NAUGATUCK — Dr. John P. Elser, MD, 84, peacefully passed away after a long illness on Saturday, March 26 at the Glendale Center in Naugatuck surrounded by his family. Dr. Elser was the husband of the late Rosanne (Doherty) and the late Lorraine (DePasquale) Elser. Dr. Elser was born Dec. 23, 1931, in Bronx, N.Y., the son of George and Laura (Wendling) Elser.
Dr. Elser graduated high school from Fordham Preparatory School in 1949 and continued his education at Fordham University, Class of 1952. He then graduated from Georgetown University School of Medicine in 1956. Shortly after, he began his internship and residency at Waterbury Hospital. Dr. Elser served in the medical corps. of the U.S. Army for two years after completing his residency and was stationed in both San Antonio, Texas and Portland, Maine.
Dr. Elser settled in Naugatuck in 1960 and opened his private practice on Meadow Street in the specialty of family medicine. He was happy when his son, J. Michael Elser, MD, joined him the practice of primary care medicine in 1986 and they were able to practice together as part of the Medical Associates of Naugatuck on Church Street until his retirement in 1996. Dr. Elser was on the staffs of Waterbury Hospital and St Mary’s Hospital. He was a very active member of the Waterbury Hospital community and served as chief of staff from 1994-1996, when he retired after practicing for 35 years. In addition to his private practice, Dr. Elser served many roles in the medical community including assistant state medical examiner and town health officer and he also assisted in establishing the first renal dialysis facility in the Waterbury area. He was the first medical director of both Beacon Brook Health Center and the Glendale Center (of which he was one of the original owners) and remained in these roles until his retirement.
Dr. Elser was a dedicated communicant of St. John the Cross Church in Middlebury, and deeply rooted in his faith. He enjoyed helping others in the community; he was a founding member of the St. Francis School Foundation in Naugatuck and volunteered at the St. Vincent DePaul Shelter in Waterbury. His most enjoyable volunteer involvement was as a greeter at the Harold Leever Regional Cancer Center in Waterbury, where he had the opportunity to help patients smile and laugh.
Dr. Elser was a devoted husband, father and grandfather, and cherished spending time with his family. He enjoyed traveling the world and entertaining his friends. He had a tremendous sense of humor and will be greatly missed by those who knew him.
Dr. Elser is survived by his children, Jeanne Chenier and her husband Matthew of Holyoke, Mass., Dr. J. Michael Elser, MD, and his wife Sheila of Middlebury, Dr. James J. Elser, PhD, and his wife Monica of Polson, Mont., Jacqueline Hoey and her husband Paul of Brandon, Miss., Jayne Welch, Esq. and her husband David of Brandon, Miss., and Joan-Marie McCasland and her husband John of Naugatuck; 16 grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be held on Friday, April 1, 2016 at 1 p.m. at St. John of the Cross Church, 1321 Whittemore Road, Middlebury. The family will receive friends at the Parish Hall of the church on Friday from 12 p.m. until the start of mass. Burial will follow in St. James Cemetery, Cross Street, Naugatuck. Calling hours will be held on Thursday from 4 to 8 p.m. at the Alderson-Ford Funeral Home of Naugatuck, 201 Meadow St.
Memorial contributions may be made to St. John of the Cross Church, 1321 Whittemore Road, Middlebury, CT 06762; Holy Cross High School Fund, 587 Oronoke Road, Waterbury, CT 06708, or St. Vincent DePaul Society, 38 Willow St., Waterbury, CT 06710.
For online condolences, to share a story or a photo, visit www.fordfh.com.