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MEMORIALS

Joe Graham Anthony Sr. M.D.
Eugene Blum M.D.
Bill Clague M.D.
Jerrold Corbett, M.D.
Michael Dietz M.D.
James S. Eley M.D.
Henry "Hank" Frank, M.D.  
Alex Frazer, M.D.
Scott Gavin, M.D.
Allan Goodman M.D.
Michael J. Hitchko M.D.
George Kasper, M.D.
Jerome Lengyel M.D.
Ted Loring M.D.
John Machen M.D.
Floyd Marchi M.D.
Jeff Minckler, PHD, M.D.
Kenneth Eugene Mooslin M.D.
Jerold E. Phelps M.D.
Russel Pardoe, M.D.
Henry C. Portalupi, M.D.
Richard Ricklefs M.D.
Eric Schwietz, M.D.
E. Kenneth Smith M.D
Chuck Schwartz M.D.
Joe Walsh M.D.
Lucien J. Wright M.D.

TRIBUTE TO "DR.JOE"

JOSEPH G. ANTONY SR., M.D.

"Dr. Joe", 63, died April 27, 2000, at home in Eureka surrounded by his loving family after a courageous battle with pancreatic duct cancer.
He was born on June 25, 1936, in Lawton, Okla. The son of a general practitioner, he decided while going on house calls with his father that he too someday wanted to be a doctor. When he was 8 years old the family moved to Medford, Ore. He was a graduate of Medford High School where he was a football star. He then graduated from Santa Clara University in 1958 and the University of Oregon Medical School in 1963. He became a flight surgeon for the U.S. Army during the Vietnam Conflict. His pediatric internship was served in Forty Benning, Ga., and his residency was in El Paso, Texas. After seven years in the Army, during which he earned the Army Commendation medal, he worked for Kaiser Permanente for one year before moving to Eureka in 1970. He was the heart of Eureka Pediatrics - a favorite among patients, parents, and staff for nearly 30 years because of his humor, loving ways, and his ability to befriend and relax even the most frightened patients. He would tease, laugh, and cry with his little friends and always included a big hug.
In 1984 he married his wife, Cheryl, and they blended their families into one. The challenge of raising seven children with their pranks, problems, and everyday shenanigans kept them busy. Their home was always open to friends and full of love. Joe could make a game out of anything, even moving the "green slag" from one freezer to the next. He would joke about the times they had five boys in that dreaded category of "male under 25" for car insurance or all seven children in college or professional school at once resulting in three extra mortgages.
His biggest sense of pride was his children and their lives and accomplishments - he was so proud to know they all turned out to be caring individuals with love for their fellow man. He loved to "pick rocks" for abalone and enjoyed his getaway house in Shelter Cove. He never went out there without 20 loaves of BIG LOAF for his friends the foxes and deer.
With his wife as Mrs. Claus, he was Santa at Glen Paul School and for many friends and family for the past 10 years. In 1999 he had planned to retire from Eureka pediatrics but became ill before this could happen. He showed us all true bravery and dignity throughout his illness.
He is survived by his wife and best friend, Cheryl; his children and their spouses, Dr. Susan Antony Harris and husband, Jerry of Portland, Ore., Dr. Joseph G. Antony Jr., of Eureka, Dr. Matthew Antony and wife, Amy of Portland, Ore., Martin Antony and wife Diana of Sacramento, Dr. Jennifer Lundmark, of Sacramento, Dr. David Lundmark and wife, Erica of Los Altos, and Andrew Lundmark and his wife Melissa of Fort Collins, Colo. He was "Grandpa Joby" to his seven grandchildren, Lindsay, Timothy, and Thomas Harris, Benjamin, Jacob and Olivia Antony, and Aaron Lundmark. He is also survived by his sister Sherry Nutting and her husband, Ron of Portland, Ore.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Dr. Joseph T. Antony and Florence Arden Antony; and his siblings, Tony Antony, Paul Antony, and Terry Reich.
Dr. Joe was a member and former president of the Humboldt Del Norte Medical Society, a longtime representative of the Northern California Physicians Council, a former member of the staffs of General and St. Joseph Hospitals, and a previous chief of staff at General Hospital.
Dr. Joe's family is compiling a scrapbook of his life and would appreciate notes from his former patients and families describing his effects on their lives. Please send to: Dr. Joe Scrapbook. P.O. Box 6744, Eureka 95502.
Special thanks to Dr. Cory Spencer, his staff and lab employees, and to Hospice of Humboldt, especially Lynn and Audrey.
In lieu of flowers please send memorials to: Hospice of Humboldt, 2010 Myrtle Ave., Eureka 95502, or Humboldt Area Foundation, P.O. Box 99, Bayside 95524, for purchase of equipment overlooking his favorite abalone field at Shelter Cove.

PERSONAL NOTES ON THE LOSS OF JOE ANTONY, SR.

On April 27, 2000, with the passing on of Dr. Joe, our community lost a truly great Physician. I had the distinct pleasure of working with Joe for the last 20 years as his partner. In the early years, when it was often just Joe and I working in our busy practice, we often saw more of each other than we saw of our respective spouses. Joe was more than my partner. He was my mentor, friend, confidant, and often my crutch. I am not unique in this regard. He was this and more to many of us on the Medical Staff and in the community.
Dr. Joe was the epitome of what a Pediatrician should be. He was loving, compassionate, dependable, knowledgeable, and a superb communicator. At Christmas time, Joe and Cheryl would always dress up as Mr. and Mrs. Claus, to play Santa for our disadvantaged children at Glen Paul School. Joe never really needed to dress for the part. Joe was Santa Claus, or as close as you could come to a child's perception of what Santa would be like 365 days a year. Put him in a room with children, and they would all be attracted to him like nails to a magnet. Joe did equally well with parents. Parents uniformly felt safe when Joe was looking after their most valuable possessions - their children. He could handle the most anxious or frustrated mother with disarming smile, and then instill confidence that he would make her child well - and he would.
It was sometimes hard to be partner to someone like Joe. I never felt I could quite measure up. But what a great partner he was! Joe could be up for 24 hrs. straight taking care of a critically ill neonate, and then arrive in the office only to find his schedule packed with 35-40 patients, with more calling in by the minute wanting to see him. As exhausted as he might be, the instant he opened the exam room door to the next patient, al the fatigue was gone. He made each family feel special and that they had his undivided attention, interest, compassion, and knowledge, whether they were his first patients of the day or the 40th. He made every mother feel like her child was the only patient he had. What a Physician!
I will miss Joe terribly. Going to the office will never be quite the same without his smiling face, crazy practical jokes, and his indomitable spirit which permeated the building. Humboldt County has truly lost a great Physician, and I a great friend. An Irish Blessing to you Joe -

By Chris Cody

As you go
May the road rise up to meet your feet,
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face, and
The rain fall softly upon your fields, and
May God hold you in the palm of his hand.


Joe Antony will be greatly missed by all of us in the medical community. Joe was my partner and friend for the last 5 years, and I will never forget his lighthearted good humor, his genuine concern for the people around him, and his dedication to the children of Eureka. I think what I loved the most about Joe was that he always had a joke, a funny story or a kind word for whomever crossed his path. He loved to joke with his patients. I remember one story he told me, that epitomized his sense of fun. A strapping young man who had been Joe's patient all his life came in for a physical prior to entry into the police academy. After the exam was finished, Joe looked at the boy and said jestingly, "I want to know something before I pass you. If you pull me over for speeding, will you give me a ticket?" The boy looked back to Joe and said, "Joe you've been my doctor all my life, and whenever I saw you, you always gave me a sucker. So, yes, I'd give you a ticket, but I'd give you a sucker too."
Joe chuckled over that one all day. Joe, we miss you.

By Emily Lambert, M.D.

Editorial Note: There are plans to build a children's park in Shelter Cove in Joe's memory. A Fund has been set up with the Humboldt Area Foundation, P.O. Box 99, Bayside, CA 95524.


 

Eugene Blum, M.D.
1949-2006

I have lost a good friend with the passing of Gene Blum. It was a friendship that built slowly over many years, in keeping with Gene’s quite, reserved demeanor. He was bright, witty and very involved in the ongoing events of the world, both locally and globally. His love for his family seemed deep and abiding. In his quiet way, he was forever doing kind and sensitive gestures for those around him, whether to be pitching in to help in the step-aerobic classes we shared over many years or researching medical issues and sending information to colleagues who seemed stuck on a particular issue.These things he did quietly without much ado, because he just liked to help. He had a zest for life, a love of people, and his work as a physician. We have a lost a complex, gentle soul.

By John Gambin, M.D.


 

James William (Bill) Clague, M.D.

1922-2006

 

Off call
I’ve known Bill for over 25 years as a surgeon and as a man of many talents. A man with a wonderful sense of humor, always on the
move, and with boundless energy. He frequently discussed his early years which included living and attending school in Shanghai, China. On returning to the United States he attended Stanford, where he obtained a B.Sc. in Mathematics and played outfield for the Stanford baseball team. He also attended medical school at Stanford, and served in the military during the Korean War. Upon his discharge he completed his surgical residency and became Board Certified in General Surgery. He joined Norm Christensen and Joseph Walsh in Eureka, bringing Martha, his wife, and his family to permanently reside and practice in the area. He was a member of many medical associations, and served as Chief of the Medical Staff of the Eureka General Hospital. I first met him while I was working in the Emergency Department of the General, and knew that whenever I had a patient needing surgery that he would be there in about 30 seconds and have them on their way to the OR. He loved surgery, joking with his colleagues, fishing and bragging about it, golfing (but needed his green jacket and plaid pants), camping with his family and friends and going home to be with Martha, not necessarily in that order. He would break whatever he was doing to say, “ I got to get home to my little bed bunny” and he would zoom out the door. Bill retired in 1989, and traveled for several years with Martha and Tenzing (his cat) in their RV. Bill led a full and exciting life, always going at great speed to wherever he was headed. He contributed years of excellent surgical care to the community and I believe loved every minute of it. He provided great surgical skill along with a fun-loving and caring heart and will be missed by many old friends. We will not see another “Bill.”

By Joan F.C. Davies, M.D.


 

corberrt

 

Jerrold Corbett, M.D.

