In Memoriam Ira Polonsky

Wednesday, November 02, 2005
I have just learned that my colleague Ira Polonsky, a local psychologist in private practice, with whom I have shared many patients over fifteen years, was murdered in his office by an unknown assailant on Tuesday.

Officers responding to a 911 call shortly after 6 p.m. found Ira Eugene Polonsky lying in a hallway at 1812 Capitol St. in central Vallejo, police said.

Polonsky was transported to Kaiser Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

One of Polonsky's patients, who arrived at the scene Wednesday morning to offer her help to police, said she had seen Polonsky for an appointment about mid-day Tuesday, and she noticed nothing out of the ordinary. She told reporters that she couldn't imagine why anyone would want to kill Polonsky, who, she said, had a calming and uplifting effect on people.

Dr. Polonsky was a skilled and compassionate man, and our world will be poorer without him.

When further details become available, I will update this.


RogerA said...

Condolences on the loss of your friend and colleague Jaime--life is simply not fair.

MeaninglessHotAir said...

I am very sorry to hear of your loss. There's no rhyme nor reason to it. It's just terrible.

terrye said...


Be careful yourself.

People in your line of work have to deal with some dangerous people. I know that is and understatement.

If not mental illness, it could be drugs or money for drugs.

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry. It is always hard to lose a friend. It is particularly hard when it is the result of such apparent random violence.

Do something nice for another person in his memory.It sounds to me as though he'd prefer that to flowers.And you keep him alive in your heart when you do.


Rick Ballard said...

My condolences, Jaime. There is just nothing to say in the face of senseless violence. So very sad.

SneakyFeet said...

Jamie, I am very sorry to hear about this. I hope the person who did it is found soon.

Please be careful yourself.

ambisinistral said...

My condolences.

truepeers said...

So sad, we need all the warriors for mental health we have and more. Keep the faith.

Anonymous said...

I am Ira's sister-in-law and would like to thank you for your compassion and kind words about Ira. The outpouring of love, respect and grief has been overwhelming. I would also like to share with you the eulogy my husband gave at Ira's funeral on Sunday, November 6, 2005.
"I was lying in bed yesterday morning. It was still dark outside. Terra had come over from Ronnie’s bed. Emotionally exhausted, she could not sleep either.
It was that moment that I had these thoughts that I want to share with you. And maybe it will help you to understand what had happened.

When this bullet struck you down Ira it ended not only a life it ended a lifelong battle. What we have here is the end of your physical life. But your life’s work continues.

Deeply violated as a child you could have become what so many have become: bitter, resentful, frozen in the face of their demons. In their agony carrying on their violence onto their children or their spouses. Ira, you chose not to live that way. You did not become a raging alcoholic, a violent husband, a child-abusing man. A murderer of a therapist.

You Ira chose another life. You became a wonderful loving husband and a great father. A great friend. And a great therapist.

And I don’t just say that because I have an obligation to say nice things about you here.
I believe from my heart you lived the life of a great man.

A great man. What does that mean? When we think of a great man we may think of a man like Ghandi or JFK or Martin Luther King. You were not like them out in the public. You were humble and quiet and full of great humor. You went out and got your favorite drink in the morning. You worried about money and politics. You were amazingly helpless in many things of life. You could hardly change a light bulb in your house.
Your greatness had other faces. Your greatness came with your choices.
You chose to fight by showing up with the many faces of love as your warrior ally.

By showing up with Ronnie every day – truly sharing.
A loving caring man.
By showing up with your son David every Sunday to go to a movie.
By showing up with your son Steve watching basketball games together.
A loving caring father.
By showing up with your sons’friends, calling one of them like clockwork after his father passed away and singing him a birthday song every birthday for seven years.
A loving caring man.
And always showing up at your work Deeply deeply caring for your patients. Because you knew their dark world better than hardly anybody else you could guide them to a place of light.

And when Parkinson’s disease started getting to you – you kept showing up. Relentlessly uncomplaining. Never wanting to be a burden to anybody you kept on going. Exercising vigerously. Every day. Relentlessly uncomplaining. No one, not even Ronnie, your wife and soulmate, ever heard one complaint.

And you would have kept fighting until you could no more.

You are a great man Ira. And your greatness lies in your goodness. You were a good man.
Don’t worry, we won’t forget you. For us you are just like Ghandi or JFK or Martin Luther King, except you were ours, not a page of history. Like you, those men were struck down without sense. And their legacy continues. Their death shed a brighter light on the lives they had lived. Your legacy will continue as well and the light will shine on it. You have changed so many lives for the better. And your goodness will get carried on through generations to come.

Thank you man. I love you. May you rest well.