Remembering Norbert von der Groeben
Featured Guest Contributor
Mark Lane Welton, MD, Chief of Staff
At 6 feet 4 inches tall and with a large burden of cameras and lenses slung around his neck, Norbert von der Groeben was hard to miss. For nearly 10 years, von der Groeben was a regular presence on the Stanford Medicine campus, taking photos of faculty members, staff, students and patients, chronicling our history and capturing the essence of Stanford Health Care. On Dec. 4, von der Groeben died at his Palo Alto home of an apparent heart attack. He was 59.
For most of us who practice at Stanford, von der Groeben was a familiar figure. He’s taken most of our pictures numerous times. I recall the time he came to my home when I was recovering from a bicycling accident. He stayed to chat with me long after completing his assignment. He was an affable, friendly man, with a special knack for instantly putting everyone at ease, no matter the setting or circumstance.
Many of the photos you see in Stanford Health Care publications, and its website, Facebook and Instagram pages, were taken by von der Groeben. In his journeys throughout the hospital, he has taken more than 50,000 photographs. The freelance photographer was deeply familiar with the campus’ buildings and grounds, and could find just the right spot to match the tone of the story his photo would illustrate. His laidback demeanor and quick laugh instantly put people at ease, allowing him to produce portraits that captured their personalities.
In 2015, he received a Service Spotlight Award for practicing the core values of C-I-CARE, and for being a natural ambassador for SHC. He was a gifted photographer and a trusted colleague, with a deep commitment to meeting the highest professional standards. We will miss him greatly.