1924 - 2011

 

Passed away after a long illness Sunday April 17, 2011 in Jackson, CA at the age of 86 years. He was born August 20, 1924, to John & Edna (Brant) Corbett in Minot, North Dakota. Jerrold was a veteran, serving in the U.S. Navy during World War II and the Korean War. He studied medicine at the University of North Dakota Medical School, and Loma Linda University in Loma Linda, CA. He took a short break from medical school to attend the College of Arts & Crafts in Oakland, CA. His College fraternity was Sigma Chi. Jerrold married Joan Bray on May 23, 1955 in Grand Fork, North Dakota. He finished his medical degree in 1957 and interned at the White Memorial Hospital in Las Angeles, CA and then enjoyed a 54-year career as a Family Medical Doctor. He practiced medicine at Sutter-Amador clinics in Pioneer and Plymouth. He was also on staff at Sutter-Amador Hospital in Jackson, CA. His career included Chief of Staff at the Roseville Hosp., Director of Humboldt State University Student Health Center and on staff at St. Joseph Hospital in Eureka, CA. He served as weekend ER physician at the Hoopa Indian reservation in Hoopa, CA. He spent 9 years traveling all over the Pacific and south Atlantic on clipper ships as ship doctor. He sailed 14 times to Antarctica for the society and special expeditions. Jerrold was a member of the American Medical Assoc., California Medical Assoc., The Placer-Nevada Medical Assoc., Sacramento County Medical Society, Humboldt-Del Norte Medical Society, The Elks Lodge and The American Legend. He enjoyed gardening, decorating his home and puttering around the house. He is survived by his wife of 55 years, Joan Corbett of Sutter Creek, CA.


 

Michael Dietz, M.D.

1949-2009

My partner and friend, Michael Dietz, died January 17, 2009, from complications after a medical procedure.
I met Michael shortly after Suzanne and he moved to Humboldt County from Martha’s Vineyard in late 1992. Bob Brenman had hired him for Northcoast Medical Group just before Tim Edell and Dan Brandenberg moved out of the area. Even before Michael arrived, Bob joined Eureka Internal Medicine and brought the new rheumatologist with him. Michael used to say that practicing on Martha’s Vineyard was great for 1/4 of the year, when the summer folk swelled the population, but a struggle for the other 9 depopulated months. Being an island, it also made visiting family and traveling a challenge.
Michael was born in Philadelphia, the oldest of 5 children. He attended Franklin and Marshall College, then got his medical degree from Temple University. His internship and residency were at Barnes Hospital of Washington University, in St. Louis. His rheumatology fellowship was at UCLA, followed by 2 years of basic science research in immunogenetics at Harvard Medical School.
His Mother, Fay, tells of Michael developing post-streptococcal glomerulonephritis at age 10, necessitating 3 months of enforced bedrest. During this time, he asked for a sketchpad and began his lifelong love of drawing and art by sketching objects and scenes outside his window. In recent years, he even had a studio in Arcata, and made a point of painting one day a week.
Michael also loved music. He convinced his Dad to buy him an accordion, and played it up to the age of 13. At an office birthday celebration, one of our medical assistants was playing her accordion, and Michael took it and slammed out a few songs from that distant memory. He also played the acoustic guitar and harmonica, learning them his first year of medical school. A lover of Dylan, many a time he would don his harmonica harness and strum and blow at his house or mine. Not Dylan, but not bad.
Listening to classical music was also a passion. I think Bach was his favorite. Michael had a long standing sleep disturbance, which may explain why Bach’s Goldberg Variations spoke to him: It was said to have been written by Bach for the Russian ambassador to Saxony, who was an insomniac, for Bach’s young protégé, Goldberg to play on the piano during the ambassador’s long sleepless nights. (True or not, it makes a good story.)
In recent years, Michael got back into ping-pong, which he learned while working in the lab at Harvard, playing with the Asians at lunch. Michael would play with the big boys at the Arcata Community Center on Wednesday nights. He spun every ball, always threw me off guard. He was good, I’m not bad, and we had many a close game.
Michael always talked about the great fishing on Martha’s Vineyard—true or not—and continued to flyfish on our rivers. He was a good caster, knew how to read water, but, like the rest of us, felt our fishing was somewhat overrated.
Yet even with all his varied interests, his son, Isaac, was the love of his life. When Isaac was young, he and Suzanne would keep journals, and weekly write about Isaac. At his family memorial service, Suzanne shared some of those entries, and it choked me up, feeling the love and joy he had having Isaac in his life.
In remembering their brother, Michael’s sibs all mention his dancing. They say he taught them all to dance. He loved Motown, but had the “Philadelphia moves.”
For me, Michael died too soon. He was a great doctor, artist, fisherman, musician, father, and friend. I, with many others, will miss his greatly.

by Richard Wolf, M.D.


JAMES S ELEY, M.D.

1916-2000


James S. Eley, M.D., a retired family practice physician passed away July 28, 2000, at the age of 84.
Dr. Eley was born in Lima, Ohio in 1916. He received his medical degree from Ohio State University in 1942. He enlisted in the army during World War II and served as a Post Surgeon at Camp Molgrie, North Carolina. At the end of the war he moved to Eureka where he established a private practice. Dr. Eley served as the President of the Humboldt-Del Norte County Medical Society in 1958. Dr. Eley was a 50 year member of the Shriners, having received his 32nd degree; a member of Post 212 - American Legion, in Eureka; a member of Tahoe Amateur Radio Association; Member of the Board St. Joseph Hospital, Eureka; and a past president of the Ingomar Club.
Dr. Eley had a great love of the outdoors. He enjoyed hunting, bringing home many trophies, and fishing, especially deep sea fishing. He built his own boat, the BEME named after his children. He supervised and helped in the construction of that and many others. He owned and lived on a ranch in Eureka raising cattle.
In 1975, Dr. Eley retired and joined various cruise ship lines as Ship’s Surgeon. He circled South America and traveled extensively in the South Pacific, the Orient, and many other countries. He later moved to Lake Tahoe, Nevada.
Dr. Eley is survived by his wife, two daughters, one son, and five grandchildren. Remembrances may be made to the Shriner Children’s Hospital in Sacramento or the Ohio Masonic Home (for the aged) in Springfield, Ohio.


 

frank

HENRY "HANK" FRANK, M.D.

1924 - 2011


Henry "Hank" Frank, M.D. (1924-2011) was an exemplary physician of the "old school" - a true friend and colleague. He didn't have "patients," he had "friends." He was comfortable at home with his family, in his office, making rounds in the hospital, or working in the operating and delivery rooms; but never more comfortable than on his favorite horse "Thumper," rounding up cattle on the Gift Ranch in Kneeland or in Redwood Valley.
He interrupted his education at Humboldt State College to serve his country as a member of the U.S. Army Air Corps. At the end of the war he returned to Arcata, resumed his education and married his college sweetheart, Rosanne Hill. His first year of Medical School, on the Berkeley campus of U.C. was followed by a move to San Francisco for a Masters degree. He received his M.D. in 1956 from UCSF. His published paper was "Roentgen Cephalometric Studies on Skull Development in Rats." He maintained a life long interest in radiology. (During the "lean" student years, Rosanne decorated their Christmas tree with a string of popcorn they kept for over 20 years!) He interned at Southern Pacific Hospital followed by residency in Santa Rosa. They returned home and set up practice in Arcata. He worked at Trinity Hospital and later was instrumental in opening Mad River Community Hospital. By then the family included Lon, Kara and Lisa.
Hank was part of that rare breed of doctors who made house calls. His word was better than a contract and his sense of humor, sometimes dry, was never mean spirited. Rosanne and he were married 64 years. His life long friends, Lee Larson and Kenny Geigler, could be counted on for hunting and fishing trips to Colorado, the Trinity Alps or Orleans. He enjoyed reading westerns and science fiction and had an extensive library. However, he preferred the outdoors and never worked a computer! The family maintained a summer cabin in Big Lagoon where Hank walked the beach looking for agates. He was a supporter of Humboldt State Football and held season tickets for several years.
Hank was a personal friend and an excellent assistant in surgery. He was truly a gentleman who will be missed, not only by his family but the many "friends" he served so well as their physician.

By Scott Holmes, M.D., FACS


ALEX FRAZER, M.D. 1950 - 1996

 
I first met Alex Frazer in the Spring of 1991, when through a mutual friend, we discovered that we had both attended medical school in Guadalajara at the same time.  Those of you who have studied out of the country can appreciate how wonderful it was to discover someone “from the homeland,” as it were.  We were able to dredge up memories, that while we were living them were terrifying, but had softened and become funny over time.  From this fortuitous set of circumstances we founded Los Gringo Perdidos (The Lost Gringos) which soon metamorphosed from a nostalgic, blast from the past luncheon gathering at any one of a number of Mexican restaurants, to an intellectually challenging political activist discussion group.
For Alex was nothing, if not instinctively political.  Together we would argue over the entire political landscape, almost always taking opposite sides.  We was one of the most articulate, interested, and interesting men I’ve ever met.  He read the Wall Street Journal, and I read The Nation.  We argued, laughed and stimulated some wonderful creative energies.  We often tried to implement some of the ideas we spun into our own practices.
Alex was always interested in the larger picture.  “How can we make the system better?”  “What can be, as physicians do, to improve the delivery of services, before someone decides for us?”  “We, as physicians must take charge of our future, and not be dictated to by a bunch of administrative bean counters.” It was toward those ends that he helped organize the access to care committee, and got very involved in Medical Society affairs.  In fact, he served as president of the Medical Society from l994-95, and it was during his tenure that Humboldt-Del Norte physicians formed the IPA, and took the early steps toward forming a community based health plan for local businesses and employers.
He and I served together on the editorial committee of the Medical Society, and he made it a great committee.  Even Penny admits that our meetings were a lot of fun.  His sense of humor was infectious, and his wit could cut like a sword.
The range of his interests and energy was enormous: witness the dairy farm, his collection of cards, his pilot’s license, his radio talk show, his boat, not to mention his full-time practice of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation.  This from a man who’d had a heart transplant in 1990!
Alex was never one to talk about his own health, preferring instead to just “get on with it,” moving on to the next task: delivering a new calf or doing a rehab consult.  To him, the joy was in the doing.  Actually, if he had any weak spot at all, it was his unconcern for his own health.  He developed cardiomyopathy in 1990, underwent heart transplantation at Stanford in the Spring, and then seemed to go back to work almost immediately.
Up until the end of his life he never complained or mentioned anything at all about his health. We didn’t realize how sick he was until the end of his life when the pain and organ failure became overwhelming.  He was 46 years old; far too young to be done.  But in that short time he touched all of us, and certainly, for me, made life a little better and a lot more fun.  I already miss his “cow talk,” and his infectious energy.  Alex, you are sorely missed.
If anyone in interested in memorializing Alex, he wished that all memorial contributions be sent to:
                        Canine Companions for Independence
                        P. O. Box 446
                        Santa Rosa, CA 95402-0446.

by Stephen Kamelgarn, M. D.


