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Ernest H. Taves, 87; doctor left practice to craft stories

Dr. Ernest Henry Taves of Cambridge, a psychoanalyst turned fiction writer, died in Mount Auburn Hospital on Aug. 16 of complications following a heart attack. He was 87.

A writer since his youth, Dr. Taves began to slowly phase out his medical career after his first story, "The Firefighters," was published in Playboy magazine in 1969.

"He tried to sell his stories from an early age," his son, Henry V. Taves of Louisiana, said yesterday. "Writing was something he always had in the back of his mind and just kept on pursuing. He was absolutely thrilled when his story was actually published."

By 1968, Dr. Taves began writing fiction seriously, giving up his private psychiatry and psychoanalysis practice by 1972.

Many of his stories appeared in various periodicals during the 1970s and he published numerous book reviews, two books on the history of the Mormon Church, and "The UFO Enigma," a book examining the UFO phenomenon from a psychoanalyst's and astronomer's perspective. His co-author was astronomer Donald H. Menzel.

Born and raised in Aberdeen, Idaho, Dr. Taves graduated from Aberdeen High School before attending Oregon State College and Columbia College. He earned his doctorate from Columbia University and his medical degree from New York University College of Medicine.

He then joined the US Army Medical Corps, serving from 1946 to 1948, reaching the rank of captain while he was chief of the neuropsychiatric section at the 155th Station Hospital in Yokohama, Japan.

Upon leaving the Army, Dr. Taves moved to New York City, where he established a practice in psychiatry and psychoanalysis, which he relocated to Cambridge in 1954.

Passionate about amateur radio, Dr. Taves made a point to travel to every county in the United States to get on-air.

"He was part of this little club of people around the US who get a certain satisfaction making contact with every single county radio station, they call themselves county hunters," his son said. "It took him about five or six years, but he made it on-air in every county. He even tried to do it a second time, but I don't know if he ever finished."

Dr. Taves, along with his late wife, Judith de Forest Taves, were dedicated to the conservation of the New Hampshire rural landscape, protecting several tracts of land by donating cash and conservation easements.

Described by his son as "congenial, distinguished, and a stickler for the English language," Dr. Taves enjoyed golfing at his winter home in Naples, Fla. He was also a proprietor of the Boston Athenaeum and a member of the Port Royal Club of Naples.

In addition to his son, Dr. Taves leaves a brother, Milton A. of Wilmington, Del.; and two granddaughters.

Services are private.

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