Dr. Stuart Glassman

October 5, 1946 - March 3, 2023
Dr. Stuart  Glassman

Dr. Stuart Lewis Glassman, General and Vascular Surgeon and remarkable human being, passed away at his home on Friday, March 3, 2023, from pancreatic cancer at age 76. He left the world optimistic about the future.

Born in Chicago in 1946, Dr. Glassman grew up in Miami Beach as the son of prominent General Surgeon, Dr. Jacob Glassman, and gourmet cook, Elinor Glassman. He was known from an early age to be good with his hands and a skilled craftsman. After attending Miami Beach High School, he attended the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana, majoring in Political Science. He was then accepted into the Loyola University Chicago School of Law with plans to become an international attorney.

Life is full of surprises. Changing course, Stuart decided to attend medical school in Guadalajara, Mexico, where all classes were taught in Spanish. He fell in love with human physiology and dedicated himself to the art of medicine. Returning to Miami, Stuart earned his MD at the University of Miami Medical School and completed his surgical residency there, including a tenure as chief resident. During residency he married his first wife, artist Connie Knight, and welcomed two children into the world, Jordan and Ariel.

Dr. Glassman began his career in general surgery in private practice with his father in Miami. In 1987, he and his family moved to Hendersonville, North Carolina, which became his permanent home and favorite place in the world. His career spanned 42 years, through retirement from practice at Pardee Hospital (Pardee Surgical Associates) in January 2020.

A gifted and exceptional surgeon, he was as adept with a scalpel as he was with a laparoscope or laser. His legacy includes laying the groundwork for making Pardee Hospital the first tobacco-free hospital campus in North Carolina, giving talks to various groups on humor in medicine, and attracting talented physicians whom he mentored. “Listen to your patients,” was a phrase often spoken. In 2015, Dr. Glassman was named Pardee Hospital’s Physician of the Year.

Dr. Glassman’s desire was compassionate care for whomever needed it. Numerous hours were donated to the Free Clinics and Blue Ridge Community Health Services. In his office, patients who needed care and could not pay were never turned away. His countless generosities left an indelible mark on those who worked most closely with him. He remembered the small things: leaving a candy bar on each person’s keyboard; surprise gift cards boosting team morale; gas cards to defray costs during a shortage. Dr. G’s office was filled with hard work, a few tears, much fun, and always laughter – as a family should be.

Dr. Glassman did not shy away from controversy and adversity. “Doing the right thing,” was his guiding light. He was not afraid to stand up to injustice and was dedicated to improving the working experience for the hospital staff, as well as enhancing the safety and comfort of all patients. He was his own person, confident yet unpretentious. Stu preferred to wear jeans and a t-shirt, however inappropriate, yet he was most comfortable in the anonymous green scrubs of a surgeon, often paired with a paint splattered hoodie. His musical playlists in the operating room were legendary. He liked to say, “I’m just this simple guy.” He was anything but.

He maintained a creative vocation as a talented clay artist, selling his handbuilt clay platters and tiles at art shows throughout the country (Glassman ClayWorks). Stuart’s unique style often featured amphibians, reptiles, and insects. He found great joy in bringing each “Stu-Art” piece to life and sharing them with others. His work was featured on an ArtScape Banner in Downtown Hendersonville, and he was an exhibitor at the AVL Airport Art Gallery.

Stuart married the love of his life, wife Barbara (Barbie), 21 years ago and welcomed into his brood her daughter, Caroline. Barb and Stu were an inseparable team, whether it was traveling, taking on a complex building project, numerous trips to hardware stores, discussing news and philosophy, joking constantly, or just hanging out in their home and clay studio. Their love was transcendent, and they radiated joy together.

Stuart was a wonderful father for whom nurturing talent and bringing out the best in his children seemed to come naturally. Through his sacrifices, his children never wanted for anything. His pride in his children’s accomplishments was poured with joy into the ear of every willing listener: Ariel, video projection artist and creative director of The Temple House; Jordan, submarine officer and patent attorney; Caroline, entrepreneur of Wag! on Main Street and pillar of the community.

His friends loved him for his ready laugh, his humorous views of life, the Yiddish he would sprinkle throughout his conversations, and his inquisitive mind. He was a voracious reader of books of all genres. Informed by his subtle but profound variety of Judaism, he influenced those around him with Zen-like calm. He was often lovingly referred to as “The Buddha.” He was a man who was the same person whether in his office, at a party, or on aisle five at Lowe’s. It was quite common to bump into someone in Hendersonville whom he had healed or somehow influenced and learn that they considered him to be one of the most generous and genuinely caring people they knew.

Stuart was secure that his legacy would be preserved in those who loved him and descended from him. He will be deeply missed by all whose lives were touched by him. Left to carry his legacy are: wife, Barbara Glassman; son, Jordan Glassman (Beth Bennett) and grandson, River Bennett Glassman, Durham, NC; daughter, Ariel Glassman (Dan Davidson), Miami Beach, FL; stepdaughter, Caroline Gunther (John McCormick), Hendersonville, NC; sister, Marsha Glazière, Jacksonville, FL; numerous nieces and nephews, brothers and sisters in-law, and countless friends. He was preceded in death by his parents, Dr. Jacob and Elinor Glassman; and brother, Dr. Dean Glassman (Lisa Glassman), Jacksonville, FL.

The family held a private service on Tuesday, March 7th, at Oakdale Cemetery officiated by Rabbi Rachel Jackson of Agudas Israel Congregation. A celebration of Stuart’s life will be held at a later date. Stuart and his family are and will remain eternally grateful for the outpouring of cards and letters lending their encouragement, love, and expressions of gratitude for all he did for his friends, patients, and the community. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to the “Make a Splash” Campaign – a future splash pad at Patton Park, sponsored by the Kiwanis Club of Hendersonville (HendersonvilleKiwanis.org) – or to the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network (PanCan.org).

Stuart liked to say, quoting Herman Melville, “I know not all that may be coming, but be it what it will, I’ll go to it laughing.” He also liked to say, “So long and thanks for all the fish.” Many have speculated that if we knew exactly why Stuart said that we would know a lot more about the nature of Life, the Universe, and Everything. Celebrate Stuart’s memory with us: help someone out, do the right thing, listen – and go to it laughing.


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  • March 23, 2023
    Jeffrey Hammond says:
    Stu and I were surgical residents together at Miami. He was two years ahead of me. He could always be relied upon for sound advice and a good conversation. I distinctly remember him taking me through my first operation where I did an open abdominal procedure. I was just a first year resident but he made me feel like a real surgeon. I tried to call him when I heard of his diagnosis but unfortunately it was too late. He will be fondly remembered by all of us whose lives he touched.

  • March 20, 2023
    Jenny Mathews says:
    Dr Glassman treated many of my patients and also treated me. I could always count on him to answer the phone to help me with a patient. My daughter is finishing medical school this spring and will be a surgeon. I hope she’s just like Stuart. Jenny Mathews MD

  • March 16, 2023
    Barbara F. Hughes says:
    My heartfelt sympathy to Dr. Glassman's family. This was a beautiful tribute which was well deserved.

  • March 16, 2023
    Maxine Staton lit a candle:
    Lit since March 16, 2023 at 3:08:04 AM

  • March 15, 2023
    Susan O’Haire lit a candle:
    Lit since March 15, 2023 at 3:35:45 PM