Major Donors

Jill and Thomas R. Berglund

Jill and Thomas R. Berglund M.D.

When it comes to philanthropy, Tom Berglund (M.D. 1959) takes a simple approach. He sees a need, recognizes his own desire to give back to the world, then takes action.

When he learned about the extraordinary need for scholarship support for University of Michigan medical students, he immediately thought of a charitable trust he’d been contributing to for years.

“I’ve been very thankful for the education I got at the Medical School. I wanted to pay back, but I didn’t have enough money to buy a building,” laughs Berglund, a retired Kalamazoo, Michigan, family practice physician. “But a scholarship seemed like a real good thing to do.”

Berglund was born in 1934 in Newberry, Michigan, in the Upper Peninsula. When he was 8, his father Victor Berglund, a druggist, died. His mother, Marjorie, took over the business, remarried, and moved the family to Standish in the Lower Peninsula (though he still considers himself a “Yooper”), where Berglund and his siblings graduated from high school.

Berglund says he always knew he wanted to be a doctor. And when his older brother, Vic Berglund, headed off to the University of Michigan Medical School, Berglund was not far behind. In 1952, he entered the U-M freshman class. He recalls that during his undergraduate years, he sometimes sat in on his brother’s medical classes and got to know his friends. He was recruited into the Medical School in 1955, after his junior year. “I was just lucky that there weren’t more applicants, and they picked me,” he explains.

Tom Berglund loved medical school. “It was a lot of hard work, but a lot of fun — I always enjoyed school, and in medical school, I was always learning something new.”

Tom Berglund first met Detroit native Jill Diane Kent at Michigras — a New Orleans-style fraternity carnival. It was his sophomore year and they were playing a ring-toss game. In 1956, they married and moved into an apartment off of Pontiac Trail in Ann Arbor. Jill Berglund, who’d earned her education degree the year before, commuted for three years to her job as a teacher in Wayne, near Detroit, while her husband studied medicine with some of the legends of the school.

Tom Berglund recalls the first time he saw a tiny, stooped old lady walking the halls, carrying a big white bucket. “I thought, ‘That’s terrible; why don’t they retire that poor, old cleaning lady?’” He was surprised to learn that she was, in fact, legendary neuroanatomy professor Elizabeth Crosby, Ph.D., and that she was carrying a brain in that bucket. Tom Berglund says he marveled at the way Crosby drew with both hands on the blackboard in her classes, all without missing a beat in her lecture. Fascinated, he took hundreds of pages of notes.

He graduated in 1959, his love of learning soundly intact. During his rotating internship at Bronson Hospital in Kalamazoo, he recalls enjoying every section and could have seen himself doing any of them. In the end, though, he decided on family medicine. He entered into practice with his brother and several other doctors and devoted himself to the care of the people of Kalamazoo for nearly 47 years.

The Berglunds have two children. Their daughter, Tracy Curran, lives in Grand Rapids. Son, Tom Berglund Jr., lives in Kalamazoo. Both are U-M graduates, and Berglund’s grandchildren are continuing the tradition — one is in his freshman year, another will begin classes at U-M in fall 2009.

Throughout his long and fulfilling career, Tom Berglund has found time to serve his profession via membership in a host of medical organizations. In 1986, he was named president of the Michigan State Medical Society — a post that Homer Perry, M.D. — the doctor who had delivered him back in Newberry — had held exactly 50 years before. He recalls a speech he made at that time, about all the changes in medicine over the past half-century, how the death of his father might have been prevented by a simple dose of antibiotics — so commonplace today.

Dr. Berglund also served as chair of the American Medical Political Action Committee and, for 22 years, as chair of the board of AP Capital, an insurance malpractice society.

Today, the Berglunds’ lives involve no shortage of activity and adventure. Besides being avid downhill skiers, they are also biking enthusiasts and have pedaled through the countrysides of France, Ireland, Italy, Thailand and Vietnam.

Betz Family

When Ken Betz and his brother, Karl, were growing up, their father, Karl Sr., often took them to work with him. The family foundry might have seemed a scary place to a couple of young boys. Established in 1933, and nurtured through the Depression by repairs to the old iron furnaces of West side Grand Rapids homes, the Betz foundry was filled with noise and machinery and molten metal. But Karl Betz made it a place of discovery for his sons.

"It was an experience I totally enjoyed and got immersed in," recalls Ken Betz from his home in Rockford, Michigan. "It was a sense of creativity and artistry - the joy of having your hands in the sand, doing something. I can still remember making what my dad called 'sand cookies.' My dad always made it fun for us. If I hadn't had that in my family, I would have missed an opportunity of a lifetime - the joy of creation for my brother and myself."

Despite the fact that the metal parts and pieces forged at Betz Industries find their way into automobiles worldwide - and a host of other high-tech machines - the basic theory behind foundry work is thousands of years old. Ken Betz sums it up in just a couple of sentences: "You take a pattern made of wood and put it in a box of sand. When you take it out, you have a void that the pattern has left and you pour liquid metal into the sand and once it hardens you're left with a form in metal." Today, says Betz, Styrofoam has mostly replaced wood, and is burned away by the 2,600-degree metal.

Ken Betz and his family have also forged a loyalty to the University of Michigan that is reflected in eight different academic degrees from U-M. It all started with big brother Karl. "He went to Michigan and talked about his experiences there and introduced me to the campus. So I guess I was following in my older brother's footsteps." Betz got his bachelor's degree in metal engineering in 1964, then moved back to Grand Rapids to join his brother and father in the family business.

In 1967, Betz was at a Halloween party where he met his wife, Judy, originally from Six Lakes, Michigan, a tiny town near Mt. Pleasant. They were married a year later, and a strong family life - children Heidi, David, and Anne - grew alongside the business. "I give a lot of the credit to my wife for what our kids have done," says Betz. "When I was active in my business I'd work 70-80 hours a week and was not part of raising the kids that way. Their accomplishments come from the love of their mom."

And those accomplishments are many. Their allegiance to U-M was sparked, says their father, by "all those football weekends" in Ann Arbor. Daughter Heidi (A.B. 1992, J.D. 1996) left law to study architectural design in Chicago, where she now works. Son David graduated with undergraduate degrees in chemical and materials science in 1995, and earned a master's in materials science and engineering the following year. He owns a sheet metal business in Grand Rapids. Anne Kittendorf (B.S. 1997, M.D. 2001) practices family medicine at a clinic in Dexter and teaches U-M medical residents - a facet of her job which, says Betz, truly inspires her.

