August 19, 2010

Dear PSR friends,

I recently had the great honor to attend the memorial held for Dr. Gregg Monte Steadman a few weeks ago in Santa Rosa, where he continued to care for patients and be a major force for peace in the local community for most of the final period of his life. In recognition of the incredible courage displayed by Dr. Steadman and fellow peace activists Franklin Zahn and George Bonello by sailing the Everyman II in 1962 to stop US atmospheric testing of nuclear weapons, SFPSR awarded Dr. Steadman its Dr. Fred Epstein peace award a number of years ago. We would like to share the recently published memorium which just gives a glimmer of an exceptional life exemplifying PSR’s highest values of commitment and service to humanity.

-Bob Gould, M.D., President, SF PSR

Press Democrat, June 23, 2010

Resident of Millbrae, California. Formerly of Sonoma County. August 27, 1920 – May 26, 2010. Dr. Monte Gregg Steadman died peacefully at home in Millbrae at age 89. Dr. Steadman will be remembered as a renowned surgeon, an excellent teacher, and a dedicated advocate for peace and social justice.

Dr. Steadman’s illustrious medical career spanned more than 50 years. He graduated from University of Southern California School of Medicine in 1946, and was one of the first interns serving at Permanente Hospital in Oakland (now Kaiser Foundation Hospital). In 1951, he became the first full-time otolaryngologist for the Permanente Medical Group in San Francisco, and served as Chief of the Department of Otolaryngology at Kaiser Foundation Hospital on Geary Blvd. until 1969. He continued his career in Redwood City as Senior Consultant in Otolaryngology until he retired from Kaiser in 1982.

Dr. Steadman’s surgical skills were renowned; many patients with advanced cancers of the head and neck were referred to him from all the Kaiser Health Plan facilities. He continued to assist and consult on complex surgeries until 1996. He volunteered his services at the Mendocino Coast Clinic in Fort Bragg, CA, Alliance Medical Center in Healdsburg, CA, and in the Department of Head and Neck Surgery at Kaiser in Santa Rosa, where finally ended his medical career, caring for patients with non-surgical problems until 2007.

Dr. Steadman was an excellent teacher, highly revered by the many medical students, interns and residents he taught during his career at Kaiser, and also at the University of California Medical Center in San Francisco, Stanford Medical Center and the Veterans Administration Medical Center in Palo Alto, CA. He was awarded Clinical Professor Emeritus status at Stanford in 1990.

Throughout his life, Dr. Steadman supported and participated in peace and social justice movements. In 1962, at the height of the Cold War, he and two other peace activists, Franklin Zahn and George Benello, sailed a 28-foot ketch named Everyman II into the nuclear testing zone around Johnston Island. The purpose of this act of nonviolent civil disobedience was to prevent the Atomic Energy Commission from proceeding with a new series of atmospheric nuclear bomb tests and to end the nuclear arms race. At this time, nuclear bomb tests were being carried out by the US and USSR to advance the development of more and more powerful nuclear weapons.

Tons of radioactive material spewed into the atmosphere caused a near doubling of the concentration of the radioactive isotope Carbon-14 in the Northern Hemisphere, and worldwide concern over the harmful effects of radiation on all life was very high. Although their boat was seized and removed from the test zone, and the bomb tests went off as planned, their bold action drew attention to the grave health risks of nuclear fallout and the dangers inherent in the rapidly escalating nuclear arms race. The following year, the Partial Test Ban Treaty, developed to stop the excessive release of radioactive fallout into the atmosphere and to slow the arms race, was signed by the US, UK and USSR.

Dr. Steadman was also a great athlete. He attended UCLA on a track scholarship, and played on the varsity football team in 1939 with Jackie Robinson. He was an avid handball player, competing in tournaments well into his 60’s. He enjoyed commuting to work on his motorcycle, and backpacking in the Sierras with his first wife, Frances Hobson Steadman of Corte Madera, and their four children.

Dr. Steadman is predeceased by his second wife, Edna Indritz Steadman, and his oldest son, Brian. He is survived by his sons, Gary (Genie) of Corte Madera, Roger (Margaret) of Kelseyville, his daughter Marcia of San Mateo, six grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.