Dr. Elizabeth Abel, 77

Fri, 04/28/2017 - 8:00am
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Elizabeth A. Lane of Los Altos California and Block Island, professionally known as Dr. Elizabeth Abel, passed away at home in Los Altos on April 11, 2017, surrounded by family, just months shy of her 50th wedding anniversary.

Elizabeth was born March 16, 1940 and raised in Farmington, Conn. After excelling academically in a college prep program at a private day school for girls in Hartford, she entered into a medical technology program at Colby Jr. College in New Hampshire. She found employment as a technician in hematology at the NIH in Bethesda, Maryland, and with encouragement from the Director of Admissions at the University of Maryland, Elizabeth applied for and was accepted into that medical school. Though very few members of her class were women, she graduated at the top, cum laude and AOA, and completed her dermatology residency at New York University Skin & Cancer Institute.

Dr. Abel first came to California to pursue an internship in rotating medicine at San Francisco General Hospital, where she met her future husband, neuroradiologist Dr. Barton Lane, then a fourth-year medical student. After both completed their residencies in New York City, Elizabeth and Barton settled in Los Altos, raising their three children in the Los Altos School District while she continued with her dermatology practice. She and her family also are parishioners of Christ Episcopal Church, Los Altos Hills. Elizabeth became a member of the Adjunct Faculty at Stanford University School of Medicine in Stanford, California, and most recently practiced in Mountain View, Calif. at the California Skin Institute, treating patients with all forms of psoriasis and other skin disorders.

Elizabeth served as an Advisory Board Member of the National Psoriasis Foundation and Assistant Editor of the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology. She authored over 80 publications, many on psoriasis, and 22 book chapters. She was a member of several professional organizations, and was honored to serve as the President of the Pacific Dermatologic Association (2010-2011). Over the years, she visited medical and academic centers in eastern, western, and northern Europe, including Greece, Malta, Scandinavia, China, South America, and Australia.  

Elizabeth and Barton first came to Block Island in 1970, and fell in love with it. They bought a cottage in 1973 in Sheep’s Meadow on Corn Neck Road, which is still their summer home. Their three children spent many wonderful summers on the island. Elizabeth made many friends here, loved to play bridge with the group at Harbor Baptist Church, and was a member of Block Island Gardeners.

Elizabeth enjoyed traveling with Barton, pursuing art, including painting watercolor landscapes, and playing classical piano, for which she often hosted musical soirees in her home. She was an avid reader, particularly of biographical and historical novels, and enjoyed participating in women’s book club events. Never far from her professional passions, she also enjoyed reviewing clinical journals with the Women’s Dermatology Journal Club. She continued to practice dermatology right up until her final illness. 

Dr. Abel is survived by her husband of 50 years, Dr. Barton Lane, her three children, Barton F. Lane of Ellicott City, Maryland, Geoffrey Lane of Livermore, Calif., and Suzanne Franklin of San Diego, Calif. She delighted in her four grandchildren, Charlotte, Delaney, Aidan, and Nadia Lane. She will be sorely missed by all of her family, and by the untold numbers of patients she has seen and treated over the years. 

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Elizabeth A. Abel, M.D. Endowed Scholarship Fund at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, or to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.