In 2003, Ken and Judy Betz decided to do something to express their gratitude for all Michigan had done for their family. "My wife and I decided because of the success the business has had, that maybe we ought to give back in recognition of our kids' achievements - gifts to their respective schools: law, engineering and of course, medicine. That was the least we could do for all the experiences we've all shared and received."

Having their own general practitioner in the family has given the Betzes a new appreciation for family medicine - a field often overlooked in the vast array of medical specialties all competing for funding. "We've learned a lot about it through Anne's studies and interests," says Betz. "And it's an important field - it's the first step in getting the medical help that's needed."

"The majority of health care in this country is delivered by primary care specialists," says Anne Kittendorf, M.D., "and we have to ensure that our training is vigorous, up to date, and meaningful. Encouraging the brightest students to pursue primary care should be a goal for all medical schools, however it's becoming more difficult with debt burden and reimbursement issues. Hopefully gifts like my parents' will allow talented students to feel they have a variety of options within medicine, and help to lift the pressure of financial concerns in the decision of which specialty to pursue."

New as it is, the fund has already done just that; it recently eased the financial burden of U-M medical student James Dolan who graduated in 2004 and is currently a resident in Santa Rosa, California. Before beginning medical school, Dolan traveled internationally for 11 years as a teacher and as an employee and volunteer for Habitat for Humanity. As a family physician, Dolan intends to work internationally in a capacity that will allow him to nurture his interest in humanitarian issues.

Today, Betz Industries is one of the top foundries in Michigan, and competes with Japanese and European foundries for Big Ten auto contracts. But they've also collaborated with foreign foundries on research projects to improve their products. Ken is retired. Brother Karl and members of his family run the company.

Betz says he's grateful for a career spent in a field he loved. "Life is too short to be in something that you don't want to be in," he says.

Robert I. Cutcher, M.D.

Rural Doctor Makes Bequest to Family Medicine

Dr. Robert Cutcher

Dr. Robert I. Cutcher, the quintessential family physician, recently retired from the rural community of Deckerville for the second time. He first retired in 2000, but was asked to return when his replacement left unexpectedly. Dr. Cutcher never hesitated in his response and returned to the beautiful town in the "thumb" of Michigan that he loves. After 24 years of providing dedicated, personal care in the area, and 45 years of practice, it's no wonder that his patients and their families were happy to have him back. Now, he says, he has retired for good, and is confident that Dr. Kurt Jacobs will continue to carry on his tradition of quality care.

Dr. Cutcher, a Capac native, attended Albion College and then the University of Michigan Medical School. He remembers his days and teachers at Michigan fondly and still has season football tickets, as well as a brick outside the stadium. Those good memories and an abiding loyalty to the maize and blue have prompted Dr. Cutcher to give back to the University of Michigan via a bequest to the Department of Family Medicine.

"It has always been a source of pride to me that I was trained, both as a medical student and in graduate medical training, by the incomparable teaching staff at Michigan. It is the least I can do to repay the University for the wonderful and fulfilling life that I have been privileged to have had for these past 45 years," Dr. Cutcher said.

Many feel that Dr. Cutcher helped write the book on practicing rural medicine. Through his years as one of the two physicians in Deckerville, he hosted medical students that came every year for a month to learn rural clinical medicine from him. Dr. Cutcher feels that rural medicine is not that different from urban medicine, except for the deeper, richer familiarity with patients and their families - relationships that are rarely possible in practices in larger towns and cities.

And what will Dr. Cutcher do in his free time now that he has retired (again)? He plans to play a lot of golf, enjoy his new home in California, travel, read...and, of course, continue to cheer on the Wolverines to victory on the gridiron.

Margaret Davies, M.D.

Former Chair and Original Faculty Member Establish a Legacy

Donors: Thomas Schwenk MD, Margaret Davies MD, Terry Davies MD
Thomas L. Schwenk, MD (left) with Margaret Davies, MD & Terry Davies, MD

Terence C. Davies, M.D. and Margaret Davies, M.D. Establish Bequests

As the founding chair of the University of Michigan Department of Family Medicine, Terence C. Davies, M.D., was a true pioneer. Not only did he give direction and inspiration to a new department, he established the strong foundation of purpose and values on which the specialty and the department were built and have been sustained over the last 26 years.

When Dr. Davies accepted the position at Michigan in 1978, he was joined by his wife, Margaret Davies, M.D. Together, they made up 50% of the original faculty and helped to build and guide the fledgling department. "I felt I was fortunate to be invited, but I was even more fortunate to encounter and recruit a group of exceptional individuals who have led the department to become one of the very best in the nation," notes Davies.

Their commitment and dedication continues with two bequest gifts to the Department of Family Medicine. "Margaret and I want to ensure the continued future growth and success of the Department of Family Medicine, its faculty and its students. Therefore, we have decided to make two bequests that we hope will impact the future of the department and provide inspiration for the specialty of family medicine," states Davies.

To celebrate Margaret's contributions to the department as one of the first clinician-teachers 25 years ago, as well as her interest in the behavioral sciences field, a bequest gift will establish a permanent endowment called the Margaret Davies, M.D. Endowment Fund. This fund will support faculty members' projects and work in the behavioral sciences arena.

In addition, a bequest gift will be to be added to the Terence C. Davies, M.D. Endowment Fund that will continue to be awarded to a graduating senior or seniors for clinical and scholarly excellence in family medicine. These students shall exemplify the qualities of the outstanding family physician: dedication to patient needs, intellectual curiosity, personal integrity, community service, and leadership.

"We are honored that Terry and Margaret Davies have established a permanent legacy with the Department of Family Medicine, to support outstanding medical students pursuing careers in Family Medicine, and to support excellence in teaching. Both of these initiatives represent programs in which they have always had strong interest, and the bequests are further proof of their enduring commitment to the success of the Department," stated Thomas L. Schwenk, M.D., emeritus faculty.

Terence C. Davies, M.D.

