It is with profound sadness that the family of Sidney Clark Lerfald, MD announce his passing on December 18, 2019 at home. Sidney was born on July 4, 1947 in Grand Forks, North Dakota to the late Rueben and Edith (Tannahill) Lerfald of Mayville, North Dakota. He was the second oldest of ten children and the first to be born after his father returned from WWII.
Sidney was preceded in death by his parents, his former wife and mother of his children, Pamela R. Lerfald, of Morgantown, WV, and his brother, Arden Lerfald of Brandenton, Florida.
He is survived by his wife, Libby, who loved and cherished him; his beloved sons, Matthew John Lerfald of Charleston, WV and Nathan Meyer (Charmin) Lerfald, MD of Morgantown, WV; and his step-daughter, Anna Earles (Michael) Kennedy of Washington, DC, whom he adored. Additionally, he is survived by his siblings Daniel (Sharon) Lerfald of Fargo, ND; Lois (Greg) Welman of Blaine, MN; Arne (Cindy) Lerfald of White Bear Lake, MN; Evy (Jim) Schilling of Pelican Rapids, MN; Cyndy (Michael) Holter of Plano, TX; Neil (Kathy) Lerfald of Portland, ND; Sue (Greg) Grimstad of Blaine, MN; and Becky (Mark) Tastad of Montevideo, MN. He is also survived by his sisters-in-law, Ruth Moore of Charleston, WV and Carolyn (David) Carper of Richmond, VA; and his brother-in-law, Tom Moore of Santa Rosa, CA. He leaves behind with great love, the pride and joy of his life, his three grandchildren: Erika Julianna, Kathryn Rebecca, and Andrew Meyer Lerfald, all of Morgantown, WV. In addition, surviving are many cousins, nieces, nephews, and dear friends, especially his friend and colleague of over 40 years, Edmund C. Settle, Jr., MD.
The family would like to thank the many people who helped Sid during his lifetime. First, the family is grateful to his physicians who helped Sid live a long and productive life. Dr. Roland Edward Hamrick, Jr., MD provided not only excellent care, but he always did so in the most kind and compassionate way. We also appreciate the care provided by Jake Rubenstein, MD and Ryan Waddell, DO of Pulmonary Associates, as well as the many years of diligent care provided by Malcolm L. Chaney, MD. The family also wishes to express their utmost gratitude to Michelle Jarrett, RN of Lots of Hearts Homecare, for making it possible for Sid to be brought home from the hospital; because she agreed to help him, he was able to receive expert care from the comfort of his home. We will be forever thankful to Thelma “Sissy” Mayhew for her dedicated help and devotion over the years, most especially during the past few months.
The family extends a deep appreciation and heartfelt thank you to Lawrence B. Kelly, MD, Sid’s trusted colleague and friend, for the many times he has provided support over the years, especially in the last several months. Finally, to all our staff, past and present, we thank you for your dedication and love for Sid.
Anyone who knew Sid knew that he was proud to be a Norwegian from North Dakota. The son of a WWII Navy pilot and North Dakota’s Mother of the Year (1987), he had a great upbringing that taught him the value of family and community. Many of these values were learned when he attended a one-room schoolhouse called Morgan #4 for grades 1-8. This was an experience he attributed to much of how he viewed the world because it was there that he learned the value of sharing, teamwork, and education. He also learned about role models and community at Bethany Lutheran Church and through his membership in the FFA. One of Sid’s favorite stories to tell was regarding his proud, prouder, and proudest moments while living in North Dakota: driving a tractor at age eight, driving a grain truck into town at age twelve, and driving on his first car date at age fourteen.
Sid will be remembered in many different ways. To most, he was a generous, helpful, and quick-witted man, but he also identified as a farmer, writer of poetry, and lover of music. To his family, he was dedicated, kind, and personable—always excited for the next family reunion. He particularly enjoyed watching his sons play sports, whether it was Matt and Nate playing basketball at John Adams Jr. High and GW or watching Matt play football in junior and high school, as well as at Mayville State University in North Dakota. Last September, Sid was thrilled when Nate received The Anthony G. DiBartolomeo Professor of Medicine award. Sid also enthusiastically attended many dance recitals for Anna over the years. As a grandfather, he loved watching his granddaughters play basketball and watching all three of his grandchildren run in cross country meets. Deemed “Smiley” at birth by his grandfather Nels Lerfald, the nickname fit him throughout his life. His siblings particularly noted this signature smile and laugh, his intelligence and humor, and his listening ear—the best in the family.
For many years, Sid could be found hosting events for his family and friends. Whether he was showing off his skills at the game table or cooking a gourmet meal in the kitchen, he was happy to shower everyone with love, even if that meant beating them all in Scrabble most every time. He also enjoyed cheering on his WVU Mountaineers in football and basketball.
He was a compassionate and caring psychiatrist, beloved by his patients, but these traits were extended to everyone. Whether it was getting the server or valet’s name or telling a quick joke, Sid extended his kindness and humor to all he met.
Dr. Lerfald received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of North Dakota and his medical degree and residency training from West Virginia University School of Medicine. He was a psychiatrist and psychopharmacologist in the Charleston area for over 40 years. Due to his expertise in psychiatry and psychopharmacology, he was a passionate keynote speaker in West Virginia and surrounding states for over 25 years—an opportunity that was a great joy to him. Dr. Lerfald participated in NIMH sponsored research and served as principal investigator for many industry-sponsored clinical trials in psychiatry for over 25 years. He was also the former Director of the WVU Consultation Liaison Psychiatry Division. Dr. Lerfald was a Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at WVU; he also taught the Clinical Psychiatry Seminar lecture for medical students and residents for many years. Dr. Lerfald was a Distinguished Life Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association and a Diplomate of the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology. Dr. Lerfald retired on December 15, 2019.
On the day of his passing, Sid remarked to his physical therapist Tim that he would like to add weights to his next workout session because he wanted to improve his strength and stamina. Anyone who knew Sid knew that his mind was one of iconic perseverance and determination, but his failing body could not keep up. Like the Northern Lights he loved, Sid was a light to us all, brilliant and extraordinary.
A family memorial service will be held at a later date in North Dakota. Condolences may be sent to the family at www.barlowbonsall.com. Barlow Bonsall Funeral Home, Charleston has been entrusted with the arrangements.
In lieu of flowers, the family humbly recommends donations in Sid’s name to his beloved country church, Bethany Lutheran Church, at 15099 15th Street NE, Hatton, ND 58240.
Those who have brought us joy,
made us laugh, and shown us love
have given us the lasting gifts
of a beautiful life
And blessed our memories forever.
-Bonnie Rickner Jensen