Obituary: Elmer Monahan, MD

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“I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith…” (St. Paul). Elmer Perry Monahan Jr., M.D., 92, passed away on Aug. 2, 2012, at home, with family and friends by his side. He was born in Kansas City, Mo., on Oct. 12, 1919, to Elmer Perry Monahan, M.D. and Jessie Ethel (Foster) Monahan. One brother, John, died in infancy. He attended Westport High School in Kansas City and was graduated from Park College in Parkville, Mo., in 1942 with a bachelor’s degree. Following graduation, he entered Northwestern University in Chicago, Ill., with a fellowship in physiology. Much of his work concerned the needs of the military in the ongoing war. He authored and co-authored about a dozen published papers. In 1947, he received his doctor of medicine (M.D.) degree from Northwestern University Medical School. Following internship at Kansas City General Hospital, he served in the Army Medical Corps, Medical Nutrition Laboratory, which he subsequently commanded. He opened his first office in Rangely, Colo., in 1949. Following this, he moved to Craig, Colo., in March 1951, and practiced general medicine until 1989, when he retired. He married Katherine Ann Kanaly on March 7, 1961. They raised four children: Timothy Francis, Mary Kathleen, Michael Perry and Shannon Ann. Katherine died in 1998 from Parkinson’s disease. In addition to serving continuously on the staff of Craig Memorial Hospital, Dr. Monahan was a member of the American Medical Association, the Colorado Medical Society, the American Association of General Practice and was a charter fellow of the American Association of Family Practice. He was a diplomat of the National Board of Medical Examiners as well as a biographee of “Who’s Who in the West.” Dr. Monahan was Moffat County coroner for 25 years. He served without pay, considering it a public duty. He enjoyed a long friendship with Sheriff Bill Terrill, helping organize and serving many years in the Moffat County Sheriff’s Posse, which awarded him lifetime membership. It was not unusual for the doctor to accompany Terrill on law enforcement business. When the sheriff was appointed U.S. Marshall for Colorado, it left the county without a sheriff, a vacancy legally filled by the coroner. Monahan liked to relate, “I was sheriff of Moffat County until the commissioners caught on – then there was panic in the courthouse.” The doctor frequently said how fortunate he was to have practiced when he did. He was the last generation of doctors who could work without restraints and limitations, guided only by judgment and conscience. Home calls were made whenever it would ease care. When troubles happened, he had the privilege of being told, “Don’t feel bad, Doc. We know you did the best you could.” The doctor worked until age 70, when he reluctantly retired. New times were no longer charitable to old doctors. He estimated that he delivered about 700 babies. In addition to his professional activities, his interests were vast and included geology, photography and his library, with its emphasis on Western history. He was preceded in death by his parents; brother, John; wife, Katherine “Kay”; grandson, Dillon Monahan; and aunt, Suzanne Foster. He is survived by his companion of many years, Mary, and her sons; his children, Timothy F. Monahan, Mary K. “Cass” Monahan (Kristin Tone), Michael P. Monahan (Cassie Weiss) and Shannon A. (Larry) Hanson; granddaughters, Emily and Anna Hanson; longtime friends, Bill Lawrence and Doug Davis; and many nieces, nephews and friends. The family would like to thank his caregivers, Cindy, Andrea, Debbie and Vicky, for the wonderful care given to our dad. We were so lucky to have found all of you. Thanks, also, to the Northwest Colorado Hospice Care nurses, for your care and support. Special thanks to Nick Avgares, for always being there. At Elmer’s request, cremation has taken place. A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. on Friday, Aug. 10, 2012, at Craig Christian Church, 960 W. Victory Way, with interment at the Craig Cemetery. A reception will follow at the Shadow Mountain Clubhouse (Mark Anthony Evans-Lawton American Legion Post 62). Everyone whose life has been touched by Elmer is welcome to attend. Memorial contributions may be made to Doctors Without Borders, 333 7th Ave., 2nd Floor, New York, N.Y. 10001-5004, or any charity of choice. Online condolences, Arrangements by Grant Mortuary, Craig, Colo.