Yale '62 - Obituaries - Michael D. Lutz

Michael D. Lutz, M.D

Born: May 9, 1940
Died: March 23, 1987

Mike was born in Glen Cove, New York, and came to Yale from Reading (Pennsylvania) High School. He was a philosophy major, on the Dean's List, and a ranking scholar. Mike was a member of Berkeley where he was editor of the High Street Herald and on the soccer, softball and hockey teams. He was also a member of Manuscript and Dwight Hall and played Varsity soccer for 2 years.

After graduation he went into medicine and settled in San Diego. From 1973 to 1978, he was an assistant professor of medicine at University of California at San Diego. During that time he was also a senior physician on the staff of the VA Medical Center in La Jolla. Since 1979 he had been in private practice, working primarily with chronically ill kidney patients.

On March 23, 1987, Mike and his fiancée, Julianna Lawlor, 30, a nurse in the surgical intensive care unit of San Diego Sharp Memorial Hospital, were part of a ten member group of skiers participating in helicopter skiing in the Cariboo Mountains, 240 miles northeast of Vancouver, British Columbia. At 12:30 PM, while following their guide downhill in single file, Mike and Julianna were struck without warning by an avalanche and killed. Described as the "worst avalanche disaster ever in British Columbia," the rush of snow took the lives of five others including the guide. Mike's daughter Anna Elizabeth, then 19, was one of only three to escape. Fortunately, his son Matthew, age 16, who had accompanied Mike on the trip, was skiing elsewhere when the avalanche struck.

At the time of his death, Mike was Chief of Nephrology at Mercy Hospital in San Diego and also affiliated with the Balboa Internal Medicine clinic.

Mike's first marriage ended in divorce. He and Miss Lawlor were engaged to be married in August 1987.

The medical profession mourned his passing: "He took care of the same patients three times every week so the binds were very tight. His patients were devoted to him. He was an expert in setting up kidney dialysis at the homes of his patients. He really was an outstanding kidney specialist in this city," said Dr. J. Michael Channick, a colleague.