Former Chair and Original Faculty Member Establish a Legacy

Donors: Thomas Schwenk MD, Margaret Davies MD, Terry Davies MD
Thomas L. Schwenk, MD (left) with Margaret Davies, MD & Terry Davies, MD

Terence C. Davies, M.D. and Margaret Davies, M.D. Establish Bequests

As the founding chair of the University of Michigan Department of Family Medicine, Terence C. Davies, M.D., was a true pioneer. Not only did he give direction and inspiration to a new department, he established the strong foundation of purpose and values on which the specialty and the department were built and have been sustained over the last 26 years.

When Dr. Davies accepted the position at Michigan in 1978, he was joined by his wife, Margaret Davies, M.D. Together, they made up 50% of the original faculty and helped to build and guide the fledgling department. "I felt I was fortunate to be invited, but I was even more fortunate to encounter and recruit a group of exceptional individuals who have led the department to become one of the very best in the nation," notes Davies.

Their commitment and dedication continues with two bequest gifts to the Department of Family Medicine. "Margaret and I want to ensure the continued future growth and success of the Department of Family Medicine, its faculty and its students. Therefore, we have decided to make two bequests that we hope will impact the future of the department and provide inspiration for the specialty of family medicine," states Davies.

To celebrate Margaret's contributions to the department as one of the first clinician-teachers 25 years ago, as well as her interest in the behavioral sciences field, a bequest gift will establish a permanent endowment called the Margaret Davies, M.D. Endowment Fund. This fund will support faculty members' projects and work in the behavioral sciences arena.

In addition, a bequest gift will be to be added to the Terence C. Davies, M.D. Endowment Fund that will continue to be awarded to a graduating senior or seniors for clinical and scholarly excellence in family medicine. These students shall exemplify the qualities of the outstanding family physician: dedication to patient needs, intellectual curiosity, personal integrity, community service, and leadership.

"We are honored that Terry and Margaret Davies have established a permanent legacy with the Department of Family Medicine, to support outstanding medical students pursuing careers in Family Medicine, and to support excellence in teaching. Both of these initiatives represent programs in which they have always had strong interest, and the bequests are further proof of their enduring commitment to the success of the Department," stated Thomas L. Schwenk, M.D., emeritus faculty.

George A. Dean, M.D.

Fund: George A. Dean M.D. Chair in Family Medicine Endowment Fund

George A. Dean was born and raised in Detroit. His father owned a cleaning and laundry business at the intersection of John R. and Harper Roads. His mother was a homemaker. He had a sister named Charlotte. His journey to a life in medicine began with a dream - of his father's. "There was a drugstore next to his store and my father had always had a desire to own a drugstore," explains Dean, from his winter home in Florida. "So he wanted me to go to college to become a pharmacist. That way I would be a pharmacist and he could run the store."

After graduation from Detroit's Central High School, Dean, ever a dutiful son, enrolled in Wayne State University where he found himself taking biology, physics and chemistry classes with many pre-med students. "I was getting 4.0 grades and the pre-med guys were struggling and I was helping them out. They said, 'George, you're such a good student; when we become doctors, we'll send you all our prescriptions!' Well, I scratched my head and decided to change to pre-med. My father was not too happy." At the age of 20, Dean graduated from Wayne State, but before entering the medical school there, he had something important to do. "I married my childhood sweetheart," he says, happily.

Dean met Vivian Lipsitz when he was 15 and she was 13, but a fledgling romance ended quickly. "There was a song that was famous at that time," Dean says, "Frank Sinatra's 'Time After Time,' and that was 'our song.' After that, like a Pavlovian response, I would cry every time I heard it.'" But often, time is all that's needed. Two years later, Dean was walking out of his high school auditorium when he felt a tap on his shoulder. He turned around to see Vivian. "I saw her face and knew my prayers had been answered!" he says. "We were in love."

Despite the dire warnings of their parents, the young couple married in June of 1952. That September, Dean entered Wayne State's medical school. The next four years were a whirlwind of hard work, penny-pinching, and the joys of family life: two little boys and two little girls in quick succession.

To pay tuition and support his growing family, Dean worked tirelessly at a variety of jobs. He sorted mail at the Post Office. He counted pollen spores for the city of Detroit. He worked as a scrub nurse at a hospital and in the dispensary at Ford Motor Company. "I worked until I collapsed," he says, "but one of my proudest accomplishments is that despite all the stress I was under, I still made AOA and graduated at the top of my class."

Dean spent the next three years in the Navy. He interned at Great Lakes Naval Hospital in Great Lakes, Ill., then completed post-graduate training at the Grosse Isle Naval Air Station in Grosse Isle, Michigan. He toyed with the idea of a career in radiology, but quickly abandoned the notion. "I'm a people person. I wanted to interact with patients and take care of families and deliver babies and do surgery. I decided the great love of my life was family medicine. Plus, I had a family to support and I had to start practicing!"

He opened a small, one-room office in Redford Township, hired a nurse named Phyllis Youngs, and got to work, taking care of families. A few years later, he moved his practice to Southfield and has been there ever since. Today, 50 years later, Youngs is retired from active nursing, but still works part-time as Dean's assistant. "It was such a happy, wonderful practice and it grew very large, just through word of mouth," says Youngs. "I enjoyed my nursing career with Dr. Dean so much. He was such a patient, kind doctor and his patients had such confidence in him. My grandmother came all the way from West Virginia to see him. I said, 'Grandma, don't they have doctors in West Virginia?' and she said, 'Yes, but not like Dr. Dean!'"

Along with his burgeoning practice, Dean worked hard to build and strengthen his chosen specialty. It was the 1960s and family physicians were in short supply - only 2 or 3 percent of medical students were choosing that path. "My colleagues and I had to do something to entice medical students to go into family practice," he recalls, "so in 1969, we created the American Board of Family Practice. In America, you have status if you're board-certified. I was a charter member, I passed the test the first year and was recertified six times after that. In other specialties, if you passed, you were certified for the rest of your life, but we wanted family practice to be far above the other specialties," he says.

Dean's activism spread further as well. He was deeply involved with the Wayne County Academy of Family Physicians, and was president of the Michigan Academy of Family Physicians. He lobbied Wayne State University Medical School to establish a department of family medicine. It was an uphill battle, he says, but it paid off and Dean turned his attention to the University of Michigan.

