Physician, educator and composer Richard Bing dies at 101

It could be said that Dr. Richard John Bing, who died Monday just weeks after his 101st birthday, had lived several lives — all of them distinguished.

The longtime La Cañada Flintridge resident excelled as a medical doctor, scientific researcher, author, professor and composer of classical music.

Bing arrived in the area in 1969 to establish a residency program in internal medicine at Huntington Hospital and to conduct research at the Huntington Medical Research Institutes, where he served as director of experimental cardiology until retiring in 2005.

"He has been called the perfect Renaissance man," said HMRI President William Opel, who announced his friend's death Wednesday afternoon.

Memorial services are pending, and son William Bing, director of bands at Caltech, could not immediately be reached.

Bing was director of education at Huntington Hospital and taught at Caltech and USC.

Bing was born on Oct. 12, 1909, in Nuremberg, Germany, where he studied music and medicine before leaving Germany in 1934 for medical school at the University of Bern, Switzerland.

He later traveled to Copenhagen, where he met Nobel Laureate Alexis Carrel and famed aviator Charles Lindbergh, who also were involved in medical research.

Bing would later work with Lindbergh at the Rockefeller Institute in New York, join the Johns Hopkins University Department of Medicine, serve as a lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army Medical Corps and chair the Wayne State University Department of Medicine.

He remained a dedicated composer throughout his life, performing and recording a requiem in 1950 at the Neighborhood Church in Pasadena and another, "Missa," in 1972 after the death of his firstborn daughter and with the help of famed German composer Carl Orff.

Bing was the subject of "Para Fuera," a short documentary about his life that was an official selection to the Sundance Film Festival.

"Medical research and music have in common the drive to create," Bing explains during the film.

Bing's words last appeared in this newspaper in August, when he complained in a letter to the editor that planned residential power outages burdened seniors who rely on in-home oxygen treatments to survive.

The letter attracted the attention of LA Times columnist Steve Lopez, who wrote about Bing's life in September.

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