at the University of California at San Francisco; and, after an interval, completed his last 18 months at Highland General Hospital in Oakland, California (1967). As a new doctor, Ariel had practiced medicine for a short time at the Bountiful Clinic before finishing his residency in OB-GYN. He had moved his family from Marinwood on the outskirts of San Rafael, California, to an area later incorporated into Bountiful, Utah. By then a son had been born to Ariel and Bonnie, the caboose to their train of five daughters.
Upon completion of his residency, Dr. Gudmundson set up his medical practice in Bountiful, occupying a downstairs suite in the Bountiful Medical Plaza on 1500 South and Orchard Drive, and soon became Board Certified in Obstetrics and Gynecology. He was the first specialist in private practice in the Bountiful area, the first with the courage to strike out on his own. These were the days before medical advertisements, when doctors new to an area was dependent on referrals from other doctors. There were a couple of medical clinics in Bountiful, but no referrals for a non-clinic M.D. It was very difficult at first, but once Dr. Gudmundson began to be known, mostly through word-of-mouth, patients began to flock in and Ariel worked to recruit other much-needed specialists to the community. He could be very persuasive, and used this gift ethically, wisely, and well. Soon there was a core of excellent specialists. In the early 1970s, Ariel also shared his knowledge and expertise as a clinical instructor in OB-GYN at the University Hospital. His exceptional background in biochemistry and pharmacy stood him in good stead as a physician. Around this time, Ariel was recruited by Upjohn to work in their research department developing new drugs. He and his wife were flown to Kalamazoo, Michigan, where they were accorded the red carpet treatment. He considered the job, but feeling he could do more good practicing his specialty, he turned it down in order to raise his children in the family-oriented environment of Utah.
Throughout his career Dr. Gudmundson worked tirelessly to advance good medicine, earning him another nickname: Dr. Goodmedicine.
A man of foresight, it could be said that he applied the Scientific Method to all he did.
One of his maxims was “cross that bridge when you come to it,” but he prepared for the possible bridges ahead.
Highly organized with a good deal of business acumen, in 1974
Dr. Gudmundson was instrumental with others in the
construction of the medical office complex that he named "425 Medical Drive."
Officially the street itself had no name, it only existed as a by-product of the building's construction —
just a short, dead-end road to approach the building amidst orchards and fields, with South Davis Community Hospital some acres below.
When Ariel told the city planners the name of the building, twice because of their surprise, they graciously agreed
to name the street "Medical Drive," and so it has remained while the area 425 Medical Drive overlooks has grown into a whole
community of medical buildings. Although the complex has also been called "Mountain View Medical Center" since 1984
(after Mountain View Pharmacy located inside the front entrance), the name 425 Medical Drive has stuck, and most people still know it by that name.
The original large, bold, now-faded white letters "425 Medical Drive” yet remain across the front of the building's entrance,
mute testament to the vision of one man.
Architecturally, the building was the product of a cooperative effort but reflects the scope of Ariel's intellect and his own design.
He worked closely with architects to achieve a well-laid-out structure that was aesthetically pleasing, spacious, and welcoming
— inside and out —
yet compact, functional, and accessible for all who used it: whether doctor, patient, pharmacist, lab technician,
employee or visitor.
With expansion built into its plans, the first of the complex’s two stages was completed and occupied
before any other medical buildings were begun. Ariel convinced corporate executive Dr. Thomas Frist
of the Hospital Corporation of America, to build their new hospital in the acres of orchards across the street from 425 Medical Drive, displaying to him the breath-taking panorama from Ariel's Suite 200 consultation room window overlooking
the Great Salt Lake below. "Isn't that a beautiful lake view?" he said.
Before long, Lakeview Hospital appeared, dedicated in September 1976, and Medical Drive became a
wide curved road down to the main thoroughfare of Orchard Drive. Instead of driving down to South Davis Community Hospital
(which became an extended care facility), doctors in the complex —
and in later medical complexes as the Medical Drive area grew —
"jog" back and forth across the short distance to the hospital.
This was especially handy for obstetricians
and their patients in labor and delivery. Dr. Gudmundson made the jaunt many times in the course of a day, or
day by day, keeping tabs on those in labor or recovering from childbirth
or various types of surgery while still seeing patients in the office.
