I am one.
Today, my post is very short because I will be at the funeral for my father-in-law. Dr. Vee.
Dr. Vee led a life that holds an unbelievable history.
If you would like to read a short summary that appeared in newspapers:
Metro Detroit's medical community is mourning the death of Dr. Vainutis Kazimieras Vaitkevicius, a key physician in the creation of the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute and a compassionate leader in Michigan's oncology field.
Dr. Vaitkevicius — known by patients and colleagues as "Dr. Vee" — died on Dec. 24, 2017, at Omega House Hospice in Houghton. He was 90.
"Dr. Vee touched many lives," Patricia A. Ellis of the Karmanos Cancer Institute wrote in an email. "He would not be one to boast about himself but, for me personally, he is so very deserving of us honoring him and celebrating the gifts he shared with all of us that will continue to benefit oncology care and research for years to come."
Dr. Vee was born on Jan. 12, 1927, in Kaunas, Lithuania. His mother, Kamilija Zakaviciute, was a nurse who spent years in a Siberian labor camp. His father, Henrikas Vaitkevicius, was an architectural engineer, who died in forced exile after being arrested for political views.
In 1941, the KGB arrested his immediate family, although he managed to escape. He moved in with his grandfather, Vytautas Zakavicius, a trained as a physician and a botanist.
But Zakavicius was executed soon after by the Nazis after it was discovered that he was hiding Jewish children.
Dr. Vee then moved in with his aunt, Dr. Jadvyga Zakaviciute. To avoid forced enlistment by the Nazi Party, Zakaviciute, a prominent doctor, said Dr. Vee suffered from tuberculosis -- a ficticious diagnosis -- and placed him in the quarantine ward.
As the war continued, Dr. Vee ended up in a Lithuanian refugee camp outside of Frankfurt, Germany. It was there that he began to show his leadership skills, establishing a secondary school for the refugees — including himself.
While Dr. Vee originally dreamed of being a musician, his life direction changed after the war. In 1951, he graduated from the Johann-Wolfgang-Goethe-Universitaet Frankfurt Medical School.
He moved to the United States for post-graduate training. This, however, was put on hold for a two-year stint with the U.S. Army, where he achieved the rank of captain. Following the military, Dr. Vee began his residency at Detroit Grace Hospital and Detroit Receiving Hospital in 1955.
Following residency and a fellowship in Medical Oncology at the Detroit Institute for Cancer Research, Dr. Vee started as an attending physician in oncology services at Henry Ford Hospital.
In 1962, he was named clinical director at the Detroit Institute for Cancer Research. Four years later, he was appointed associate professor at Wayne State, becoming director of Wayne’s new Division of Conjoint Services and Curriculum in Oncology. In 1982, he became physician-in-chief at the Detroit Medical Center and chief of medicine at Harper Grace Hospital.
Dr. Vee's most memorable accomplishment is his role in the creation of the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute, where he later served as interim president.
I say all of this not to hold one man above others, only Jesus Christ deserves that...but to remember that there are those whose life has very rough edges, yet something good can come from it.
So in this New Year, may we think of others even when we experience the harshness that sometimes seeps into our lives.
Happy New Year
May this one be an exciting year full of promise.