As part of a delegation from the Michigan Academy of Family Physicians, Dean spoke with John Gronvall, then dean of the U-M Medical School. "I remember he looked at me and said, 'What in the world do you think you can teach our medical students that we are not teaching them now?'" Dean had his answer ready. "I told him we could teach them humanistic medicine - that patients needed to be treated as personalities, rather than diseases or organs. I told him that patients belong to a family, to a culture. I told him we could teach them comprehensive medicine, wholistic medicine, preventative medicine and continuity of care."

Eventually, Gronvall agreed and in 1978, the Department of Family Medicine was established in the U-M Medical School. Throughout his life, Dean's work in medicine has reflected a passionate caring for people and a desire to improve health care. It stems in part, he says, from a traumatic experience in his youth. "When I was 7 years old," he recalls, "my parents told me I had to go to doctor's office and have my picture taken. So they took me to the office in my pajamas and took me in a room with a big, bright light, and said, 'Now we're going to take your picture.' then two men grabbed me and held me down and put an ether mask over my face. My tonsils and adenoids were taken out.

When I decided on medicine, I promised myself that I would never let anything like that happen to any patient of mine. It was definitely one of my motivations in becoming a physician." To Dean, medicine is much more than symptoms, diagnoses, and prescriptions - as quickly as possible. "The personality of the physician itself should be a healing modality," he says. "No matter what is wrong, I want to make my patients feel comfortable and confident that I'm their advocate, and that I'll always be there for them."

His long career in the same community has meant that he has sometimes cared for six generations of people in the same family. "That's what I mean about continuity of care - and that's the magic of family medicine!" he says. He has helped to bring over 2000 babies into the world. Good family physicians do not practice in a vacuum, he says. "You have to know your limits and know when to call for help or refer patient. If you do that and do it correctly, there's no better way of providing care for the families of America." At the busiest time of his career, he recalls, he would go to the hospital in the morning to do surgeries, then make rounds on his patients, then go to his office to see patients, do house calls, and finally return to the hospital in the evening before coming home. "I don't know if I could do that now," he laughs.

In 1986, he was named Family Physician of the Year by the Michigan Chapter of the American Academy of Family Physicians. In 2002, he received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the AAFP which today boasts over 100,000 members. In addition to his tireless service for virtually every family practice professional organization in the country, he has traveled to Russia, Spain, England and China to help promote family medicine. In addition to his work at Michigan, he has served on the Wayne State University Medical School faculty and worked to create a department of family medicine at Michigan State University.

Throughout his career, Dean took care to nurture and enjoy his own family. The Deans took trips every year: to Michigan's Upper Peninsula, to Washington, D.C., to the Grand Canyon and California. "My family is the most important thing in my life," Dean says. "We spent quality time with our four children and my wife played an important role in filling in for me when I was working." In addition to managing things on the home front, Vivian Dean has been a stalwart exemplar of volunteerism in the Detroit area. She has served as a docent at the Detroit Institute of Arts, worked to help assimilate newly arrived Russian immigrants into American life, and devoted her time and skills to a variety of philanthropic organizations.

In 2003, George Dean sold his Southfield practice under a special arrangement that allows him to continue caring for his patients without the hassle of administration. He splits his time between the Detroit area and his home in Florida and devotes a good deal of time to an extraordinary hobby. It started, Dean says, when he and Vivian took a trip to the Middle East in 1962. In the lobby of their hotel, Vivian Dean fell in love with a silver and gold chess set made by a Yemeni craftsman. The couple's $200 souvenir budget was spent in an impulse buy that would spark an enduring interest. "After that, whenever we went on a trip, we would buy a chess set," says Dean "Then we got the bug and started going on 'chess set safaris.' We would pick a country, learn how to say, 'Do you have any antique chess sets?' in the language of that country, then rent a car and drive around and buy them!"

Today, the Deans have the most extensive collection of antique and fine art chess sets in the world. Included in the collection is the only Faberge chess set ever made. Dean is the founder and president emeritus of Chess Collectors International. The couple's love of collecting has since extended to Impressionist, post-WWII, and contemporary fine art. Several of their paintings were included in a Pop art exhibition at the University of Michigan Museum of Art; an exhibition of the couple's chess sets is currently being organized there. Says UMMA director James Steward, "I first came to know George as an art collector - one with wide-ranging tastes, and broad yet deep curiosity about the fine and decorative arts. But what I've come most to appreciate is the warm humanity that informs his convictions. His passion for sharing the value of art is linked strongly to everything that has made him a compassionate and inspiring leader in family medicine."

The Deans are deeply proud of the many accomplishments of their four children. Keith Dean is a Brooklyn, New York psychiatric social worker. Stephen Dean, also in Brooklyn, is an attorney. Laurie Dean Amir runs a program for learning-impaired and autistic students for the Birmingham, Michigan school system. Randy Dean is a Bloomfield Hills, Michigan child psychologist. "They've really turned out to be wonderful people," says their father, adding that his and Vivian's 12 grandchildren - ranging in age from 4-19 - are equally wonderful. Currently, five of those grandchildren are students at the University of Michigan.

Dean says he started thinking seriously about creating an endowed fund in the Department of Family Practice back in the 2003, when the Department celebrated its 25 anniversary. "I've always had a soft feeling in my heart for the U-M; it's always been an ivory tower for me. I was brought up on Michigan football!" The talking turned to action.

In 2006, the George Dean, M.D. Family Medicine Chair became a reality. The professorship funds the work of Thomas Schwenk (M.D. 1975), who is chair of the Department of Family Medicine and an associate professor in the U-M Depression Center. Schwenk's clinical interests include family-centered obstetrical care, depression, health promotion, sports medicine, overtraining in athletes, and burnout in athletes. His research interests focus on mental illness in primary care, difficult physician-patient relationships, family function and illness, and nutritional supplements and psychogenic drug use in athletes.

Says Schwenk, "Dr. Dean provided critical political and organizational support for the creation of the Department in the 1970s, and now, 30 years later, has provided critical financial support in the creation of the Department's first endowed chair. In these very different, but equally wonderful, ways he is responsible for contributing to the highest level of excellence and quality of Family Medicine at the University of Michigan." The Dean Professorship was formally established in May 2007. "I am very proud to have my name associated with one of the best departments in the country," says Dean.

Robert Fisher, M.D.