 

Scott Gavin M.D.

1941 - 2010

Scott Gavin was a loving partner, devoted father, doting grandfather, dedicated doctor and a friend to all. Philip Scott Gavin was born May 29, 1941 in West Des Moines, IA to Philip and Charlotte Gavin. Scott grew up in San Diego and attended St. Augustine High School followed by the University of San Diego. He was the first USD graduate to be accepted into medical school, attending Marquette University in Milwaukee, WI where he received a Doctorate of Medicine. Scott worked as a General Medicine intern at Long Beach Memorial Hospital in California. In 1967 he participated in the birth of his son, Patrick Gavin, which influenced him to focus on obstetrics and gynecology during his residency at Kaiser Hospital in Hollywood, CA. He was drafted into the U.S. Air Force, commissioned as a Major, and served as an OB/GYN stationed at Elmendorf AFB in Anchorage, Alaska. With the assistance of Senator Mike Gravel, he petitioned for and received an honorable discharge as a Conscientious Objector because of his unquestionable distain for war. He returned to Los Angeles, CA and joined a thriving practice. In 1973 Scott had the privilege of delivering his daughter, Rebecca Gavin and in 1975 he delivered his second daughter, Erin Gavin Bolton. In 1980 Scott took a year off to explore and find a beautiful, safe place for his children and to practice medicine. A year later he settled in McKinleyville, CA and joined the Humboldt Open Door Community Health Center for their devotion and commitment to everyone. Dr. Gavin was instrumental in expanding the clinic’s medical services and starting the home birth program. In 1986 he built his dream home on a pristine piece of land in McKinleyville that includes the beautiful Mill Creek Falls. In 1991 Scott opened a private practice in Sunnybrae, CA where he selflessly provided 24/7 care for his patients. His children were honored to assist him in his private practice and experienced the extraordinary doctor he was and the unconditional love he shared with everyone. Over the course of his medical career, Dr. Gavin saved many lives and delivered approximately 8,000 new ones into the world. He retired from private practice in 2001 and soon suffered health complications that impacted the quality of his retirement years. Despite Scott’s health issues, he and his partner Julie enjoyed 11 happy years together sharing all of the good things that life has to offer; collecting agates, gardening, and spending time with grandchildren. Scott was always devoted to his children, providing unconditional love, continuous support and special experiences. He adored his three grandchildren and loved spending time with them, watching them grow. Scott was generous, compassionate and wise. He put life first whether it was giving food to people in need or rescuing injured animals. He respected all living things and felt an immense love for nature. Scott had a life long love of horse racing which he shared with his family. After surviving 7 years with Mantle Cell Lymphoma, Scott died peacefully at home surrounded by his family at age 69. Scott is survived by his devoted partner, Julie Devrouax; his 3 children, Patrick (Sara) Gavin, Rebecca Gavin & Erin (Aum) Bolton; 3 grandchildren Hannah & Lane Bolton, Jack Gavin & a sibling on the way; and sisters Tracy Federman & Gay Gavin. In addition, his cherished friends Allan & Peggy Hubacker, Norman & Carolyn Bell, Bill Carlson, Herrmann & Cheyenne Spetzler, Terry Chapman, Angel Fargas & Ku-Hsiang Lin, and high school friends “The LADS” Ozzie Gontang, John Abels, Jim Serra and Bill Beck. A celebration of Scott’s Life was held on November 7, 2010.


 

Allan Goodman, M.D.

1942 - 2004

M y partner and friend, Allan Goodman died Nov 11, 2004, at his home on Humboldt Hill after a more than 10 year battle with thymic carcinoma. Those 10 years saw Allan undergo two thoracotomies, radiation, pleurodesis, and innumerable courses of chemotherapy. Allan did not “go gentle into that good night,” but when he realized he had exhausted all potentially effective therapies, he accepted the inevitable with the active involvement and dignity with which he lived his life.
Allan was born in Santa Monica, the son of a general practitioner. He attended U.C. Berkeley, where he met his future wife, Lori Bernstein, whom he married in the summer of 1963. They went off for medical school at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, then an internship and residency at U.C.L.A. followed by fulfilling his Berry Plan military commitment with a year in Long Binh in Vietnam and then a year in Colorado Springs. Allan returned to U.C.L.A. to complete his residency then studied hepatology under Telford Reynolds at U.S.C.
The Goodmans lived across the corridor from Larry and Terri Hill during internship at U.C.L.A. and maintained their friendship as they went their separate ways through training and the military. When each needed to decide on a practice after fellowship, Larry Hill told Allan about an opportunity Gary Baker had told him about in Fortuna. The community was offering a paid recruiting trip to visit, which they did, and both families decided to move to the area and associate with Ted Welton. A year later Allan and Larry decided to join with Jerome Lengyel to form Eureka Internal Medicine. They were the first Board Certified Internists in the county.
In the mid 70’s there were no gastroenterologists in the area, and endoscopy was in its infancy. Having been trained in hepatology, Allan saw that he was the right fit to fill Eureka’s need for endoscopy services and grew with the field to eventually limit his practice to gastroenterology and perform the wide range of endoscopy for the community. And he did it skillfully.
Jack Irvine joined E.I.M. in 1975, and Cyril Barch and I joined in 1980. Eureka Internal Medicine continued to expand over the years to our present size of 17 doctors and 3 mid levels. Allan was always our heart and conscience. He deeply believed in quality medical care, had a keen eye for the business of medicine, and was a prime mover and visionary for our group.
Allan loved medicine but also loved his non-professional life. He encouraged me to take up fly fishing though I never could hope to approach his dedication and skill in the sport. He made yearly pilgrimages to Christmas Island for its world class bonefishing, and innumerable forays into our local waters for steelhead. In years past he was heavily into volleyball in area traveling leagues, and skiing at Bend, Oregon. But, next to Lori and his daughters, I sensed that Allan’s greatest love was golf. He learned it at a very early age, and was junior champion in Los Angeles for several years. I seem to recall that he once told me that there was a time when he had to decide whether to become a professional golfer or go into medicine. Myth or not, he served both masters for much of his life, and was beyond good in each field.
I met Allan the day I arrived in Humboldt County. It was Allan who asked me to move to Eureka Internal Medicine from Arcata four years later. I admired who he was and what he accomplished. Our practice is where it is today because of his vision. Humboldt County medicine has greatly benefited from his skills. He will be dearly missed.

By Richard J. Wolf, M.D.


 

Michael J Hitchko MD

1913-2007

 Mike was born November 10, 1913 in Pottstown, Pennsylvania.  His parents had recently emigrated from the area of Eastern Europe which would become Czechoslovakia in 1919. He attended undergraduate school at Carroll College in Cleveland, Ohio, and graduated from Loyola University School of Medicine, Chicago, in 1941.  His internship at the U S Army’s Letterman General Hospital in San Francisco was a much more rewarding venture than a civilian internship: Cook County Hospital, in Chicago, was paying interns $10.00 per month, plus board, room, and laundry.
Enter fair maid: Marion, who, having completed her nurses training, had also joined the army and was stationed at Letterman.  Love at first sight? Well, almost: they were married late in his internship year.  Because of army regulations, Marion had to resign her commission.
Mike was then sent to the Medical Field Service School at Carlisle Barracks, Pennsylvania for medical and dental officer’s basic training ; which included close-order drill (formation marching).  There was a parallel program at Carlisle Barracks  for enlisted men, who were then commissioned in the Medical Administrative Corps. (I later earned my M.A.C. Commission there).
Mike decided to transfer from the Regular Army to the Army Air Corps, and soon after was sent to Southern China by way of India and Burma.  His Commanding Officer was General Chennault, who had been the air advisor to Chiang-Kai-Shek, and who had also formed the American Volunteer Group known as the “Flying Tigers.”  The Chinese and American troops were under the command of Chiang-Kai-Shek and General “Vinegar Joe” Stilwell: neither could abide the other.  Chiang-Kai-Shek later had Stilwell relieved of his command.  Later, Stilwell, in his writings, referred to Chiang-Kai-Shek as “the peanut.”
Flying equipment and supplies from airstrips in Burma into Southern China, and wounded and sick soldiers out, was extremely hazardous with the C-47 (the military version of the DC-3) aircraft used:  The operating ceiling of the planes was lower than the mountain peaks!   Later, the “Burma Road” carried most of this traffic.
After the war, Mike returned to Letterman Hospital to begin his orthopedic residency.  During his rotation at Shriner’s Hospital he met his future partner, Paul Grigorieff, an orthopedic resident at the University of California in San Francisco.  Along came the Korean Conflict: Mike was assigned to a MASH (Mobile Army Surgical Hospital) and following that was stationed in Puerto Rico, where he decided his Army Life was over.
Mike joined Paul Grigorieff in practice in Eureka in 1954.  Their office was in the old Medical Arts Building at 6th and G Streets, and their phone number was Hillside 2 1105 (Arcata was Van Dyke 2, and Fortuna was Randolph 5).  They built a new office on Harrison Avenue at the corner of St. Joseph drive, and later were joined by Kenneth Roberts, Ed Emmons, and Robert Sampson.  Mike retired in 1981.
I was associated with Mike for many years, initially having an office across the hall.  I found him to be a genuinely kind man.  He was completely apolitical, gracious, and collegial.  He loved to fish, especially on the Smith River, where he had a cabin at one time.  He and Marion’s homestead in Freshwater was his pride and joy: Marion, who remains completely independent, lives there.  He is also survived by his six children: daughters Barbara, of Eureka, and Cathie, of Maui; and sons Michael, of Chico, Kieth, of Grant’s Pass, Bruce, of Calistoga, and Greg, of Eureka.

by Ted Welton MD

(Editors Note:  Mike and I were both army medics who took care of aviators: he in WWII,  I in Viet Nam.  He had a number of “war stories” about flying through the mountain passes in Burma, which was called “flying the hump”.  The airplanes were unable to fly over the mountains, so the pilots had to weave through the valleys between.  Weather forecasting varied between primitive and nonexistent and radio beacons were primitive and unreliable.  There were many fatal crashes.   Mike could have stayed in his clinic on the ground but…being Mike…he opted to ride along on some of the missions to have a better idea of the conditions and stresses his patients were facing.  He was always quietly dismissive about it and felt it was just part of the job, nothing special.
We young docs sometimes feel we’ve outstripped the old timers.  In many ways, we have: we’re smarter about prions, MRSA and such, and we are comfortable with InformationTechnology.But for humility, guts and compassion, few of us will ever match Mike Hitchko.

by George Ingraham)      


 

GEORGE KASPER, M.D.