Dr. Gudmundson left as little to chance as humanly possible. Constantly he sought to improve,
to be up on the latest techniques, knowledge, and medical advances, to be at the top in his field,
so that he might educate his patients, lay before them all options, and give them
the best care available. It would be impossible to find a physician more diligent and concerned
for the welfare of his patients than was he, or, as one patient said,
with a kinder heart. His self-imposed, on-going training included reading many medical and scientific journals
and attending conferences and seminars given by the
American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology.
At one of these, years before Lakeview Hospital existed, he learned of the newly invented fetal monitoring system and
came home to introduce this new life-saving tool to the directors at South Davis Community Hospital,
arguing strongly in its favor and urging the directors to expend the funds to acquire one.
At that point, the relatively small South Davis Community Hospital would have been
the first hospital in the state of Utah to have a fetal monitor.
As it was, despite his ongoing efforts
the directors waited before finally deciding to buy.
The University of Utah Hospital purchased a fetal monitor just a few months before South Davis Community did,
making South Davis the second hospital in the state
to have one, with other hospitals along the Wasatch Front following suit in rapid succession.
Still, South Davis Community Hospital had the distinction of being the first privately owned hospital in Utah to own
a fetal monitoring system, putting this small hospital on the cutting edge
with the largest hospitals in the state.
At South Davis Community Hospital, in its first two months of use,
the constant data provided by the fetal monitor enabled doctors to intervene early enough to save several
infant lives. To Dr. Gudmundson, the life of one would have been sufficient to justify
the monitor's purchase.
A February 1971 Deseret News article featuring the new fetal monitoring system at
South Davis Community Hospital, included a photograph of Dr. Gudmundson with the equipment.
The photograph is typical of the man: the focus was always away from himself, toward the goal — that
which benefitted others. In this case, focus was on the new invention and what it represented:
the lives it would help doctors save.
Dr. Gudmundson took women's health seriously, both as an obstetrician and a gynecologist.
He had an exceptionally high regard for women.
That he had degrees in biochemistry and pharmacy made him an
extraordinary physician — he actually knew and understood the medications drug companies marketed,
giving him an inside view of their strengths and weaknesses. Furthermore, he understood the biochemistry
of the human body to a degree most physicians could not.
Regarding women's health, he was one of the first physicians in the area to advocate and
practice Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT).
For well over 25 years, Dr. Gudmundson fought to further women's health and quality of life,
in addition to the health of their unborn children and the safety of both during childbirth.
One nurse who worked for him for many years stated in tribute,
"He was a man ahead of his time."
Dr. Gudmundson was respected, loved, and
trusted by his patients for many reasons:
his excellent bedside manner; his gentleness; his professional matter-of-fact demeanor;
his up-to-date knowledge and expertise; his
sense of humor; his approachability; his ability to treat each patient as a whole, unique individual;
his taking the time to state and explain all the options;
and his simply taking the time. "You could talk to him about your fears, your feelings...about anything," one patient
recalled. "If you asked him a question, you could count on his giving you both the facts and his opinion,
clearly and succinctly, without confusing the two." He drew on his vast knowledge and experience,
and on the wisdom gained in the process. "He was not afraid to call in a second opinion," said another patient.
"For him there was no question of ego, only of determining the best course to pursue." He performed surgery,
including cesarean sections, only when medically necessary though he was an exceptional surgeon.
Partially ambidextrous, with each hand he had spent countless hours while in med school practicing tying sutures
on his bedstead until he reached a speed and efficiency that met his exacting standards. Speed, however, was only part of the
equation. He was firmly of the opinion that, as he often said, "A fast surgeon isn't necessarily good, but a good surgeon has to be fast."
A high level of respect was accorded him not by patients alone, but by colleagues, hospital staff,
his office staff, and others with whom he associated, whether in the
medical field, in his family, or as an employer of a neighbor boy to work in his yard who said in remembrance,
"He was always so kind to me!" Always genuine, Ariel gave of himself to others.
Dr. Gudmundson's humor could diffuse the most tense situations.
Once, before the days of precise ultrasound, he was delivering a patient whose baby was too small for the size of the mother's
abdomen, and he knew there had to be another on one the way.
While continuing the delivery, he said to her, "Mrs. B., you have twins."
"AAAH!" she bawled. "What am I going to do with twins?"