Born and raised in Duluth, Minn., and a graduate of the University of Minnesota after serving three years in WWII with the second Marine Division, Dr. Fisher was working for Dow Chemical as an office manager when he was accepted into U-M Medical School. During school, he had the honor of serving as the president of his class for three years and was a member of the Galen’s Society. Following medical school, Dr. Fisher interned with the Army in Honolulu before coming back to Ypsilanti to start a family medicine practice. Dr. Fisher practiced for over 30 years before retiring. Dr. Fisher now spends time traveling extensively in his motor home and splits his time between Naples, Fla., and Ypsilanti, Mich.

Paddy and Donald Fitch

Donald N. Fitch, M.D. has had a lifelong interest in medicine. Perhaps this was due to the multiple surgeries he required as a youngster coupled with the great personalities of his doctors. This interest continued and was heightened by spending parts of his summers serving first as an orderly and then as an extern at Sparrow Hospital in Lansing, MI. As he progressed through medical school, his interest evolved into a fascination with family medicine. He was particularly impressed with the training he received at the University of Michigan. His only regret was that there was no Department of Family Medicine at that time.

However, having followed closely the development and progress of that Department, Don is very impressed by what they do and the potential for the future. “The need for well-trained family physicians is a certainty. Consequently, when the opportunity to fund a scholarship became evident, this seemed the ideal way for us to help out.”

Don was born in Lansing, MI where he grew up before attending the University of Michigan for his undergraduate and medical education, graduating after seven years in 1959. Four of his fraternity brothers in his undergraduate fraternity went on to medicine as well, including Tom Berglund, M.D. and Ray Hockstad, M.D. who became his eventual partner in practice. The fraternity also was responsible for setting Don up on a blind date with Paddy Cooper, from Kalamazoo, who became his lifelong partner. They were married in 1957, the year Paddy graduated from the University of Michigan with a major in Speech Therapy. She taught for two years in Ypsilanti, MI and for one year in Minneapolis, MN, while Don completed medical school and internship.

After the internship in Minneapolis and two years in the Indian Health Service in Montana and South Dakota, Don and his medical partner, Ray Hockstad, settled in Escanaba, MI, a beautiful, small town on Lake Michigan which had most of the recreational and cultural features they desired. They started a small clinic which, as they continued to add more physicians, became Doctors Park Family Physicians.

During this time, Don and Paddy had three boys: Bob, Arlington, TX; Russ, Hannover, ND; and Gordy, Traverse City, MI. The boys accompanied them on many sailing, skiing, backpacking, hiking, biking, and tennis expeditions. Their three sons were a joy to parent and Don and Paddy have been proud to watch their families, and now seven grandchildren, as they move through their own careers and personal lives.

Don and Paddy both have been involved in Boy Scouting for over 40 years, both serving as Scout leaders. All three sons are Eagle Scouts and Don has seen 43 Eagle Scouts graduate under his leadership as Scoutmaster. They both are very active in many aspects of their church and are charter members of the handbell choir for over 20 years.

In the 1980s, Paddy directed a successful campaign to bring a YMCA to the area. Five years later, she chaired the capital campaign to raise the funds to build the area’s first public indoor swimming pool. Her reward has been the opportunity to teach eight water aerobic classes a week, plus multiple swim classes.

Don practiced family medicine for 49 years until health problems forced him to retire. During this time the continual gratitude of his patients proved to be his best reward and, upon his retirement, this was even more evident.

Don was active in the local Medical Society serving as president twice and delegate to MSMS for many years. He was a member of MSMS, MAFP, the American Academy of Family Practice, the AMA, and was board-certified by the American Board of Family Medicine for the past 40 years. He also enjoyed participating in the AAFP Scientific Sessions as well as the annual 5K Fun Run in which he took first place five times in his age bracket.

Among the several awards he received were the Leader Among Peers Award in 2009 from the Superior Health Partners of Marquette General, the 2011 Plessner Award from the MSMS, exemplifying a rural practitioner, and the 2011 Family Physician of the Year Award from the Michigan Academy of Family Practice.

“After a very fulfilling career and a wonderful life it is with great humility that we feel privileged to provide this Scholarship to further the endeavor that has been our lifelong pursuit.”

Unfortunately, after preparing this document, Don lost his valiant battle against leukemia on August 8, 2011. Paddy and the family are proud to have this scholarship created in his memory and to honor the profession for which he was cited as the perfect role model.

Gorenflo Family

The William Clippert Gorenflo Research Award was established by Daniel W. Gorenflo, Ph.D., research investigator in the Department of Family Medicine, in honor and memory of his father who died in 2004 at the age of 83.

William C. Gorenflo graduated from the University of Michigan in 1947 after serving as a forward observer with the 12th Marines, Third Division, during liberation of Guam and Guadalcanal. His comrades remember him as "cool under fire." A popular Marine expression applied to his last days: "Falling back from a better place to advance from."

Born in Detroit, Mr. Gorenflo was the youngest son of a prominent Detroit family (Dr. August and Hattie Clippert Gorenflo). In addition to living in Detroit, he also lived at the family farm, "Cherry Beach," along the St. Clair River in Marine City. As a young man he was athletic, lettering in football, basketball, and track.

Although his plans for a career in medicine were interrupted by WW II, he did receive his bachelor's degree from University of Michigan.

He ended up working for many years at the J.L. Hudson Company as a buyer and import manager, often traveling to Europe to import the newest men's attire.

William C. Gorenflo loved boating, instilling a love of northern Michigan in his children, who will always enjoy happy memories of summers spent on Elk Lake. His family will remember him for his integrity, strength, intense loyalty, patriotism, unwavering support and unconditional love.

Because of his love for the University of Michigan and interest in medicine, Mr. Gorenflo donated his body to the University of Michigan Anatomical Donations Program.

The William Clippert Gorenflo Research Award is awarded to a medical student or resident who is doing research with a family medicine clinical or research faculty member. This unique award provides incentive and rewards passion and enthusiasm for research.

Johns/Stewart Family

In the early days of his career as a physician in the tiny town of Falconer, New York, Alvin Johnson Stewart would ride out in his horse and buggy to help women deliver their babies. According to family lore, if the baby came in the middle of the night, Stewart would finish up his work, climb into the buggy, slap the reins, then lie down and go to sleep as his horse walked home over the familiar roads. His wife would find him in the carriage house the next morning, fast asleep in the wagon.