1929 - 2006

 
Services were held on April 26, 2006, for one of our own; a man who served the people of Del Norte County, with care, for nearly a half century: George Kasper, M.D.
Dr. Kasper was born on August 1, 1929, and grew up in a coal miner’s family in Oak Creek, Colorado. His father was from Germany and his  mother from Croatia. George’s father made sure that George worked in the coal mines in his youth to insure that he would make the choice of college not coal mines.  When George was 17 he joined the marines, where he played saxophone in a dance band.  He was stationed on the island of Guam, where he was a bugler and a night time armed guard. 
George attended medical school at the University of Colorado, graduating in 1956.  He interned in Sacramento from 1956 to 1958.    After his internship moved to Crescent City and associated with Dr. Arveds Alksnis, a displaced surgeon from Latvia.
George worked at the side of Dr. Alksnis where he learned the skills of a surgeon.  George performed minor surgeries.  Dr. Kasper is still renowned for his perfect incisions and very minimal scars.  If you are in the Sutter Coast emergency room getting your incisions sewn the staff will talk about the tiny stitches that Dr. Kasper did.  Dr. Kasper became known as the baby doctor and delivered 2000 babies and when he was out and about, young adults would come up and say, “You delivered me.”  Dr. Kasper retired in April, 2005. The area knew Dr. Kasper as a giving, generous, and kind man who was extremely dedicated to his patients.
George served as an auctioneer for many years for the Easter Seal Silver Ball, now known as the Community Assistance League.   He also raised funds for the American Cancer Society while riding his bicycle four or five times to Salt Lake City, Utah, twice to Washington State and one time to Wisconsin.
If you go to Crescent City you may find various framed photographs signed by George Kasper.  He is well known for his beautiful colorful pictures of flowers and of the redwoods.  Most of his photos he developed in his own “kitchen darkroom” and personally did the matting and framing.
Dr. Kasper is survived by his wife, Arlene Kasper of Crescent City; sons: George and Paul;  daughters: Rhona,  Antonia, Debora,  Lorrie and  Sandy and 4 grandchildren.

by Mark H. Davis, M.D., Del Norte District Chair


 

Jerome Lengyel M.D.

1934-2009

In February, 2009, the Humboldt County medical community lost one of its finest members, Dr. Jerome Lengyel. For many of us, this loss has been a deeply personal one. We have lost a great friend as well as a respected colleague. I have known Jerome most of my professional life, ever since our first acquaintance just after internship. Through our long association at Eureka Internal Medicine I came to know well, greatly respect and love this unique man of so many abilities, talents, interests and accomplishments.
Jerome was born in San Francisco, but grew up in Georgetown, California, raised by a writer and poet father and a librarian and environmentalist mother. It was in Georgetown that he began his exploration of the outdoors in the forests and streams of the Sierra foothills. As a young man he found his way to Humboldt County where he pursued a variety of jobs, including working as a dairy hand and in a sawmill in Hoopa. He spent time in the Merchant Marine and traveled widely. These experiences convinced him to return to school which he did, ultimately graduating with a degree in veterinary medicine from the University of California at Davis. Jerome learned a great deal as a vet, one of those things being that he wanted to be a physician. He returned to school and graduated from the University of Utah School of Medicine in 1967. After internship, he entered the United States Public Health Service, in the division of Indian Health, and was stationed at Crownpoint, New Mexico, from 1968 to 1970, which is where I met him. Crownpoint was the smallest of the hospital units serving the Navajo people, where the hours were long and the work hard but very rewarding. From Crownpoint, Jerome went to Los Angeles and LA County Hospital/USC for his internal medicine training. In 1973 he returned to Humboldt County, joining the practice of Carl Solomonson and Phil Rummell. In 1974 he joined Larry Hill and Alan Goodman to form Eureka Internal Medicine, where he continued to work for the next 35 years.
Jerome took great pride in what EIM accomplished and what it contributed to our community. He was selfless in his concern for the group and its future and always was willing to place group needs ahead of his own personal wants. A more loyal and dedicated member one could not wish for. As a physician, Jerome was the doctor we all aspire to be: compassionate, caring, understanding, a good listener, engaged with his patients, interested in them as individuals who had wisdom to share. What greater tribute can a physician have than to be loved by his patients, and respected by his colleagues for his skills, his knowledge, and his commitment to the ideals of his profession. All this Jerome was.
Jerome married his first wife, Cynthia Ainsworth, while at UC Davis. With her he had four children, Donia, Jed, Tess, and Theo. For the past thirty years he was married to Nancy Threlfall, with whom he had one child, Willa.
Jerome was a man of multiple and varied interests and accomplishments. As an athlete he ran marathons, twice ran the race from Arcata to Willow Creek, ran multiple times the Western States Endurance Run of 100 miles from Squaw Valley to Auburn, and completed the Tour of the Unknown Coast 100 mile bicycle race 21 times.
He was an avid rafter and legendary river kayaker. Every Tuesday and numerous weekend days would find him and his intrepid fellow boaters on some fork of some river on the North Coast. He knew and loved the outdoors and the ways of the wild and delighted in these adventures.
He was a serious reader with broad interests in philosophy, poetry, essays, environmentalism, spirituality, history, literature, and politics. His library reflected those interests and more. His chair at home was surrounded with the many books that he was currently reading. Finishing one book before beginning the next was not how Jerome read. Some books he would finish quickly, some took months, some he never finished but set aside to be taken up again and again. In the last few years of his life he began to write poetry, and then to share that poetry with others. From this he derived great pleasure, as he did with all his many interests. Somehow he also found time to be gardener, amateur botanist, and seed gatherer and dispenser, and story teller.
Above all Jerome was devoted to his family and to his many friends. Many of us were very fortunate to be his friend, to benefit by being embraced by him and to be part of the group he considered his extended family. We will miss this man and all he gave to us. Let us hope that he will continue to inspire us to do our very best.

by Jack Irvine, M.D


 

JOHN F. MACHEN, M.D.

1945-2001


The fall was always a special time on the Klamath River and Klamath River was a special place for John Machen. A memory: Fishing the River one September evening, I see John in his boat returning from up river, and he slows to spy what's happening. He hands me a beer. Bam!-fish on. My right hand hanging on to a fly rod bent to the handle, left hand holding on to a cold beer, foaming out the popped top, and in his boat grinning is one of the best friends I ever had.
I'll always be grateful to John for teaching me how to boat and fish the Klamath River. He taught me with such patience that I remember learning with out paying dues. John wasn't just a good fisherman; he was one of those rare fishermen who could revel in watching one of his friends play a fish. John was there for my first Steelhead on the Klamath. He also witnessed my hooking a Sucker fish on a fly, whence I proved Suckers can't jump. We laughed about that for days. Fishing with John always seemed to make the fish less important and the days more special. He felt getting people to respect fish was more important than hooking fish.
I remember stopping along the Klamath for a relief from the afternoon wind in John's boat. He stepped out on shore, lit up a cigar and casually cast out to an unlikely spot because that's why we were there wasn't it? John hooked into a bruiser. The fish realized it just before he did and the fish ran straight at him. As he started stumbling backward towards shore, the surprise of this unexpected fish propelled that cigar like a cruise missile from his mouth across the water. Whenever someone lights up a cigar that scene replays for me. Fishing with John often meant getting more excited about someone else's fish than he did. That may have been the lesson he taught me.
John was mechanically gifted, one of those invaluable individuals upon whom those of us who couldn't be trusted with a hammer or screwdriver depended. He knew a lot about engines, boats, planes and "guy" stuff. With his boys he built a custom boat and re-built two airplanes. He had faith in things mechanical. If equipment failed to function properly, it was probably due to operator error. All could be salvaged; all could be fixed.
A natural Urologist, John practiced in Eureka for more than twenty years. He often untangled many of our patients from some dire problem. For a Gynecologic Surgeon a Urologist is like a life guard. He was always available and had a reassuring calmness in his manner that seems typical of skilled surgeons. He offered help to his colleagues and offered hope to his patients. Along with his associates, he brought new and more efficacious treatment modalities to Humboldt County.
Growing up in Iowa, John's ethos was definitely Mid-Western, John Deere through and through. I think that accounted for his dry sense of humor, responsible also for his red hair and boyish grin. So many people living in California are from elsewhere. John valued family, friends and the outdoors. Always grateful for small gifts, he accepted them with grace. John and I shared a similar hairline, so a hat was not just a personal statement, but rather a necessity in the outdoors. I remember a hat I wore that John admired. The only one left in the store was an awful purple color, probably even too small for him. Yet he treasured that hat, knowing it was purchased with the currency of friendship.
John exalted in the successes his boys enjoyed, small or large, fishing or otherwise. He recognized and took pride in Matthew's musical prowess. So much so, that I remember at one point he said he was taking up the Sax himself. Scott was already finessing the trombone. For his sons, he was selfless. Teaching Scott to fly fish was high on his agenda. As time went by, John passionately tried to fill the inevitable gaps in his family life and marriage that a career in Medicine leaves behind, like potholes. Time spent with his wife and children became the measure of time's worth.
One dusky evening, John shared with me how he viewed the Klamath River as his sanctuary. He'd muse how the river was always changing yet always constant. Absent John, that river won't ever be the same for many of us. Fortunately, few of us will ever understand the onslaught of despair that swept him away, but there are many of us who would give a lot to fish just one more day with John Machen. Our prayers go with his family.

By E. Lieberman, M.D.


 

FLOYD F. MARCHI, M.D.

