Dr. Gary Warren Zelles, born on Sept. 17, 1935, in East Orange, N.J., died peacefully at home Aug. 13 in Nevada City after a long battle with cancer, with family at his side.

A private ceremony will be held at the family home.

Dr. Zelles attended Rutgers University and George Washington University School of Medicine. He began a military career as an intern at the Naval Hospital, Portsmouth, Va., and later was trained as a flight surgeon at the Naval School of Aviation Medicine, Pensacola, Fla. He served his residency in general surgery at the Naval Hospital, Philadelphia, Pa., where he was certified by the American Board of Surgery.

There were a variety of duty stations in his career; he was a flight surgeon aboard the aircraft carrier USS Intrepid, and served with the Carrier Air Antisubmarine Group 56, aboard the aircraft carriers USS Enterprise and USS America, at the Naval Air Stations in Norfolk, Va., and Pensacola, Fla., and at the Naval Hospital, Camp Lejeune, N.C., where he was Chief of Surgery and achieved the rank of Captain. He and his family moved to California in 1976, where he completed his military career as a general surgeon at Oak Knoll Naval Hospital.

During the 20 year course of his military service, Captain Zelles earned a National Defense Medal, two Meritorious Unit Commendations, and a Vietnam Service Ribbon.

After retiring from the Navy, Gary continued practicing with The Permanente Medical Group at Kaiser Hospital, Oakland. He also taught general surgery at University of California, San Francisco Medical Center.

He retired from medical practice in 1996 and moved from Pleasanton to Kitty Hawk, N.C., where he enjoyed his favorite hobby of deep sea fishing. In 2001, he and his wife Nancy moved to Nevada City to be near family and friends and to enjoy woodland serenity, woodworking, kayaking, downhill skiing and gardening.

Dr. Zelles is survived by his wife, Nancy; sons Brian, Craig and Dale, and wives Janice, Jennifer and Doreen; daughters Allison and Traci, and husbands Peter and James; eight grandchildren, Danielle, Christina, Veronica, Abigail, Liam, Ada, Cove, and Catalina; one great-grandchild, Kylie, and brother, Dr. Rodger Zelles of Ship Bottom, N.J.

Memorial contributions may be made to the American Cancer Society and Hospice of the Foothills.

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