Stewart was born September 7, 1886, in Port Byron, N.Y. His father, Alvin Daniel Stewart, had graduated from the University of Michigan Medical School in 1876 and was a renowned physician in the Port Byron area.

Educated in the public schools of his hometown, Stewart knew early on that he wanted to be a doctor, like his father. After graduating from high school in 1903, he took a job as a librarian in the New York City offices of the New York Central Railroad and for the next three years, worked hard and saved money for his education. In the fall of 1906, he entered the medical school of the University of Syracuse. In 1910, he earned his medical degree and married Elizabeth K. Hest, who had grown up with him in Port Byron. After a year of internship at the City Hospital of Rochester, Stewart and his wife moved to Falconer, just east of Lake Chatauqua, near the Pennsylvania border. And for the rest of his life, he was the quintessential "small-town doctor", devoted to the care of the people of Falconer and nearby town of Jamestown.

The Stewarts' only child, a daughter they named Jean, was born in 1916.

With the outbreak of World War I, Stewart signed up to serve. In 1918, he spent six weeks at Camp Greenleaf, Georgia, in the Medical Officers' Training Camp after which he was assigned to escort detachment duty in New Jersey. For the next year, he criss-crossed the country on a hospital train service, meeting incoming transports laden with sick and wounded soldiers, caring from them en route to hospital camps. Said a 1921 article about him, "it was a wonderful field of service for a man of Dr. Stewart's ability and kindness of heart, giving him a great opportunity for further experience."

Stewart practiced out of his home, an old farmhouse on Falconer's Main Street. As the years passed, horse and buggy were replaced by automobiles - much to the chagrin of Elizabeth Stewart who worried about her husband falling asleep at the wheel during those late-night journeys home. In his spare time, Stewart was an avid outdoorsman who enjoyed trap and skeet shooting and fishing in the area's many lakes and rivers. As his practice grew, he indulged himself with "a Cadillac every year," says his grandson, John Johns, of Ann Arbor. "That was the only thing he could spend money on," he laughs. "There wasn't anything else there!"

Johns recalls childhood trips to visit his grandparents. "I remember playing in my grandfather's office. It was filled with scales and big, brown glass bottles filled with medications," he says. He describes his grandfather as "quiet and reserved". His grandmother, he says, was "very proper" - a classically trained musician who served as the organist in Falconer's First Methodist Church. Both the Stewarts loved classical music and were frequent visitors to concerts at the famed Chatauqua Institute not far from their home.

Jean Stewart grew up in Falconer then graduated from Allegheny College. She was a graduate student at Simmons College in Boston when she met Lester Johns, a young man from Detroit who was enrolled at the Harvard Business School. The couple married and settled in Newcastle, Pennsylvania, where their only son, John, was born. In the 1960s the Johns family moved to Ann Arbor - where Jean's grandfather had studied medicine nearly a century before.

Lester Johns spent many years working in Plymouth as general manager of several divisions of a major automobile parts manufacturing company. Jean Johns worked in retail and as a housewife. Both were involved in many Ann Arbor-area clubs and organizations.

When Dr. Stewart died in 1967, his wife, Elizabeth, moved to Ann Arbor to live with her daughter and son-in-law. She very much enjoyed her final years here, says her grandson, taking advantage of the city's cultural riches and making new friends. Elizabeth Hest Stewart died in Ann Arbor in 1974.

A year before Jean's death in 1993, Lester and Jean Johns approached the U-M Medical School to see about establishing a scholarship fund that would serve as an enduring memorial to Jean's father and his many years spent caring for the people of his community. Today, the Alvin Johnson Stewart, M.D. Fellowship in Family Practice supports the training of graduate family practice physicians in the U-M Medical School Department of Family Practice.

Kessler Family

Kessler Family Establishes Award in Father's Memory

Harold Kessler, MD
Harold Kessler, MD

The Harold Kessler, M.D. Endowment Fund was established by his three children, Barbara, Susan and Sam, to honor their father who died on March 27, 2003. Harold Kessler, M.D., graduated from the University of Michigan Medical School in 1929 and practiced pediatrics for over 50 years in northern Michigan (Alpena) and Ann Arbor. In 1964, at the age of 56, Dr. Kessler moved his family to Ann Arbor so he could pursue a second residency in child psychiatry at UM Children's Psychiatric Hospital.

Dr. Kessler was a distinguished doctor who throughout his life provided medical care without regard to a patient's ability to pay. Although he was trained as a pediatrician, he also delivered 9,000 babies in Alpena, because at that time a small-town pediatrician had to be prepared to cover as many needs of the community as he could. He also performed direct blood transfusions, because he was the only doctor in the area with the laboratory knowledge and skill to do something that complicated.

Dr. Kessler was a loving husband and father, a loving son, and a devoted brother to six siblings, many of whom he put through school. His children describe their father as "a very gentle man and a man of great peace - a man who "walked lightly" on this earth."

In his later years Dr. Kessler was cared for by Thomas L. Schwenk, M.D., and other faculty and residents from the U-M Department of Family Medicine. The Kessler family hopes that this award will inspire other physicians to become the kind of physician with whom their Dad would have been proud to have known as a colleague and associate.

Lichter Family

The Lichter Family Establishes the Dr. Max and Buena Lichter Research Professorship

To honor the memory of both their father, Dr. Max L. Lichter, a distinguished family physician, and their mother, Buena, brothers Allen S. Lichter, M.D. and Paul R. Lichter, M.D., both renowned physicians themselves today, along with their wives, Evie and Carolyn respectively, have made a commitment to establish the Dr. Max and Buena Lichter Research Professorship.

"Family Medicine is a field that historically hasn't had a lot of endowed professorships established," said Allen Lichter, M.D., former dean of the U-M Medical School and now the chief executive officer of the American Society of Clinical Oncology.

Often patients who endow chairs do so after a major medical event, such as a life-saving surgical procedure, and tend to honor the work of surgeons and other specialists rather than their family doctor. "That we had an opportunity to establish a professorship in family medicine, which our father was so devoted to, made this an ideal situation," he added. According to Paul Lichter, M.D., Chair of the U-M Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences and Director of the W.K. Kellogg Eye Center, it was important to both sons to establish a research-focused professorship specifically.

