Levine Chapels

470 Harvard Street, Brookline, MA


Dr. Stephen P. Dretler

A world-class father, grandfather and surgeon. A resident of Natick, of Vineyard Haven, and formerly of Wayland, Massachusetts, he died on January 9, 2020 after gracefully and courageously managing the degenerative effects of Parkinson’s Disease for more than a decade. He was 81 years old and deeply beloved and respected by his family, friends, patients, caregivers, and colleagues within the global medical community.

Stephen P. Dretler was the son of the late Dr. Lewis and Elaine Dretler. He was proud to be their son each and every day of his life.

Born in Boston and raised in Brookline, Dr. Dretler was a champion athlete who graduated from Moses Brown School in Providence, Brown University, and Tufts University School of Medicine.

He began his career as a medical intern in Cleveland, Ohio, and later became a surgical resident at the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) in Boston. He then served as a Captain in the U.S. Air Force in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina before returning to the MGH for a residency in the Department of Urology where he studied under the leadership of his mentors, Dr. Wyland Leadbetter and Dr. Samuel Thier. Dr. Dretler was a professor at Harvard Medical School and a pioneer in the field of urology at the Massachusetts General Hospital where he practiced for more than forty years. He taught and exemplified how a doctor must have “the milk of human kindness running through their veins”. He trained and inspired hundreds of medical residents and fellows, and cherished his relationships with them and his committed hospital staff.

During his long and distinguished medical career, Dr. Dretler changed the way kidney stone disease was treated. He was an innovator who championed the use of lithotripsy and lasers to treat disease in less invasive ways. He also was a lifelong inventor who collaborated with engineers to develop groundbreaking medical instruments that are in use worldwide.

Dr. Dretler was a loving father and grandfather. He relaxed by jogging, golfing and reading. He enjoyed the study of history and antiquities. He found comfort, meaning and inspiration from his participation in Torah study. He relished spending time at his seasonal home on Martha’s Vineyard, creating a meaningful family gathering place. He had a wonderful sense of humor and hearty laugh. He was a strong person, physically and emotionally. He was generous with his family and to others. He loved his children and grandchildren with all his heart and fully participated and supported them in every aspect of their lives. He instilled in them the values of hard work, commitment and giving to others.

Beloved father of Jeffrey and his wife Janie Dretler, Dan and his wife Astrid Dretler, Tom and his wife Corrie Dretler and adored grandfather of Katie, Halle, Jack, Ryan, Sydni, Jessi, Jacob and Benjamin; dear brother of Joan (Dretler) and her husband Bob Rubinstein, John and his wife Bobbie Dretler; loved by his former wife, Bonnie Simpson; cherished family of his first wife, Joan (Sorkin) and her husband Leonard Shulman, and trusted “Uncle Stephen” to his niece, nephews, cousins and their families. Dr. Dretler’s family will be forever grateful for the tender assistance he received from his dedicated caregivers.

Services at Temple Israel, 477 Longwood Avenue, (please park on the Riverway) on Sunday, January 12 at 2:00pm. Interment in Beit Olam Cemetery, 61 Old Sudbury Rd. (Rte 27), Wayland. Following interment, memorial observance will be at Dan and Astrid's home until 8:00pm and continuing on Monday 1-4:00pm and 7-9:00pm and on Tuesday 1-4:00pm.

In lieu of flowers, remembrances may be made to American Parkinson Disease Association, www.apdaparkinson.org.


  • Funeral Service Sunday, January 12, 2020


Dr. Stephen P. Dretler

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stephen wilson

January 14, 2020

Jeff and Janie , Dan and Astrid , Tom and Corrie and to all of the Dretler family. My sincere condolences to you all with your loss of a great man. I am proud to have had the opportunity of meeting him. May you all hold fond memories of him in your hearts...stephen wilson

Halle Dretler

January 13, 2020

Patrick Kealy

January 13, 2020

Condolences to your family from the Kealys. Your tight knit family started at the top, and we are so sorry for your loss.