1921-2007


Floyd, a first generation American, was born, lived and died in Humboldt County. His Italian parents immigrated to Humboldt in the early 1900’s, and, as a youngster, he helped support his parents and six sisters by selling newspapers and repairing typewriters in downtown Eureka. His humble beginnings didn’t stop him from excelling academically. He attended Humboldt State College and graduated magna cum laude from UC Berkeley as a member of Phi Beta Kappa.
Floyd started out to be a surgeon, but was midway through his five year surgical residency at the University of California, San Francisco, when he developed pulmonary tuberculosis and was forced to give up surgical training. After he was treated for TB he changed to anesthesiology, finished his training, and returned to Humboldt County. Thus Floyd’s misfortune became Humboldt’s fortune. Years later his former chief, Leon Goldman (Senator Diane Feinstein’s father) who was Professor and Chair of the Department of Surgery, told Norm Christensen that the surgical faculty at UCSF had already identified Floyd, when he was in mid-training, as someone that they wished to retain on the faculty.
But Floyd could not completely shake his surgical training. When giving anesthesia he watched surgeons critically. Joe Walsh, Bill Clague, Norm Christensen, George Husband, and John Van Speybroeck were often the recipients of comments from Floyd as he bent over the anesthesia screen to see what we were doing. Authoritative comments floated down from the head of the table: “Don’t you think a transverse incision would be better?” Or: “That patient would probably do better with an end – to – end anastamosis instead of the side to side one.” The reply to Floyd would almost invariably be, “Yes, Floyd, you’re probably right!”
He helped bring anesthesia excellence to Humboldt County. For a time, he and Terry Kerrigan were the only anesthesiologists at St. Joseph Hospital. If they were giving anesthesia one did not worry; there would be no anesthesia catastrophe.
Floyd was quick and believed in doing things on time. If surgeons were late to start a case he could become very disturbed and berate the person to the surgical nurses. However, when the surgeon poked his head in the door he was able to control his annoyance, much to the nurses’ displeasure, who felt the same way as Floyd did. John Van Speybroeck remembers that when he first came to Eureka, fresh out of an academic setting, he lay down for a nap after scheduling an appendectomy at 4 AM, believing that he had a least an hour before Dr. Marchi got there. He had barely closed his eyes when the phone rang. It was Floyd: “Where are you? Let’s get going. We are all set.”
Nurses loved and admired Floyd. Perhaps he grouched now and then but it was not about them. He was patient, instructive, and loved to teach. He allowed (even encouraged) RN’s and student nurses to practice inserting IV’s into his own arm. Floyd had large veins!
Floyd was generous but also prudent. When playing with his poker group, a group that had been together for 10 – 20 years, he always made it a practice of taking his money with him if he had to leave the poker table temporarily. One night it looked as if he was about to have a change of heart. After pondering a while he got up leaving the money on the table, walked half way out of the room, had second thoughts, turned around, came back and picked up his money.
When Floyd retired he found a new passion: art and sculpting. At Humboldt State University he studied under Mort Scott where he learned sculpture and turned out distinguished pieces. Professor Scott says that Floyd told him that when he was young he wanted to be an artist but his family wanted him to be a physician. Scott says that Floyd had extraordinary talent and that anyone that has one of his pieces is “very lucky.” Scott says that Floyd had a wonderful eye and that he could model anything--so accurately that it could almost be mistaken for a photograph. But in addition to his realism he had a superb talent for the abstract.
As he was admired for his help and understanding by the nurses at St. Joseph Hospital so he was admired by the students at HSU. Scott says “the students loved him.”
Indeed, they don’t make them like they used to.!!!!

By George Husband, M.D. and Norman Christensen, M.D.


 

JEFF MINCKLER, PHD, M.D

1912 - 1988

(President 1982-1983)

 
The medical community of Humboldt-Del Norte counties feels the void left behind by the demise of our former President, Jeff Minckler.  To many physicians who knew him and had a close association with him, Jeff was recognized by his towering personality, his command of the English language, his sense of humor, his pungent literary style.  Other members of the staff remember him as an intellectual giant who moved to Humboldt-Del Norte County to spend his final years.   Jeff lived a full and enviable life.  He studied at Stanford University from 1930-1933.  He received his PhD in anatomy from the University of Minnesota in 1939 and received and M.D. degree in Pathology in 1944.  At the high point of his career he was appointed, by the Texas governor, John Conally, to serve on the Whitman Committee, in the capacity of a neuropathologist.   Dr. Minckler edited and authored a 3-volume medical book, “Pathology of the Nervous System” published by McGraw Hill.  Jeff Minckler leaves behind a legacy which would be difficult, if not impossible, to duplicate.
Jeff took up pathology because he did not like his patients talking back to him.  In the Minckler Clinic, patients soon learned not to complain or talk back to their attending physician.  I remember once questioning him, if he had to do it all over again, how would it be different.  He replied, “The only think I would do different, is to take a crash course in medical economics”.
As President of the Medical Society, I would like to express the loss felt by this medical community, to his wife Joan Minckler and the bereaved members of his family.

by Kishen B. Menda, M.D.

Ed note: Dr. Minckler wrote several humorous articles for the Medical Society’s “Bulletin” during his term as President.   Members wishing a copy of these “priceless” articles, contact the Society office.


 

KENNETH E. MOOSLIN, M.D.

1923-1999


On Monday, August 9, 1999, Humboldt County lost one of its finest physicians, following a massive C.V.A. He was someone who quietly contributed much to our community and to our medical society in many ways.
Ken was born in Alameda, CA on July 7, 1923 and moved to San Francisco at an early age. Ken’s father, Eugene John Mooslin, had immigrated from Ukraine, Russia, with his family. In the early 1900s. Ken’s father became a lawyer and practiced law in San Francisco for many years. His uncles were also professionals, one a general practitioner, two attorneys. Ken graduated from Balboa High School in San Francisco, received an A.B. in 1944 from U. C. Berkeley, and his M.D. in 1946 from the U. S. Medical School in San Francisco. While in medical school he served in the U. S. Army A.S.T.P.Program. After graduation he served an internship in surgery at the Mount Zion Hospital in San Francisco, followed by eighteen months as a resident in Urology at the Veterans Administration Miley Hospital in San Francisco. This was interrupted by a return to the Army as a Captain and Chief of the Urology Department for three years at Camp Roberts near Monterey. After being discharged from the Army he returned to UCSF to complete urological training. He was a member of the Northern California Urological Society and the San Francisco County Medical Society. In 1954, his urological training completed, Ken, Betty and their two sons, Craig and Gary, moved to Eureka. He was associated with Stan Schmidt in private practice in urology, becoming the second urologist in the North Coast.
I had the pleasure to getting to know Ken almost from the day he arrived in Eureka, and was happy to nominate him for membership in our medical society in 1954. The forty-five years that Ken was a member of the Society he served on many committees and particularly in many community activities. The most worthy of mentioning were his coordinating a group of physicians to do free physicals each year for boys participating in scouting, Little League baseball and Pops football. The second was involvement in the Poliomyelitis Immunization Program in 1959. He convinced the medical society members that we should join with the local chapter of the Poliomyelitis Foundation and the local P.T.A. to set up low cost clinics in an all-out effort to eliminate poliomyelitis on our north coast. The program consisted of clinics, set up throughout the county in July, August and February 1960, staffed by society physicians, as a cost of $1.00 per person to help defray the cost of the vaccine. The program was a huge success and even generated a small surplus which was donated to the Medical Society’s Nursing Scholarship program. In 1957, the Society decided to start a Bulletin to keep our members better informed. Again, Ken was very much involved from the inception and served on the Publications Committee serving as the associate editor during 1957 and 1958. In 1959, he became the editor. Some of the editorials he wrote during 1959, such as “the Rising Cost of Apathy”, “C.M.A. Again Leads the Way”, “E = DPE/LW” were timely for 1959 and in many ways apply to the problems we face today in the practice of medicine
Many of us in the Medical Society urged Ken to run for office in the society. He always refused stating that most of his spare time was dedicated to Betty, Gary, Craig, the Boy Scouts and other activities. In deed, there were other activities. He had been an Eagle Scout in San Francisco and on arriving in Eureka, immediately became involved in scouting activities. He served as President of the Redwood- Empire Boy Scouts Council in 1967. He was awarded the Silver Bear Award, the highest honor from the Boy Scouts of America, for his services. He was a Hunter Safety instructor for many years. He and his wife and sons were avid trap and skeet shooting enthusiast. He was a past president of the local Trap & Skeet Club. He was an excellent photographer and processed his film in his own dark room. He loved pets which included a monkey, birds, dogs, cats and fish. He loved camping, fishing, and hunting with his family. He also played the organ and was the chess champion at Balboa High School in San Francisco in 1941.
Ken retired from active practice in 1985 at the age of 62 because of health programs. He had inherited diabetes from his mother and developed hypertensive cardiovascular disease with complications, which forced an early retirement. Despite his health problems, he and Betty continued to participate in many local activities and were always available when needed. My last contact with Ken was on Sunday, August 8, 1999. We were attending the 50th wedding anniversary of two old friends at the Fortuna River Walk Center. Ken, Betty, Ruth and I decided to leave the party a little early so we walked out to the parking lot together. I will always remember how pleased Ken was to see so many of his old patients, and physician friends again.
Ken was a person of great character, endowed with thoughtfulness, selflessness, wisdom and a great sense of humor. He was a compassionate, caring physician who in his own quiet and unassuming way has left an indelible mark on Humboldt County.

Written by Theodore Loring, M. D.


 

 

TED W. LORING,. M.D.

