RIP Dr Richard G. Nilges, 1919-2011

Listen!

His passing away was apparently peaceful.

My father was born in Cleveland Ohio, 1919, to William Nilges and Josephine nee Hochwalt, in a large family.

His medical studies were of course interrupted by service in World War II. Although he was trained for a role in America’s invasion of Japan, the Japanese surrender resulted in his service in the occupied zones of southern Germany.

He returned to complete training as a neurosurgeon and was Harvard/Massachusetts General Hospital’s resident in 1951. He then accepted a position as the first neurosurgeon to practice in northern Indiana.

Subsequent to that he worked at Augustana, Henrotin and Swedish Covenant hospitals in Chicago, having his closest and most rewarding experiences with Swedish Covenant.

He met Mother when he was studying medicine, and she nursing under the Civilian Nursing Corps programme of WWII. They were married in 1947 and enjoyed a close and loving marriage until Mother’s death in 1996.

He had five children including myself, two boys and two girls, and seven grandchildren.

Later in his career, Dad worked without recognition or reward on medical ethics including the ethics of President Reagan’s nuclear threats in Western Europe: Dad felt that any nuclear exchange would overwhelm medical services and that for this reason, alone, their stockpiling was immoral.

He also took a stand against the 1980s redefinition of brain death which he felt unduly favored the hospitals’ desires not to treat indigent patients, and spoke about his concerns worldwide.

As a father, I always knew he loved me. He expected much and could be quite old-fashioned and rigid, while not having enough time to spend with us. But now that I’m also a father, I also know how work pressure gets in the way of precious time with kids. I think he was a great and good man, and I mourn his passing.

Te decet hymnus Deus, in Sion,
et tibi reddetur votum in Ierusalem.
Exaudi orationem meam;
ad te omnis caro veniet.
Requiem æternam dona eis, Domine,
et lux perpetua luceat eis.

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One Response to “RIP Dr Richard G. Nilges, 1919-2011”

  1. Dershi Saxena. Says:

    I as an anesthesiologist worked with Dr. nilges at swedish Covenent hospital. He was very good surgeon. I have fond memories of working with him. We spent many hours togather. Actually he mentions me in his fiction novel Cyvles. He was very proud of his book.
    I moved to Christ hospital the year he retired. Dershi saxena.

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