"Lady," he calmly replied, "just spread your love around."
Known affectionately to his colleagues, medical staff, patients, and friends as A.G., Doc Goodie, or simply Goodie, (or, in the case of his grandchildren, Grandpa Goodie), he delivered over 5,000 babies during his career. He was always deeply grateful for being able to do what he loved as a profession — bringing new life into the world, and recognizing when he'd been part of life-saving miracles. By choice, he took call for himself for most of his practice because he believed that patients received the best care when they were consistently seen by the same doctor. In the capacity of obstetrician, it was his sincere endeavor to see his patients through, from early pregnancy to delivery and postpartum care. With all his patients he based his care on the premise of honesty and trust. A true physician, Dr. Gudmundson held the Hippocratic oath inviolable: a favorite maxim of his from that oath was primum non nocere — "first, do no harm."
A treasured item that hung on Dr. Gudmundson's office wall, and later in his living room at home, was
a sculpted Staff of Aesculapius,
the symbol of a healer.
Known interchangeably as the "caduceus,"
the Staff of Aesculapius should not be confused with the "magical" staff carried, in Greek mythology, by Hermes,
herald of the gods, which is depicted as two snakes entwining themselves head-to-head upward about a winged staff.
Though Hermes' staff is sometimes used as the insignia of the medical profession,
the more legitimate and appropriate symbol of medicine, as Dr. G. liked to point out, is Aesculapius' single serpent
twined about a wooden staff
— reminiscent of the brazen serpent upon a staff made by Moses that symbolized,
among other things, the power of faith and its effect in the healing process: to look on it was to live.
Possessing a cool head and warm heart, Dr. Gudmundson had the hands of a healer, and with his skill (and the help of God)
he saved the lives of
many women and infants; for, inevitably, times of crisis came. One such woman, an artist, painted his
portrait to show her gratitude.
Always a symbol from his heart, Dr. G. scanned his sculpted caduceus into the computer, added color, and, with his ever-active and creative mind,
used it as a trademark on his computer publications; his posterity will remember it on the back of
the personalized birthday and other greeting cards he and their mother, a poet, created for each other and each member of their
Dr. Gudmundson retired from private practice in 1989. Excelling in almost anything he put his mind and hands to, during his later years Ariel became a self-taught computer expert, using his computer skills to bless the lives of his family and friends. Not only did he act as advisor and consultant, but he quietly and unobtrusively produced multiple materials to assist them in their many endeavors. These included formatting, editing, and publishing books, booklets, and family biographies. ### Comfortable as either teacher or student, many are the hours he spent seated at the computer, a child or grandchild beside him, imparting his knowledge, teaching (and learning) computer skills, meticulously formatting or helping to format their publications and projects, working together on this or that, or simply spending time "doing computer together." He was a true patriarch to his family, helping them with medical problems, and lending interest and support in whatever they attempted to do. Whenever asked for it, he would give both the facts and his honest opinion, in a clear, forthright manner. A member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, he helped and supported his wife Bonnie in many church callings, the latest of which was unofficially serving as co-director of the North Canyon Fifth Ward name extraction program. He was devoted to Bonnie and she to him, and in their close relationship they were an example to their posterity of what marriage could and was designed to be.
Throughout his life, Ariel loved learning, and used his intellect for the good of mankind. He believed in serving the Lord and his fellowmen in a quiet, unpretentious way, without recognition or fanfare. He did nothing for his own glory: it was the goal that mattered. His greatest joys came in spending time with his family — fishing and camping at Flaming Gorge; family picnics and work parties; special walks through the “toolies” and long talks; timely “soireés;” visits with his “clan;” scientific and mathematic “lectures” and not so trivial "trivia" sharing; pulling loose teeth; Igor impressions complete with plastic fangs and (freely mixing film characters) a Transylvanian accent saying, "I vant to suck your blood," sending his kids, screaming and laughing, scrambling for safety behind a locked bathroom door — and in doing kind things for others. A walking encyclopedia for his family, he was always learning, always interested in mathematical and scientific advances, and he shared and patiently explained what he learned regarding new discoveries, from fractals to the unlocking of the genome. Astronomy was another another of his passions. We as his family can never forget his phone calls to tell us, in an eager voice, of Space Shuttle launchings or of natural occurrences in the skies and astronomical sights to be seen: eclipses, alignments of planets, comets, meteor showers, Mars the closest it would be to earth for another hundred years, and other such delights.