1916-2003

Ted Loring passed away peacefully in his sleep early Sunday morning, May 11th, 2003. Even at 86 years old, he remained active and sharp, enjoying the company of family, friends, and his wife of nearly 60 years, Ruth. He was still professionally involved with the Humboldt-Del Norte Medical Society, Norcal Mutual Insurance, and the Pacific Coast Obstetric and Gynecologic Society.
Ted was born November 23rd, 1916, in Belize (then British Honduras). He came to the United States at age 16 to pursue his education. He ultimately graduated from Stanford University with a B.S. in 1943. He received his Doctorate in Medicine from Stanford in 1946, and following two years in the US Army Medical Corp, returned for his residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology. In 1951, displaying qualities that would become prominent in the years to come, Ted decided to forgo lucrative offers in the Bay area and join Paul Roberts, MD, in a small remote coastal town in far northern California. There, the need for his skills as a board certified OB/GYN was much greater.
What followed was a career that spanned more than four decades and over 6,000 deliveries. Ted was an excellent clinician and a skilled surgeon, well liked by his patients and his colleagues. Ted received many awards recognizing his professional excellence. Two of the more prestigious awards were his election into the Pacific Coast OB/GYN Society in 1972 and the Frederick K. M. Plessner Award from the CMA in 1988. The Pacific Coast OB/GYN Society is an invitation only organization dedicated to excellence in the development and delivery of health care to women through the collaboration of physician educators, researchers, and private practitioners. Ted became President of the group in 1996. The Plessner Award is given to physicians who best exemplify service to rural areas.
Ted’s intelligence, excellence and drive were not limited to his practice of medicine. Ted was a community leader as well. In response to a local shortage of nurses, Ted was instrumental, with Dr. Homer Balbonis, in starting the nursing program at HSU. When a 1967 law allowed third party payers to contract directly with physicians, Ted served as a founding member and President of the Humboldt-Del Norte Foundation for Medical Care. In response to the malpractice crisis in 1975, Ted became a founding director and Treasurer of Norcal Mutual Insurance Co. When a high rate of home births jeopardized the quality of maternal care in the area, Ted organized and provided physician back-up services for midwives at the Humboldt Perinatal Clinic. As the first physician director of Union Labor Hospital Board, Ted worked to ensure the survival of General Hospital during the financial hardships of the 1980’s. When General was eventually lost, he converted Union Labor’s assests into the Union Labor Health Foundation, a charitable association providing grants to local organizations for health care pursuits. Throughout his life, he was also active in his church, Boy Scouts, Rotary, KEET-TV, Baywood Country Club, and the Ingomar Club.
I knew Ted for a very short 16 years. During that time he was my partner, my mentor, my confidant, and my very close friend. Ted was intelligent, compassionate, talented, and humble. He had undying respect for others, whether friend or patient or stranger. Ted had a way of seeing the good in people, even when it was difficult to find. Ted was fair and honest. Ted served the people of the North Coast unwaveringly for over five decades as a physician, community member, and friend. He gave to us much more than he asked in return. I feel very privileged to have known him and to have called him my friend. Thank you, Ruth, for sharing him so graciously with us all. I will miss him very much.

By William Weiderman, M.D.


 

pardoe

 

RUSSEL PARDOE, M.D.

1932 - 2011

 

Humboldt County medicine lost a true giant last month with the death of Russel Pardoe. An extremely modest man, with nothing to be modest about, his accomplishments fill a list too long to enumerate here. But everyone who knew Dr. Pardoe, and benefited from his skills, whether as a patient or a colleague, mourns his passing.

I first met Russ when I was a student and intern at Stanford, and rotated through Santa Clara Valley Medical Center, where he trained and subsequently became an Associate Professor and attending surgeon. He directed the SCVMC Burn Center, which became an important part of the subsequently established Level I Trauma Center, where I became the director prior to moving up here to Humboldt. I had not known initially when I moved here in 1997 that he had made the same transition nearly 20 years before, but it was a wonderful surprise to find him established as the mainstay of plastic surgical care here, a mission ably carried on by his son Mark, and Drs. Gagnon and Green who moved here as his associates and carry on the high level of care we have enjoyed.

Russ was not only a truly noble man, but an actual nobleman as well, knighted by the Queen of England for his extraordinary service while a medical office at the Australian Antarctic Station. As befitted his self-effacing nature, I only found out about this adventure while reading a book on, of all things, the possibility of life on other planets in the solar system and elsewhere. In a footnote about life found in harsh environments, the book mentioned life in Antarctica, and an episode where a certain Dr. Pardoe, an intern from Australia, had saved the life of a diesel engineer named Newman who had a head injury and an intracranial hematoma. With no experience at all in neurosurgery (and very little in surgery of any kind), he crafted craniotomy instruments from dental tools, and, with instructions (in Morse code!) from a neurosurgeon back in Australia, twice performed life-saving surgery. The only experience he had was testing the equipment on a seal carcass before trying it out on his patient. Caring for him night and day for two months, they were finally evacuated with the aid of US and Russian transportation assistance. This earned him the title of MBE, the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire. After I read this, I saw him on rounds in the hospital and asked if there could possibly be two Dr. Russel Pardoes from Australia, as I found it hard to believe that such an amazing accomplishment had escaped mention for the over 30 years of our acquaintance. He modestly admitted that it had been he who had done it, but he hastened to mention that he had help (a cook and two geophysicists!). It was so like him to shrug off what could be described as a real-life action-adventure hero as nothing to get excited about. And to top it off, he later returned to Antarctica for a second stint as medical officer. This in addition to being a pilot, paratrooper, frogman, mountaineer, and oh yes a plastic surgeon.

Russ was a person about whom it can truly be said that nobody ever had a negative word or opinion. He was the model of what we should all aspire to be: extremely able in his field, always available for his patients and colleagues, and a dearly beloved husband, father, and grandfather. We are all better for having the privilege of knowing and working with him. He is greatly missed.

Ed. Note: an outstanding obituary written by Dr. Pardoe’s son, Anton, is posted on line at http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/times-standard/obituary.aspx?n=russel-pardoe&pid=148877443

 


 

Jerold E.Phelps, M.D.

1924-2006

Dr. Jerold Phelps died quietly at his home in Garberville on Christmas Day 2006, surrounded by his wife, Betty, children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. For over 50 years, Dr. Phelps had been a highly respected physician and prominent member of the Southern Humboldt County Community. Among his many achievements and contributions were his years on the Board of the College of the Redwoods, his service to the Humboldt-Del Norte County Medical Society and his passionate devotion to the California Bamboo Society. He helped build the existing hospital in Garberville and was honored by having the hospital renamed the Jerold Phelps Community Hospital in 1997.
Jerold Edgar Phelps was born in Wheatland, Wyoming on March 15, 1924, the second youngest of six children. When still a young child, his family relocated to Fontana, in Southern California and Jerold has stayed in California ever since. He was in college in Santa Maria when WWII began, and at that point joined the Navy, who sent him through medical school in Galveston, Texas. It was in Texas that he met a local beauty queen, Bettie Todd, and they were soon married. Jerry finished his Navy service in San Juan, Puerto Rico, then finished his surgery training in New York.
It was in 1955 when Jerry returned to California and answered an ad for a general surgeon in a booming logging town in Northern California. He came to work in Garberville with Dr. Leland Lowen as the town’s second doctor-surgeon. Not long afterward, Dr. Lowen left and Jerry found Dr. Jack Pearson; these two surgeons enjoyed decades of close professional association and even closer friendship. Together, Jerry and Jack served the surgical and medical needs of Southern Humboldt Co. Jerry Phelps never really did retire, although he did cut back his practice in later years, still seeing old friends and patients until a few months before his death.
The 2001-2002 Physician Membership Resource Directory was very deservingly dedicated to Jerry. The dedication article is posted on-line on the Medical Society’s website: in the Historical Section. Nomination for the CMA Plessner Award came up several times, however, part of the criteria for the award is that the nominees cannot be retired status............. although Jerry never really “retired”........he tried several times and sought the status on paper, which made him ineligible for nomination. The following quotes were pulled from the Dedication article from 1997:
Comments from Bill Hunter’s................
“Medical times changed during Jerry's sojourn in southern Humboldt county, as did the culture and the economy. Throughout the changes he remained a perfect gentleman and cared for the needs of all the region's citizens. He was responsible for the real world training of a number of young doctors who came to town and was always willing to get up at night an help put in a dislocated shoulder, sew a finger back on, or help with a difficult birth.
Comments from Mark Phelps..........
As I look at rural medicine today, and reflect on what a commitment my father made to this community back in 1955, I realize rare that combination of effort and ability has become. Even back then, when Dad and Jack recruited the occasional third partner, he would never be a physician with the experience and skill to do the emergency surgery, difficult emergency room cases or the anesthesia or OB needed to keep this busy hospital going. Even those days, theoretically, when Dad could relax, the telephone inevitably would ring and there would be an emergency appendectomy or amputation or GI bleed to deal with, as transferring to Eureka was simply not done for those cases. I am sure that Dad realized what a uniquely stressful commitment he had undertaken, but never in all of the years I was growing up did I hear one complaint or harsh word when the phone would ring again, just after or even during dinner, an off he would go once again to perhaps return before we went to bed or perhaps not.
Certainly all of my surgical skills, often limited to minor abdominal procedures or
Cesarian sections, I truly learned with my father "assisting". Even the basics of wound closure, I realized had been poorly conveyed to me in residency, but a careful and meticulous surgeon with decades of experience could gently show me by example and instruction on the most "tissue friendly" method in which to handle wounds. A lot of Dad's surgical training and philosophy were aimed toward plastic surgery and that idea was always in the background of his care and treatment of human tissue. Furthermore, the whole open minded and calm approach to the practice of medicine and the treatment of illness quickly became a cornerstone of my continuing to learn and develop as a doctor and continues to this day. If indeed, learning on the job is inevitable what occurs in any long term career I could have never hoped for a better, more superior teacher to have learned under than my father. His opinion, in staff meetings and in the clinic, is still as valued and powerful today as it has ever been. And I take tremendous pride in even attempting to follow in his very large footsteps.
Dr. Phelps is survived by his wife, Bettie, his sister Dee, his children Kim, Mark, Laurie, Todd and Kelly and their spouses and numerous grandchildren, great-grandchildren, nieces, nephews and cousins. He will be sorely missed by all.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Southern Humboldt Community Hospital Foundation, Attn. Debbie Scaife, 733 Cedar Street, Garberville, CA 95542.
A memorial service is being coordinated for the middle of March and notices will be sent out once the date, time and location have been set.


