When Hershel Danemann’s wife went into labor with their son, David, he asked someone else to drive her to the hospital because he didn’t want to leave the side of a sick patient.
“His patient was in danger,” recalled his wife, Joan Danemann. “I was just going to deliver.”
Hershel A. Danemann, who was one of the early gastroenterologists in Albuquerque and practiced at Presbyterian Hospital for more than 40 years, died on March 10 at age 84.
“I think patient care was probably No. 1 in his agenda each day,” said Dr. James Hutchison, medical director for medical staff affairs at Presbyterian during the 1990s.
Danemann was given the Hugh A. Cooper Award for Excellence in Medicine in 2004, an award given to Presbyterian physicians who have contributed significantly to the medical profession and the community.
Born in Kansas City, Mo., he attended both the universities of Missouri and Kansas Schools of Medicine. He served three years as a flight surgeon in the U.S. Air Force during the Korean War, stationed in Big Springs, Texas.
He met his future wife, Joan Provus, when she went to visit a friend in Big Springs. He proposed on their fourth date and they were married within four months, his wife said.
Danemann completed his residency in cardiology at Michael Reese and Northwestern Hospitals in Chicago.
He chose gastroenterology as his specialty and moved to Albuquerque in 1960. He ran the Santa Fe Railroad Hospital for two years before pursuing private practice.
He also chaired the medical ethics committee at Presbyterian, his wife said.
Danemann retired from Presbyterian in 2000 and then helped teach classes at the University of New Mexico, his wife said, before fully retiring in about 2005 when he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s.
Besides raising his four children and doing projects around the house, Danemann’s wife said his life revolved around practicing medicine.
“That was just his life,” she said. “He loved it.”
He is survived by his wife of 56 years, Joan; his sister, Rose Danemann; his four children: Sandra Abruzzo and husband Benny; Susie MacLean and husband Tom; Mark and David Danemann; seven grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.
— This article appeared on page C3 of the Albuquerque Journal