Ariel was a man of integrity.
He taught us "to make the world a better place for your having been here," and he lived what he taught.
Many feel forever blessed to have known him. As for his family, we have lost more than a husband, father, grandfather,
and great grandfather, we have also lost a computer expert, a counselor, a steadfast support, a reference guide, a teacher,
a doctor, and friend.
Socrates, in his discourse on the immortality of the soul,
argued that three score and ten years are too short a time for a man to reach his full potential.2
A philosopher himself, Ariel would agree.
We can, with gratitude, rejoice in a life well-lived. And in a death bravely met: in his matter-of-fact, calm acceptance of the inevitable, his still-sharp mind able to control his treatment, his ability to "say" no, to let nature take its course. He was an example to all around him. His eyes spoke volumes of love for each of us and gave silent voice to his concern, not for himself but for his family, especially for his cherished wife of 55 years. No man could have loved his wife more. He must now, with his quick humor, chuckle over the fact that, after penta-bypass surgery 11 years ago — by the doctors given 5 years to live if he didn't eat right,10 to 15 if he did — when his lungs could no longer function, that heart of his kept on going. Perhaps he willed it to do so, continuing the fight until the last of his children arrived to support his dear wife, their mother, and experience together his passing. We must all go that road eventually, and it was his last gift to us, to show us — like he had in so many other things for so many years — how to do it.
We relied on him to answer a great many questions.
Now how will we have our questions answered?
Ariel's reply to us whenever we asked him "How did you know that?" was always: "I read a book."
The implication is clear: we must do more of the same. Of course, the key lies in picking the right book.
And in thinking for ourselves: he taught us that.
When children, he woke us up to see the Apollo rocket launchings; as
a family, we sat around the screen together on July 20, 1969, to watch as the first man walked on the moon.
Having a questing mind, he taught us to ask questions, to look at and see the stars, and beyond that, to look toward the Creator of it all.
He was a patient yet challenging teacher, full of witticisms and maxims that still ring in our heads.
In all the great cosmos, we know where he has gone, that he is happy and at peace . . . and asking his questions.
We know we will see him again, hear him crack jokes getting the punch line just right.
We look forward to that time with joy — and, till then, endeavor to carry on his legacy.
"I refuse to believe that the same God
who gave us reason and intellect
intended us to forgo their use."
— Galileo Galilei
(as related by Grandpa Goodie)
Headstone (front view; photo taken July 17, 2006, the day the stone was placed)
Bountiful City Cemetery
2224 South 200 West
NOTE: Bonnie -- who continued on without him, ever the angel she always was, writting her poetry, uplifting her family -- followed Ariel just shy of one year later after a massive stroke. Beautiful to the end, her love, strength of character, goodness and example yet remain.
1 Kenneth N.F. Shaw, Armand McMillan, Ariel G. Gudmundson, and Marvin D. Armstrong, "Preparation and Properties of β-3-Indolyl Compounds Related to Tryptophan Metabolism," Journal of Organic Chemistry (1958) 23 (8), 1171-1178. American Chemical Society. ["Contribution from the Laboratory for the Study of Hereditary and Metabolic Disorders, and the Departments of Biological Chemistry and Medicine, University of Utah. Received (by the Journal or its publisher) October 17, 1957."]
This article is still cited today, as in the following case:
Neil K. Garg and Brian M. Stoltz, "Synthesis of bis(indole)-1,2,4-triazinones," Tetrahedran Letters 46 (Jan. 2005) 1997-2000. Elsevier Ltd., c2005. (Reference 4. [...Gudmundson, AG...]) The Stoltz Group: Natural Product Synthesis and Synthetic Methodology, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, California. http://stoltz.caltech.edu/publications.html (Publication #42.) http://www.stoltz.caltech.edu/publications/42-2005.pdf on http://stoltz.caltech.edu/, See endnote 4.
2 Plato's Rebublic Bk. 8: [Socrates] "...what was ever great in a short time? The whole period of threescore years and ten is surely but a little thing in comparison with eternity?...And should an immortal being seriously think of this little space rather than of the whole?..." (See also, Plato's Phaedo).
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