 

HENRY C. PORTALUPI, M.D. 1917 - 1999

 
Long-time member, Henry C. Portalupi, M.D. died of pancreatic cancer on September 7, 1999.  Dr. Portalupi was a respected physician and surgeon in the community since 1944, practicing in the Arcata area.  Dr. Portalupi Retired from practice in 1981.
Dr. Portalupi graduated from the Creighton University in 1941.   Immediately following graduation, he served in the Army Medical Corps and served in the Pacific during World War II as an Army captain.  After he was stationed in Eureka, he located his private practice in Arcata.
Dr. Portalupi served as Chief-of-Staff of the Trinity Hospital in Arcata and served as Director of the Emergency Room at Mad River Hospital.   Dr. Portalupi was a compassionate and dedicated physician.  He treated his patients with respect and dignity.  He never turned a patient away, whether they could afford payment or not, and left his office open to late hours in the evening to ensure that his patients were getting the care they needed.  After he closed his office in the early ‘80's, he continued assisting at Mad River Hospital.
He married his wife, Birgitta in 1981.  During his semi-retirement, Dr. Portalupi and his wife traveled extensively to Europe and spent time in Hawaii.  He will be missed by the wonderful friends he acquired across the globe.   Throughout his life, he actively participated as a sportsman in skiing, hiking, hunting, and swimming.  He became an expert in a number of hobbies including photography, electronics and woodworking.  He was a devout Catholic, and on his trips to Italy, he enjoyed bringing back exquisite presents for the church, including the mosaic currently at St. Mary’s Church.  Dr. Portalupi was actively involved for many years in property development throughout the community.


 

RICHARD RICKLEFS, M.D.

1920-2006

In recent years I was honored to be Richard Ricklefs’ friend. While I did not know him during his long years of medical practice, and during his remarkable marriage to Elsie Mae Gardner, the consistency of his life continued. Through his gentle reminiscences I became well acquainted with the shape of his life. We don’t often these days use the word exemplary to speak of a person, but it is certainly the word that comes to mind when thinking of Richard.
Richard was a man of courage and quiet persistence. As a lifelong pacifist he served as a conscientious objector during the Second World War. Both he and his wife, Elsie, worked in a psychiatric hospital in Connecticut at that time. Their work and that of other conscientious objectors became fundamental to the subsequent reform of state mental hospitals in our country. After World War II, Richard managed, with his wife’s help, to return to school to study medicine at Hahnemann Medical College in Philadelphia, then doing a rotating internship designed for prospective general practitioners at St. Luke’s Hospital in San Francisco. A few months into his internship Richard became aware that the pediatric training being offered was less than had been promised, and less then he felt he needed to practice in an isolated rural setting. Being a bit older than most of his fellow interns he was willing to approach the administration of the program about these deficiencies and appropriate changes were made. 
In 1952 Richard began his practice in the Hoopa Valley.
To speak of Richard it is necessary to speak of the Hoopa Valley and the Hupa People. Richard first went to Hupa in 1934 as a teenager to visit his brother who was teaching there. He fell in love with the Valley and with Elsie Gardner, a Hupa girl a few years his junior. Their long courtship led to their marriage in 1942; a marriage which endured some sixty years until Elsie’s death a few years ago. Their lives were intertwined with those of the Hupa Tribe and the wider community through Richard’s medical practice, Elsie’s work as community activist and educator, and more essentially through deep love and trust built up through years of commitment, dependability and courageous service. Their commitment to one another in itself required courage and independent mindedness, beginning as it did at a time when such a “mixed marriage” was not always welcomed.
Richard’s work as a physician has been well known in Humboldt County since it began 55 years ago. He was a pioneer in the organization of health care, running a prepaid medical system in Hupa in the 1950’s, emphasizing family centered obstetrics and the integration of Native American approaches to health care with the benefits of Western Medicine.  His dedication and the quality of the care he gave are legendary in Hupa.
After retiring from full-time medical practice in the late 1980’s Richard remained active as community organizer, peace activist and respected elder in the Hupa and Quaker communities. It is through his Quaker connection that I came to know him well. During the last years of his life he traveled to the coast frequently to attend Humboldt Friends Meeting where he provided inspiration to many. He and Elsie had become Quakers in the 1940’s but during the most active years of their lives it was not easy to attend meeting while living in Hoopa.
My friendship with Richard was based on many common interests but more than anything on a shared philosophy about medical practice. He had great respect for the ideals of the profession and remained active both in the Medical Society and in the organization of medicine in Hoopa into the last years of his life.
 Richard was a truly modest man though intelligent enough to know his own worth. To live with simple integrity and in a humane and loving manner is not an easy task in our world. Richard managed to do that and the only tribute he would want is that others try their best to do the same.

by Fred Adler, M.D.


ERIC M SCHWIETZ M.D.

1964 - 2009

As I sit to write this memoir for my former partner in practice, Eric M. Schwietz, M.D., I am saddened to do so, but glad to have the opportunity to share with you the extraordinary life that he led.  He was born 45 years ago, having passed on Friday, September 18, 2009 after sustaining fatal head injuries from a tragic car accident.  No one else was injured or in the car, and the details of what happened, not corroborated, will probably never fully be known.
His father was a decorated Air Force man and the family moved about the country for all of Eric’s childhood.  He eventually got to call Louisville, Kentucky home, and is where his father, Tom Sr., and mother, Ethel, still reside. The youngest of five, he had one brother, Tom (the oldest), and three older sisters, Leigh Anne, Teresa, and Monica, who dutifully harassed and deeply loved him.  It was an honor and pleasure to have the opportunity to meet most of Eric’s family during the brief time they were out here.  Truly wonderful people, as one would expect, being of the same stock as Eric.  They displayed their strong bond of love for him, humor as a pillar of their character, fortitude to accept the unacceptable.
Eric took a passionate approach toward life endeavors.  He took to swimming at an early age and won three National Championships as a member of the Stanford University Varsity Swim Team. He also competed in the 1984 Olympic Trials when the games were in Los Angeles.   He graduated with honors in Chemistry and took a path of travel and exploration, and a variety of jobs that reflected his wide range of interests, including a stint as an assistant winemaker at Bargetto Winery.  Never one to hold back, his travels included research and cultural immersion in places off the beaten path of usual tourism and into places like Kenya, Tanzania, and Haiti, where he worked to measure pupillary response and dark adaptation as a way to detect Vitamin A deficiency, Romania to work on a project involving retinopathy of prematurity, Hungary, India, and a year living in Nepal.  No doubt, Eric has made friends, and saved vision and lives all over the world.
Eric had a passion and great knowledge in so many different areas; he was a constant source of interesting information, laughter, and genuine gusto for things in life.  He viewed things with a child’s eye-with sincerity and playfulness that allowed him to not only relate to, but really befriend folks from all walks of life and from all backgrounds with no prejudice, and only genuine love and caring.  He approached everything he did in life with zest and energy, whether it was abalone diving, surfing, crabbing, mushroom hunting, cooking, gardening, orchids and hot peppers, riding horses, practicing yoga, or traveling to remote areas to help people, everything Eric did, he did with the infectious gusto that made him friends everywhere he went.   This I witnessed in the last few years that I knew him, and am still just now getting a sense of how profoundly he impacted our community where he chose to practice.  He wasn’t known as just an ophthalmologist, but as an engaged, interested and caring friend in our small community, he really got to know people in multiple capacities, and forged strong bonds with many.
            Most of all, Eric, a big kid himself, loved children.  He worked as a nanny for a few years between undergraduate studies and medical school.  He did a pediatric internship and had a way of engaging with children of all ages and backgrounds.  He was looking forward to having a family of his own when his life was tragically struck short.
            What all who mourn his passing share is the tremendous sense of lost opportunity to share our lives with him and experience and learn along with him, as well as the missed chance for him to fulfill many of his evolving hopes and desires.  I think he was poised to achieve those last few things in life that had eluded him prior.   I also think he knew they were within reach and finally coming about, and I hope he founds some comfort in knowing so.   We, as his friends, family, patients, colleagues, and community, will all feel the deep loss of Eric, but he will live on brilliantly as he lived on earth, in our memories, and in the thousands of patients whose lives were saved, vision restored or saved, and in the scores who now carry his organs and tissue and have been given a new opportunity of live.  Go well, Eric.  May peace be with you.  We will miss you dearly and celebrate you always.
            In lieu of flowers, donations in memory of Dr. Schwietz may be made to the California Transplant Donor Network at 1000 Broadway, Suite 600, Oakland, CA 94607, or a charity of your choice.

by  Michael Mizoguchi, M.D.


 

E. KENNETH SMITH, M.D.

1917-2003


Ken Smith was a long-time friend and colleague and I was his doctor for many years. He was a hearty, decent, robust, independent thinkerand kind man with a maverick streak that suited his origin in Texaswhere he spent his early years. He had harrowing tales of riding on andoff the roads with his father in Texas. The family came to California where his father worked as treasurer for Pacific Lumber Company in the good ol’ days. Ken was educated in California and went to McGill for his medical training. He served in the military during WWII and did a residency in anesthesiology in Washington, DC followed by a preceptorship for one or two years. He then came to California. He had met and married his lovely wife, Peggy, during his McGill years. After coming here, they built a home on Bryant Street and raised seven kids. He was a devoted family man. He established the anesthesiology practice in 1950 and was a mainstay for surgeon, Bill Clague and others. At various times, he was Chief of Staff of General and St. Joseph Hospital. He was the President of the Humboldt-Del Norte County Medical Society as well as the Medical Society’s Delegate to the California Medical Association. After retirement, he spent time in Incline Village at Lake Tahoe and ended up working in anesthesia at the Reno VA Hospital for a number of years. He also served as physician to HSU for five years.
He had a literary bent and was an avid reader. He and Peggy were personal friends of Stephen Leacock, a renowned author. He had tried improving my mind with some really interesting off-the-usual-path books.
His children all grew up to be decent human beings. He also was the grandfather of Jill Bakken, who is an Olympic-level bobsled athlete who competed in the last winter Olympics and indeed won a gold metal in this event. He had reason to be proud of his offspring.
He was wonderfully matched and balanced by his wife, Peggy, who was his helpmate and foil who saw him through the last two years of his decline in a devoted and kind fashion. He departed this life in his own home with his kids and wife in attendance. He was a good man and had a good, if not easy, life.

by Jerome Lengyel, M.D.


 

Charleton “Chuck” Royal Schwartz, M.D.

