My dad was born and raised in Oklahoma. The depression was a reality for he and his five siblings. Shoeless and eating lard and brown sugar sandwiches when no other food was available was also a reality. Education was everything.
At 17 Dad joined the US Marine Corps, and was promptly sent to fight the Japanese in the Solomon Islands. As an eager 17 year old, his volunteering for a special assignment was declined by his commanding officer(due to his age and experience). The rest of his unit was accepted for this dangerous mission and summarily wiped out by the enemy.
My dad had enlisted for the duration of the war and went straight to UC Berkeley upon release. He capitalized on his innate curiosity, quest for knowledge, and academic achievements. At UC Berkeley, Dad was offered advanced admittance as a junior, to medical school at the University of Rochester in New York. He never graduated from UC Berkeley.
My dad and his new bride(a former RN(surgical nurse) in the Navy),proceeded to acquire a debt free medical education for my father which resulted in a 35 year career dedicated to treatment of the mentally ill. His commitment to his patients was evident in the repetitive accolades of the families who had found an ally and relief in treatment of a family member, friend, or co-worker.
Throughout my dad's life I never heard a single complaint about the strains and stress of his practice treating the downtrodden, indigent, and castaways whose only saving grace was a Medi-Cal sticker and a physician determined not to base his life and practice on treating lucrative private payment patients. Through the long hours, government bureaucracy and reimbursement of 40 cents on the dollar(if payment was received), his compassion for his patients never waned. Clearly the establishment had selected a medical school candidate with all of the right qualities to practice medicine. "Dad, you have been my life's beacon."
My Father's personal battle with dementia was lost last Thanksgiving,2011.
Submitted by Kendall Jackson
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