Department Co-Founder John O’Leary Passes Away

Many within the Department of Family Medicine and Community Health (DFMCH) and the University of Minnesota were saddened to learn of the passing of John O'Leary, MD, on July 14, 2022, at the age of 100. Dr. O'Leary was one of the founders of the Department of Family Medicine and Community Health, making him a very special alum and a significant loss.

Born in South Dakota, Dr. O'Leary began his college education at St. Thomas University but was interrupted by World War II, where he served as a navigator on B-17s and flew 32 missions in the European Theater. Following the war, Dr. O'Leary earned his Doctor of Medicine degree and certification in internal medicine at the University of Minnesota.

For 14 years he maintained a medical practice in Brainerd, Minnesota, and then joined three other physicians to start the DFMCH at the University of Minnesota, where he spent 25 years as a professor of medicine. Dr. O'Leary was known for his compassion and talent as a physician, his love of travel, his dedication to running and participating in marathons, his love for family and friends, and his positive attitude.

"We are all indebted to Dr. John O'Leary, who helped not only establish the U of MN DFMCH but also established the standards for academic and clinical excellence for students, residents, and faculty, and engagement with the wider community. He was a quiet and inspiring giant for our department and for all of family medicine," said former department head Dr. Mac Baird.

Read more about Dr. O'Leary's life in his obituary.

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