Wendy Feldman, doctor and avid gardener, dies at 57
Her friends and neighbors in Rancho Murieta knew Wendy Feldman as a doctor, a devoted wife and mother, an avid gardener, and a charter member of the Rotary Club. But most didn’t realize she struggled with cancer for many years. “She had been sick on and off for decades, before I met her even,” said Rick Feldman, her husband of 22 years. “She had several different bouts with several different types. We were so lucky to have the 22 years. It could have been 10 years, it could have been three years.” Mrs. Feldman died at home Tuesday at the age of 57.
His wife’s zest for life, and courage and grace in the face of adversity were an inspiration to all who knew her. “She was very special,” Feldman said. “We just did everything together. She taught me to garden. We were very much a team.”
Before building their home in the Fairways overlooking the North Course in 2001, the couple lived on five acres in Elk Grove. Compared to that, gardening in Rancho Murieta was going to be easy, they thought.
“She never saw a patch of land she couldn’t improve with her vision, her green thumb, and a pair of pruning shears,” Rick Feldman said. Every day they would take a tour of the garden before she went to work. Mrs. Feldman took deer damage in stride, her husband recalled. “There were mornings when we got up and the deer had used her flowers for dental floss, and we kind of rolled with it,” he said.
Theirs was one of gardens featured on the 2008 Rancho Murieta Women’s Club Garden Tour.
In addition to being active in the Women’s Club, Mrs. Feldman encouraged her husband to join the Rotary Club. Both became charter members.
The Feldmans visited Italy last year for “the trip of a lifetime,” Rick Feldman said. “We just tried to make the most of things.”
The Feldmans have two college-age sons, David and Andy, and his wife adored them, Feldman said. “She was happy and proud for her boys.” You can see just how proud she was when Andy became an Eagle Scout in 2009.
Wendy Wechsler was born on July 20, 1954 in Stockton. She grew up in Virginia, graduating with highest distinction from the University of Virginia. She received her medical degree from the Medical College of Virginia. After completing an anesthesiology residency at UCLA, she moved to the Sacramento area and worked at Mercy General Hospital for over 26 years, until her retirement last July.
His wife often mentioned how much she loved her job and how wonderful she felt every day when she stepped in the door of the hospital, Feldman said. She was particularly proud of having been the first female partner in her medical group, and never more so than when other doctors and nurses asked her to administer anesthesia for themselves or their loved ones, he said.
“When she got sick again and had to go the hospital, it was like going down the hall with a rock star. People would come running out of rooms” to greet his wife, Feldman said. “It was amazing how they responded.”
In addition to her husband and sons, Mrs. Feldman is survived by her sister, Laura Martin of New Jersey, and her brother, John Wechsler of Texas.
The family will hold a celebration of life for Mrs. Feldman next summer at Lake Clementia close to the time of her birthday. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Breast Cancer Resource Center, 59 Paul Robeson Place, Princeton, N.J. 08534 (www.ywcaprinceton.org) or to Planned Parenthood.
Dear Feldman Family,
We are so sorry for your loss. Your family is cherished part of the Rancho Murieta community. The Bloom Family's hearts are with you.
Prayers for the Feldman family in your time of loss and sorrow.
I feel blessed to have had Wendy for a friend. She was the most courageous woman I have had the pleasure of knowing. Through all her years of illness I never once heard her complain. Several years ago I remember seeing her in her yard, where she shouldn't have been, very soon after she had had a surgery. Her comment was that because she was experiencing her 4th cancer, her wish was that somewhere a child was being spared from having cancer.
I will forever remember that big smile and her infectious laugh.
She will truly be missed by her family and friends but NEVER forgotten. Thank you Rick, David, and Andy for sharing her with us all. You are in my thoughts during this difficult time.
I think I'll forever be looking for her in the garden as I tee off.
Rest in Peace Sweet Wendy!
Sheryl, Jillian and Jacob Wolhart want to send our best to Rick, David and Andy. Wendy was a wonderful wife, mother and friend. We had the prevlege of their company at many Boy Scout, School Events and Communitee Functions. We very much enjoyed carpooling with the family for that year and a half until the kids started driving themselves. A wonderful memery that Jillian shared with Me after hearing the sad news was how when Wendy would drive carpool, the boys always had to sit in the back. In her car it was girls in the front...no exceptions and they (the girls) picked the radio station also, which the boys were not always happy with. We will miss her great smile, sence of humor and kindness to all of us. Heaven is very lucky cause they have one great new angel.