Friday, May 8, 2009

"John Henry" recalls "Dr. Eastwood"

John H Schmidt III, MD, writes ...
Dear Dan,

I was very sad to hear of your father's passing and hope that your mother is able to cope with such a loss. I have thought often of your father since I knew him in Laramie in the early '70s. He was such a good man and he had a great influence on me. I never told him that. . .that I learned from him more than anyone else what it means to be a man. More than any professor or hospital attending and probably more than from my own father. . . in his manner and in his actions. The other day in the grocery store I thought of your dad. .. .a can of vegetables had fallen from a man's cart in the checkout line. .. . I told my 12 year old son Tristan who was with me to pick it up immediately and put it back in the cart. I learned that from your father and I tell Tristan too because of it to try to help where you can instantly and without thinking about whether it's politically correct or cool or even whether you're needed or not. . .if you can help, do it. . . I learned that from your father's example. I'm also sorry I could never rise to a standard as father and husband as was his by example. Dr. Eastwood (I could never address him as "Doug" despite his repeated requests) had a quality that all physicians should have, but one that many lack. .. .."Aequanimitas" as William Osler called it . . .the evenness in one's approach to the practice of medicine (or life) that is neither boastful nor apologetic. Again, I'm sorry for your loss. My best to your family.

John Henry
John H. Schmidt, III, M.D.

I would like to add that Dr. Schmidt has been a good friend of the family for many years. We had a lot of people named John around the house in the early '70, so we always referred to him as "John Henry" to avoid confusion. I recall that John Henry taught me a few things and kindness and being a man himself.

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