(Stevens Point, WI) – Dr. Albin Sowka remembers well the clinic he and his uncle, Dr. Paul Sowka owned where they practiced medicine at 1525 Main Street in Stevens Point. Dr. Sowka came to Stevens Point to practice medicine in 1954 as a surgeon and was only the second surgeon at that time to perform surgery at Ministry Saint Michael’s Hospital.
He, along with twelve other physicians, was honored at a luncheon presented by Saint Michael’s Foundation. Retired physicians were honored during the luncheon for the role they have played in the community for the past 100 years.
The list of those honored reads like a who’s who in Portage County medical circles – physicians Karl D. Aldinger, MD, Robert H Bickford, MD (in memoriam), Daniel L. Brick, MD, James D. Butler, MD, Fong C. Chang, MD, James H. DeWeerd Jr., MD, Richard Eckberg, MD (in memoriam), David E. Enerson, MD, Robert C. Friedrich, MD (in memoriam), Stephen L. Griswold, MD, Philip K. Hacker, MD, Frank Iber, MD (in memoriam), Robert J. Jaeger, MD, Robert J. Jean, MD, Richard A. Kessler, MD, Bruce D. Mason, MD, E. George May, MD, Angelo Milano, MD (in memoriam), James D. Miller, MD (in memoriam), Gene H. Numsen, MD , Thomas P. O’Malley Sr., MD, David A. Perry, MD, John A. Picconatto, MD, David L. Pringle, MD, Robert H. Rifleman, MD, Anne G. Schierl, MD, Francesco Sciarrone, MD, Henry H. Shaw, MD, James R. Sevenich, MD, Albin J. Sowka, MD, Thomas R. Wagner, MD.
Over 50 people – family, friends, patients and fellow physicians – were in the audience to thank these retired physicians for their contributions to the community.
Those honored by Saint Michael’s Foundation have seen many changes in their years as practicing physicians. Many of those changes were found in the numerous historic photographs that were highlighted as a part of the program. From the late 50’s to the early 90’s – styles, technology and the way medicine was practiced were visibly different. However, one thing remained the same – the physicians’ important role in our community.
“We gathered this group of retired physicians as a way to say ‘thank you’ for all they have given our community, but to especially thank them for all they have given to their patients and their families during their long careers. Together, we wanted to celebrate the miracles they have made,” stated Angie Heuck, Saint Michael’s Foundation director.
“We have a wonderful asset in our medical staff. From the photos shared today from the past, to the new ad campaign you see today on TV, we recognize the contributions each of these wonderful individuals have made over the years, the relationships they have with their patients, and we want to thank them. We also want to take the time to share their stories with our community, because they are important to our history,” Jeff Martin, president of Ministry Saint Michael’s Hospital stated at the event. “We will begin the celebrating the rich history of Ministry Saint Michael’s Hospital that started 100 years ago on January 28, 2013. Each of our retired physicians have great stories to share as a part of that celebration. We are so glad they are a part of making Ministry Saint Michael’s who we are today.”