David Hartstein, a Montauk resident with a chiropractic practice in East Hampton Village, died on June 17 at Southampton Hospital. The cause was complications of hantavirus, his wife, Heather Hartstein, said. He was 35.
Dr. Hartstein left three children, Logan, who is 5, Devon, 3, and Shane, 1.
Ms. Hartstein described her husband as “unassuming, humble, fun-loving and honest, calm, strong, and wise.” She said that in a diary entry from years ago she recognized her blessings, “admiring and recognizing my husband for the amazing soul he is — so soft and gentle — pure of heart. His intentions are pure, not at all confusing, and I always felt so safe to be who I am.”
“Tolerance was very important to Dave,” Ms. Hartstein said, “Practicing it. Teaching it. Living it. The biggest honor anyone could ever give my husband would be to live their lives with more of it. He made the world a better place in the short time he was here. You can do the same. Start now. Live every moment as if it’s your last.”
Ms. Hartstein said that her husband most likely contracted the virus in the basement of their South Emden Road house, approximately six weeks ago while he was preparing a woodworking shop for his own use. The space was only accessible through an outside door.
His first symptoms came two weeks before his death and included mild large-muscle tightness, joint pain, and mild fatigue. Dr. Hartstein thought he might have Lyme disease, which he had had before.
A week before his death, he felt very ill and, after celebrating a birthday he shared with his wife, left early to go home and rest. He sweated through a fever that night, but woke up feeling fine.
For the following three days, he had the same mild symptoms as the week before. The Wednesday before he died, he went for a Lyme disease test, started medicine, but had a 104-degree fever that night.
The fever vacillated from 99 to 104 after that. Early in the morning on June 17, an ambulance was called because he was complaining of difficulty breathing. He died that evening at Southampton Hospital.
Dr. Hartstein grew up in Farmingville. He was born on June 9, 1976, in Smithtown to Mel Hartstein and the former Joyce Kalstein. He is also survived by a brother, Matt Hartstein, of Rochester.
He attended Sachem High School and then the State University at Geneseo, where he was a biology major. Following gaining his undergraduate degree, he enrolled at the New York Chiropractic College in Seneca Falls.
He married the former Heather Martin on Sept. 5, 1999.
After graduation, he bought his East Hampton practice, where he saw patients for 10 years. He opened an office in Montauk later in his career.
Ms. Hartstein said that her husband was a family man and adored his children, spending a “tremendous amount of time with them.” He was a surfer and woodworker in his spare time and enjoyed reading and music.
“He was a loving son to his parents and to mine,” she said, “and a devoted brother and brother-in-law. He was a supportive husband.”
The couple had been together for 17 years, married for 12, and were best friends, Ms. Hartstein said. “Our strength lay not in the perfections of our time together, but our imperfections. We were committed to working at our marriage, our parenting, and our communication. It was not easy, but that’s why it was so strong. We never gave up on each other. He was a healer.”
Ms. Hartstein said that as a chiropractor, his patients adored him and that his “kind, gentle demeanor touched people’s hearts and his strong, confident hands healed their bodies.”
He was a cherished friend to many, she said. Upward of 500 people at celebration of his life in Montauk on June 23 that was officiated by Cantor Debra Stein of the Jewish Center of the Hamptons and Gen Norden, a Buddhist nun. His ashes will be scattered by his family in the ocean.
Memorial donations have been suggested to the East End Foundation, care of Roger Feit, Box 1746, Montauk, 11954. Contributions are to be marked “Hartstein.”
A benefit spin class for Dr. Hartstein’s family will be held at Flywheel East Hampton on Sunday at 4 p.m. The minimum donation is $30. Light refreshments will be served after the spin.