1910-2007

Dr. Chuck Schwartz, long-time family physician in Fortuna, died quietly at home on July 9, 2007, with loving family members at his bedside.  Chuck was born February 3, 1910, the eighth of nine children, to Preston and Katharine Henszey Schwartz, in Germantown, Pennsylvania.  When Chuck was six months old, the family moved to Sierra Madre, California, a small town in eastern Los Angeles County.  That move provided Chuck Access to the Pacific Ocean, near and around Newport Beach, a happy turn of events for a boy who learned to love body surfing, sailing and the outdoors.  Following his high school graduation he entered UCLA in the pre-med program and graduated four years later.  He received his medical education at Stanford University School of Medicine, completing studies in 1936.  After graduation he entered medical practice in San Francisco with Dr. Leo Eloesser, a noted Stanford professor of surgery and one of Chuck’s medical mentors.
In 1940, Chuck married Evelyn Calvert, the love of his life, to whom he was wonderfully married for sixty-six years until her death, May 14, 2007.  Their lives were interrupted by World War II, during which Chuck spent three years overseas with the U.S. Army’s 59th Evacuation Unit, a field surgical hospital, an assignment for which he was selected by Dr. Carleton Mathewson, a Stanford surgeon and another of Chuck’s mentors and a lifelong friend.  The unit participated in the North African campaign and the invasions of Sicily, the Italian peninsula and southern France.  Chuck was present at the liberation of Paris and then crossed the Rhine into Germany for the final months of the war.  He was assigned to a special unit that entered Dachau Concentration Camp in Bavaria shortly after its 67,000 prisoners were liberated at the end of April, 1945.
Following the war, and his release form the army, Chuck wanted to start a medical practice in a small community where he could raise a family and enjoy the outdoors.  He found this community in Fortuna, where he and Evelyn moved in December, 1945, with their three year old daughter, Linda.  Sons Chuck and John were born in 1946 and 1952.
Dr. Schwartz, as he was known affectionately by his hundreds and hundreds of patients, loved the practice of medicine in Fortuna and its surrounding communities.  He was, in turn, loved and respected by his patients.  He made house calls all over the larger community, even when, during the winter months, it meant crossing the Eel River in a boat.  He delivered many babies both at Scotia Hospital and, later, after its closing, at Redwood Memorial Hospital.  His office hired the first nurse practitioner in Humboldt County.  During the 1950's, Chuck was joined in practice by Dr. Harold Auerhan, with whom he continued in practice until his retirement in 1984, bringing to an end his 39 years of service to the community.           
During his retirement, Chuck had time to pursue a number of his lifelong interests, including hunting, fishing, tending his vegetable garden, traveling with friends and attending sporting events with yearly trips to Arizona for spring baseball practice and to Oregon for basketball and track events. Chuck continued his enthusiasm and interest in sports long after he was no longer able to travel to these events.
Chuck was and outstanding physician, a gentle, kind, generous, caring, compassionate man, who was devoted to his patients and their well-being.  He was a careful listener, a trait often cited by his patients.  He loved small town medical practice, its intimacy and the strong sense of community and belonging that it gave him.  His quiet presence, infectious smile, good humor and enduring positive outlook will be long remembered.
by Jack W. Irvine, M.D.


 

JOSEPH “Joe” WALSH, M.D.

1916-2006

Joe Walsh died April 22, 2006, at age 90. His life spanned a remarkable period of increasing knowledge and change in medicine.
 When Joe returned to Eureka in 1950, the medical world was primitive compared to today. He was not warmly received. Specialization, which had begun before WW II, and had accelerated after the War, had not yet reached many smaller communities. General practitioners were doing the bulk of surgery and some felt threatened by a board certified surgeon (the first north of Santa Rosa) in their midst. The first several years were lean ones. Joe once said , “If it had not been for my brother, Jack , and Buddy Rosenberg, (a pediatrician trained at UCSF and life-long friend), who referred me cases, I would have starved.” It would be years before it became generally accepted that surgery was best done by qualified surgeons. For example, in the late 1950s a general practitioner was doing chest surgery for Humboldt County Hospital patients, and another was freezing stomachs for peptic ulcer disease. The only imaging device was the x-ray; serum electrolytes could only be determined by a difficult, often inaccurate colorimetric technique; the first open heart (by hypothermia) procedure was two years away; the first “heart-lung” open heart operation was 5 years away; fiber-optics were unheard of; computerized tomography was undreamed of; and the structure of DNA was unknown.
Joe was exceedingly well trained, and he was in the vanguard of specialty trained physicians who would move to the north coast in the succeeding decade, profoundly changing the practice of medicine in the region. He brought with him contemporary concepts of pre- and postoperative surgical care, and the management of trauma, fluid and electrolytes. His legendary professors of surgery at Stanford, Leo Eloesser, Carleton Mathewson, Jr., and Roy Cohn, instilled in him the philosophy “that the patient is your absolute responsibility and that you must be completely honest recognizing and admitting complications and poor outcomes.”
General surgeons in those days were trained to do most kinds of surgery, from burr holes to intricate pediatric surgery. He did these, performing burr holes for sub- or epidural hematomas, and several successful repairs of tracheo-esophageal fistulas in newborns.
In the operating room he was adept, cool, and gentle. Having trained at the Lahey Clinic (the thyroid capital of the world) he could do a thyroidectomy before lesser surgeons got through the skin. As his reputation grew, he became much in demand as a consultant, particularly in difficult cases. He was known as a surgeon’s surgeon and was equally respected by his patients.
In the operating room, an 8 o’clock start time meant just that to Joe. A recently arrived surgeon was to assist Joe with an abdomino-perineal resection of the colon and rectum. Figuring that there was no way the procedure could start before 8:30, he arrived to find Joe closing the abdominal part of the procedure.
He was an excellent clinician. Stanford had a tradition of emphasizing the importance of a careful history and a complete physical examination and Joe was good at both. Stanford also instilled in its graduates a healthy skepticism, a characteristic that stuck with Joe all his life.
 Joe graduated from Eureka Senior High School as valedictorian, attended Humboldt State for two years, then transferred to UC Berkeley where he received his undergraduate degree in 1938. He went to Stanford Medical School, completed his internship and graduated in 1942. He volunteered in the Army Air Force and in 1943 arrived in England as a squadron flight surgeon with the 445th bombardment group of the Eight Air Force, flying B-24 missions into Germany. He was responsible for the flight readiness of the crews and took care of wounds of men returning from missions. He quickly became aware of frequent severe frostbite of the face of side gunners who had to fly at freezing altitudes with open gun ports and took immediate steps to stop or reduce it. He spent many hours in the air as he experimented and developed a hood that covered all of the face not protected by helmet or goggles. This device, which was made of readily available materials, reduced the incidence of frostbite to a mere fraction of the pre-hood era and became standard equipment. For this contribution he was awarded the Bronze Star in 1945. He completed his service with the rank of Captain and returned to resume his surgical residency on the Stanford Service at San Francisco County Hospital, transferring to The Lahey Clinic in Boston for the last two years of his training.
In 1961 he and Norman Christensen, who had also trained at Stanford, combined their practices. They were joined in 1974 by George Husband who had trained at the University of California, San Francisco and in 1981 by John Van Speybroeck, who had also trained at UCSF.
In addition to his surgical skills his friends and associates remember him with great affection: Pete Krieger, former Administrator of St. Joseph Hospital said, “He was a trusted and important counselor. I could always count on him for honest and frank advice.”
Ted Trichilo, former Director of Pharmacy at St. Joseph remembers him as “a dedicated surgeon, professional in every respect and loved by his patients. He was the embodiment of a real human being.”
Floyd Marchi, retired anesthesiologist, was one of Joe’s favorites. “He always had full control and understanding of the surgical procedure he was doing. He was a true scholar and had a great wit.”
John Van Speybroeck appreciated his wisdom. “His help to me as a young surgeon in the operating room was invaluable. He told great stories of his training; opening up vignettes about some of the greats in surgery such as Leahy and Trendelenberg, names now most young surgeons associate only with clamps and positions. His generation of surgeons was the link between the giants of the early 20th century (for instance. Emil Holman, Halsted’s last resident, was Chairman of the Department of Surgery at Stanford when Joe was a resident) and surgeons of today.”
George Husband learned much about life from Joe. “One of the great blessings in my life was to have a prolonged association with Joe Walsh. His influence on my life was on the same level as my own father’s.”
Jack Irvine remembers him as being cool and calm under pressure. “I never saw him ruffled and his calmness helped keep other people calm.”
Norman Christensen remembers his humor and generosity and love of English; he had an extraordinary knowledge of American and English literature, acquired for the most part through life-long learning. He was a grammar maven, as evidenced by the fact that one of his favorite books was Strunk and Whites’s, The Elements of Style. He was a voluminous reader and remained connected to the end to local, national, and international issues. “When I told him I planned to move to Eureka on August 1st he said, ‘Great. You will be here in time for half-pounder fishing.’ ” Fishing on the Klamath was one of his two favorite outdoor pursuits; the other was golf. Joe built a cabin along side Gordon Hadley and Walter Dolfini’s cabin at Ryerson’s Rock and that is where he spent as much time as possible from September through October with friends from all over California; cooking and pouring drinks for them and telling some outrageously funny stories. Unselfishly, he spent much of his fishing time on the river hauling friends from one side of the river to the other or from one riffle to another.”
His last day on call was August 31, 1981. On that last night the fates did not treat him well. Yet the remarks he made at breakfast the next morning to his wife, Janie, epitomized his life-long love of his profession. During the night he had gotten out of bed and done three cases. “It was great,” he said.

By:       Norman Christensen, M.D.
            George Husband, M.D.
            John Van Speybroeck, M.D



L.J. “Joe” Wright, M.D.

1922 - 2010

L.J. (Joe) Wright, M.D. was born in Mapleton, Oregon to Sylvia Millicent Morris Gunn and Henry Gunn. He later took the name of his adopted father, Ben Wright. Resident of Yucca Valley, California. Joe graduated from Loyola University with Engineer Degree in 1941, joined the Navy Seabees from 1942 to 1945 building roads in Alaska and Guam. He graduated from St. Louis University Medical School in 1955, and started a family practice in Eureka, California from 1955-1990. He loved practicing medicine in the more physician-directed and patientoriented era of medicine that allowed the life-long patient-physician relationships and house calls. He became a pillar of the community and was the president of the Humboldt-Del Norte County Medical Society 1977-1978. He served as Editor of the Medical Society’s The Bulletin for several years. He was loved by his patients and respected by his fellow physicians. He retired and moved to the Desert. Survivors:wife, Myrtle B. Wright; Children- Mark Wright, Escondido- Wendy Wright, La Mesa, Calif.- Julie Wright, deceased- Aimee Wright, Escondido, Calif. - Leslie Ruggles, Citrus Heights, Calif. Step Son - Dennis Ireland, step son Dennia O’Neil, step daughter- Kathy O’Neil. Seven Grandchildren, Two Great Grandchildren and one Great Great Grand child.