A celebration of life was pending Thursday for longtime Los Angeles resident William M. Narva, a decorated naval officer and dermatologist who served every U.S. president from Lyndon B. Johnson to George H.W. Bush.
Narva died in his sleep at his home in the Wilshire Corrridor on July 28 at the age of 92, with his wife at his side, according to a family spokesman.
Narva and Rose, his wife of 70 years, were close friends and confidants to President Ronald Reagan and his wife Nancy and talk show host and hotelier Merv Griffin.
The Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Institute described Narva in a post on Facebook as “more than Ronald Reagan’s doctor, he was a dear friend to both President and Mrs. Reagan. We are heartbroken to hear of his passing. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his wife, Rose, and the rest of his family. Rest in Peace, sir.”
Narva, who spent most of his 35-year Navy career in the Washington, D.C., area, held posts that included staff medical officer for the chief of naval operations, director of the Naval Reserve Division at the Bureau of Medicine and Surgery, and vice president of the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences.
Five years after being promoted to rear admiral in 1982, he was appointed attending physician to the U.S. Congress, which included members of the Supreme Court.
Narva was instrumental in Reagan’s signing of a 1985 proclamation declaring a National Skin Cancer Prevention and Detection Week.
The physician retired as U.S. Congress’ attending physician in 1990 and became a consultant, lecturer and adviser at Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital.
The Narvas moved to California from Washington, D.C., to advise Griffin on the operations of his hotel properties, including the Beverly Hilton and the Givenchy Spa in Palm Springs, which was managed by Rose Narva.
Narva was awarded the Legion of Merit, Meritorious Service Medal, National Defense Service Medal, World War II Victory Medal and the Republic of Vietnam Meritorious Unit Citation.
He was a Fellow of the American Academy of Dermatology, a member of the American Dermatological Association, the Association of Military Dermatologists, and the Washington Dermatological Society.
Narva received his medical degree from Yale University School of Medicine in 1956 and completed his residency training at the Naval Medical Center San Diego.
In addition to his wife, Narva’s survivors include his brother Martin and wife Pauline and several nieces and nephews. The Narva’s son, David, died in 1991.
A celebration of life memorial will be announced at a later date.
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