Both parents appreciated the importance of solid research programs. "Our father was always was interested in the research Allen and I were involved in and that our departments were involved in, so supporting research in our father's field of family medicine was very important to us in part because we know how meaningful it would have been to him and to our mother.

Research, particularly clinical research, which this professorship could well end up supporting, is critical in terms of delivery of care." Born in New Haven, Connecticut in 1909, Dr. Max Lichter earned his medical degree from Wayne State in 1934. He completed his internship in Detroit and served as a Navy flight surgeon during World War II. He built his own private general medical practice in Melvindale, Mich., a Detroit suburb.

He ran the practice for five decades, delivering three generations of babies and performing minor surgeries. "He was the old-time family doc," said Allen. "This was in an era when medicine was different. If you came to him, he would see you. Insurance forms were not as critical as they are today. If all you had [to give as payment] was a loaf of bread you'd baked or some flowers from your garden, he'd say, 'We'll let it go at that.' There were a lot of nights he'd come home with a chicken," Allen recalled.

Community health and prevention were important to the elder Dr. Lichter. He served as the director of school health services for the Melvindale-Allen Park school system from 1935 until 1983. He attended school athletic events and "ran the whole operation to take care of students," Paul recalled. He was actively involved with the U.S. Public Health Service and served as special consultant to the divisions of Health Mobilization and Indian Health. He was also a member of the Surgeon General's advisory committee on hospital management.

Closer to home, Dr. Lichter chaired the Hypertension Coalition of Metro Detroit and served as President of the Tuberculosis and Health Society of Wayne County. He was involved in organized medical professional associations, too, including key American Medical Association and Michigan State Medical Society committees. When he was 75, he left his practice to direct the Community Health Department at Oakwood Hospital in Dearborn. There he launched a program in health promotion, funded by a grant he had received from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. Dr. Lichter had been one of the founding physicians of the hospital and the former chief of staff from 1966 to 1972.

Dr. Lichter was a Diplomate of the American Board of Family Practice, a designation earned after taking an exam "entirely voluntarily in his 70s even though he was grand-fathered during the time of his practice and had no need to become board certified," Paul said. "He passed on his first try, a testament to his intelligence and perseverance and his drive to stay current in his field."

Helping others was also a passion of Buena's. She was intensely dedicated to Hadassah, a Jewish women's advocacy organization, and Hadassah Medical Center in Jerusalem. "She recognized the excellence of the research there and how important it was to helping people - not just in Israel but all over the world," Paul Lichter says. She served as president of the Detroit Chapter of Hadassah, and supported many other groups, as well. "Helping others was what she lived for, whether it was with family, friends, or an organization," he adds.

Thomas L. Schwenk, M.D., emeritus faculty and the first George A. Dean, M.D. Chair of Family Medicine notes that "the Department of Family Medicine is especially proud to be the department home of such an extraordinary gift, from both a current Department Chair and a former Dean of the Medical School, that supports the Dr. Max and Buena Lichter Research Professorship in Family Medicine and honors such remarkable people."

Judy and Michael Papo

Dr. Papo was born July 26, 1925 in Sarajevo, Yugoslavia and he was a survivor of the Holocaust who, in 1951, immigrated to the United States with his father Albert Papo, DDS. While living in Ann Arbor Michigan he pursued a career in medicine at the University of Michigan. In 1958, after completing his medical training, Dr. Michael Papo co-founded the Chelsea Medical Clinic, in a rural community of southeastern Michigan.

Dr. Papo believed that people in rural areas also deserved access to quality health care. This "new" approach to health care characterized by personal, prompt and compassionate care emphasizing quality care at a reasonable cost was a resounding success.

Along with his colleagues, he envisioned and built a new state of the art medical clinic for family medicine, which ultimately expanded its services to include the building of the Chelsea Community Hospital in 1970, which also included one of the first outpatient surgical facilities in the nation.

Dr. Michael Papo pioneered the practice of family medicine, mentoring many young residents and medical students at the Chelsea Medical Clinic. He was widely recognized for a distinguished career of 20 plus years in medicine which included numerous awards for his humanitarian accomplishments as well as being a contributing force in the establishment of the original Medicare legislation. He continued to practice until his retirement in 1978, when he donated the medical practice to the University of Michigan which became the original home of the University of Michigan's Family Practice Center.

Dr. Papo spent his later years committed to philanthropic pursuits and satisfying his passion for sailing and traveling the world. He will always be remembered for his excellence as a family man and physician, his love for sailing and his uncanny ability to capture an audience with his vivid description of his experiences.

Dr. Michael Papo, aged 87, passed away on November 18, 2012 at his home in Singer Island, Florida.

This gift honors a man who was passionate about family medicine and who will impact its future by providing support and encouragement for students who choose a career in family medicine.

Thomas L. Schwenk, M.D.

When Thomas L. Schwenk, M.D. retired as the second Chair of the Department of Family Medicine in 2011, the Department realized many things. One of those things was how much the Department had benefited from his wise leadership of over 25 years in support of our combined missions in research, education and patient care. Thus, an award in his honor was created.

Dr. Schwenk earned his M.D. degree in 1975 from the University of Michigan Medical School, and in 1978 completed his Family Medicine Residency at the University of Utah Affiliated Hospitals in Salt Lake City, Utah. In 2002 he was elected to the Institute of Medicine of the United States National Academy of Sciences and serves as a member of the national advisory committee for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Generalist Physician Faculty Scholars Program. He has a Certificate of Added Qualifications (CAQ) in Sports Medicine. His research focuses on the diagnosis and treatment of depression in primary care. His clinical interests include nutritional supplements, ergogenic aids in sports, and mental illness and burnout in athletes.

Dr. Schwenk joined the faculty of the Department of Family Medicine in 1984 and was appointed interim chair of the department in 1986, and was named permanent chair in 1988. In June 2007 he was installed as the first George A. Dean, M.D., Chair of Family Medicine, the department's first endowed professorship.

The Thomas L. Schwenk, M.D. Resident Teacher Award will be awarded annually to a senior resident who shows both a passion for mentoring and exemplary teaching skills. The Schwenk Award honors Dr. Schwenk’s passion and contributions in the area of teaching and mentoring throughout his long career with the Department of Family Medicine. As Dr. Schwenk said when we told him of our intention to establish this award, “Of all of the many directions that my professional life has taken, my role as a teacher is still the most important. To be a teacher is a great privilege, but to have a teaching award created in my name is an honor beyond measure."

