Dr. Gerald Yukevich sat in the staff room on the second floor at Vineyard Medical Care, where he has worked as a primary care physician for the past 12 years. He had brought with him a photograph.

In the picture his father, Dr. Michael Yukevich, is wearing glasses and a white lab coat and peers into a microscope. The elder Dr. Yukevich went into medicine after he was stricken by polio at age 14 and not agile enough to work in the Pennsylvania coal mines like others in the family.

“Between him and me, we’ve been practicing since about 1936,” Gerry Yukevich said.

Those 82 years will come to an end in September when Dr. Yukevich retires, ending a career that has touched hundreds of Vineyard lives.

He was born in Steubenville, Ohio, in 1946.

“It was very smoky and sooty where we were growing up,” he recalled. “There were two steel mills. My dad looked after a lot of the steel workers.”

During his freshman year at Princeton when he came home for Thanksgiving, his mother implored him to accompany his father to a county medical meeting.

Dr. Yukevich's father was also a doctor. Combined, they practiced medicine for 82 years. — Jeanna Shepard

“Come on,” he recalled her saying. “He’d love to spend time with you.”

He went reluctantly.

“On the way down to the meeting, my father said, Gerry, did you ever consider medicine as a profession? And I said, sure, I’ve considered it. When we got there he introduced me to his friends and said, This is my son, Gerry. He’s considering medicine as his profession,” Dr. Yukevich recalled with a laugh.

So medicine it was. He majored in English and wrote poetry but kept up with chemistry, organic chemistry and biology. He wrote his thesis on William Faulkner. He obtained a deferment from the draft to attend medical school at the University of Cincinnati, graduating in 1973.

“When I have Vietnam veterans as patients, I always thank them for what they did,” he said. “Because I could easily have been dead, or in their place.”

After medical school Dr. Yukevich lived and practiced in the Boston area, apart from a stint as a cruise ship doctor, an experience which later informed a comic novel. He obtained a master’s degree in public health from Harvard University. He eventually founded the Buster-Scimitar Theatre, which specialized in European farse in the original languages, Pirandello, for example, in Italian.

It was theatre that brought Dr. Yukevich to the Island with his wife Martha and their daughter Anna in 1995. He visited to perform in a Bloomsday celebration honoring James Joyce in the Katharine Cornell Theatre in Vineyard Haven.

“I was standing in the doorway of the theatre, and I didn’t realize, but I was looking out at the house we were going to buy,” he said. They learned the house was reasonably affordable and bought it two days later.

After a few years commuting off-Island, he began work as a doctor in the emergency department at the Martha’s Vineyard Hospital.

“When we came down here, I haven’t seen a single cliche,” he said. “This is a very original place.”

A board-certified internist with a long background in emergency medicine, Dr. Yukevich later left the hospital to join the Vineyard Haven clinic founded by Dr. Michael Jacobs, who also has since retired.

He also never gave up writing or the arts.

His father’s story is the basis for a new novel he’s working on. It takes place in Pittsburgh in the 1920s and 30s. This will be his second novel; he has also written a couple of screenplays and a dozen or so plays.

There is of course a long tradition of physician writers, including John Keats, Anton Chekhov, William Carlos Williams, Abraham Verghese, Perri Klass. An acquaintance with anatomy, with the workings of the body, apparently lends itself to other compositions. At the very least, doctors are exposed to lots of personalities.

“The stories are what I really love. I look for stories,” Dr. Yukevich said. “Nurses in the emergency department used to get a little bit irritated because I would take a long time with patients just to find out what was going on. Somebody comes in with an ankle sprain, it’s a story! How did that happen?”

He has become known for that attention, said Michael Loberg, president of Vineyard Medical Care.

“He’s special,” Mr. Loberg said. “He brings a humanity to the practice.”

Dr. Yukevich is former president of the board of directors of the Martha’s Vineyard Playhouse and now serves as treasurer. Next month, he will perform in another Bloomsday celebration, as he has each year since he and his family arrived.

His daughter Anna takes after him. She now works at the Atlantic Theatre in New York city.

He looks forward to a retirement full of writing, theatre, music and travel. He matter-of-factly lists the languages he speaks: German and Spanish are his strongest (he used to work in a Spanish-speaking clinic once a week), followed by French, Russian, and Italian. His Polish has gotten rusty.

He studies violin as well, and takes piano with musician Adele Dreyer.

In retirement, he plans to continue to serve as medical director of Hope Hospice.

For the past four years he has been under scrutiny by the state Board of Registration in Medicine, a legal proceeding that he said has been difficult but is expected to reach a resolution soon. “It’s about one of my patients who tried to sell an opiate prescription that I wrote,” he said.

Meanwhile, Dr. Yukevich has sent a letter out to the many patients he has become close to during his time as a physician at Vineyard Medical Care.

The hand-signed letter explains that he will be retiring.

“Some of us have shared some joyous, some painful and even tragic experiences, but as partners I feel we have tried to sustain dignity and hope through life’s challenges,” he writes. “Had I 45 more years, I would be happy to sign on again for this privilege with you, but I don’t.”

He said: “I do get sad when I send these letters out. Because for me, it’s a farewell.”

He estimates more than 1,000 patients will have to make arrangements to find care elsewhere. He’s sending personal letters to hundreds of them.

“It’s been a great privilege to know these people,” he said.