Schwenk is currently the dean of the University of Nevada School of Medicine, and vice president of the University of Nevada, Reno, Division of Health Sciences.

Stevens/Wagar Family

Dr. Wagar's Memory Lives on Through His Endowment

Spencer H Wagar, MD
Spencer H. Wagar, MD

An endowment in the Department of Family Medicine provides important opportunities for medical students and residents to work with unserved and underserved populations. Throughout the school year, an at-risk school in Ypsilanti offers health care services and education to its students and their families. Lives are eased and changed by this endowment. And it all started with that paragon of American culture, a simple community doctor in a small town.

Spencer Wagar was born on February 1, 1909, on the family farm in Berlin Township, near Rockwood, Mich. He was named after Dr. Spencer who delivered him and from that moment on, his destiny appeared clear: he would be a physician. Wagar's parents sacrificed to ensure his education. He grew into a quiet young man with a distinctive laugh, graduated from Monroe High School in 1927, and entered the University of Michigan.

His daughter Christine Stevens recently recalled her father talking about his interview for medical school. When asked why he wanted to be a doctor, he replied, 'I don't know, but I do.' He was accepted. Wagar's father was a banker and when the Great Depression hit in 1929, his mother helped out by driving each day from Rockwood to Detroit to fill vending machines. The family did not have indoor plumbing until 1940. Following graduation in 1934 Wagar remained at U-M for internship and residency in internal medicine.

In 1938, Wagar began his career as a practicing physician in Saginaw, but soon moved back to Rockwood to care for his dying father. During his eight years there, he was the quintessential country doctor. He served on the staff of three hospitals: Wyandotte, Trenton, and Monroe. A hernia kept him from active service in WWII but he served his country on the home front, donating his time as a medical examiner for the draft board. With his office in two side rooms of the family home, his wife, Lucille, assisted in every way she could: "nurse", accountant, short-order cook, provider of moral support, and mother.

Recalls Stevens, "There were many times my mother would be worried sick that my father had fallen asleep at the wheel after a late night house call as he often worked 16 hours a day. When he arrived home he explained he had been sitting at the kitchen table having coffee and conversation with the family following a visit to their sick relative. During these years, I had little time with my Dad, so he would let me ride along while he made house calls. I'd wait in the car while he made the visit. I never knew any of the patients' names or their diagnoses. My dad's code of confidentiality and ethics were unsurpassed." In 1948, Wagar moved from Rockwood to Monroe where he practiced until retirement.

An enthusiastic community volunteer and avid football fan, Wagar was the Monroe High School football team doctor for many years. He was also a board member of many organizations including Rotary Club, the Monroe YMCA, the Monroe County Board of Health, Monroe Bank and Trust, and an advisor to the Monroe County Welfare Department for Aid to Dependent Children and Adults. He was loyal to his alma mater and often returned to Ann Arbor for classes. For relaxation, he hunted deer, vacationed on Lake Huron each summer and cheered on the Michigan football team at each home game.

Most important, says his daughter, "He never denied treatment to anyone even in hard economic times. He was sensitive to his patients' emotional needs and knew how important it was to them to keep their pride. He would accept whatever they could pay for their medical care. Often, he was paid in food. Once, he received four hand-carved ducks signed in pencil by his patient, which I now treasure."

Wagar's generosity to his patients had a practical side. His daughter tells of a patient who was going to die without a blood transfusion. Because of the War, the blood supply was low. Knowing he had the same blood type, Wagar ran downstairs to the lab, had a pint of blood drawn from himself and ran back to give it to the patient. Chris remembers him saying, "...and you know what? She lived!"

Stevens says that the happiest part of her father's practice was delivering babies. In 1940, he delivered six babies with an average cost of $18-$25 per delivery. By 1958, he was delivering over 170 a year. In 1962, Wagar delivered a career total of 2105 babies; his biggest pride being that he never lost a mother.

"In 1979, a heart attack drove Dad into retirement," says Stevens. "Of course, he didn't do this the typical way either. On the day of his heart attack, he drove himself to the hospital, went to the EKG lab, read his own EKG strip, and diagnosed himself." In 1990, one year after his 60 th wedding anniversary, Wagar died of pneumonia after breaking a hip.

Stevens says her dad inspired her own interest in medicine; she graduated from the University of Michigan School of Nursing. Today, she tries to make a difference as a home care nurse, caring for patients and their families with her father as her role model. And the legacy continues: one granddaughter, Wendy, also a U-M graduate, is now a nurse practitioner.

On January 31, 2000, another Spencer was born 6 weeks early -- missing his great grandfather's birthday by only 16 minutes. Perhaps he, too, will follow the path of medicine.

Dale L. Williams, M.D.

Beginning in 2009, the newly established Dale L. Williams, M.D. Family Medicine Scholarship shall be awarded to senior medical students who match into the family medicine program at the University of Michigan Department of Family Medicine. The scholarships shall be awarded after Match Day of the recipient’s last year of study toward an M.D. degree and the fund was established to encourage medical students to consider a career in family medicine.

In 1975, Dale L. Williams, M.D., a family physician in practice in Muskegon, Mich., was asked to join a group of colleagues who presented a proposal to the University of Michigan Board of Regents and the University of Michigan Medical School to develop a Department of Family Medicine. This department would encourage comprehensive, compassionate care for the entire family, as well as train future leaders in this specialty. Although the proposal met with some resistance, the group persevered and in 1978 the Department of Family Medicine was created at the University of Michigan.

Prior to this, in 1973, Dr. Williams established the Koinonia Medical Clinic (now known as the Muskegon Family Care Center) where medical care was provided without regard to patient income. Hence the term “koinonia,” which according to Dr. Williams “ a Greek word for 'working together, helping others,'” was truly an appropriate name. He retired from family practice in Muskegon after 30 years and he and his wife, Christel, split their time between Grand Rapids and Florida.

This gift honors a man who was instrumental in the inception of the department and who will impact its future and the future of the specialty by providing support for students who choose a career in family medicine.

“I can not help but be amazed at the great strides that the Department of Family Medicine has made since its beginning. It has become the quality program for family practice, and I feel proud at having done a small part in the beginning,” noted Dr. Williams.