Sure thing, Fred.I have no idea why the image turned out so small.I guess it was still too early in the morning for my brain to get working! :D
San Diego Union-Tribune
18 October, 1999
John Battista Minna , 93 was physician for 50 years
Driving spikes into a rail line and shoveling coal into furnaces didn't exactly prepare John Battista Minna for his future in family medicine.
But those boyhood jobs proved to be valuable preparation for a college boxing career.
After graduating from high school at 15, Dr. Minna received a scholarship to the University of Colorado, where he won back-to-back conference boxing championships in the welterweight and middleweight divisions.
Many decades later, during a 50-year medical career, Dr. Minna kept a punching bag in his San Diego garage.
"He showed my brothers and me and his grandchildren how to punch," said daughter Judith Pike. "And it helped him alleviate any anger."
Dr. Minna died Sept. 22 in a Los Alamitos care center, where he had been living for two years. He was 93.
The cause of death was complications from a stroke, his daughter said.
An old-school family practitioner, Dr. Minna considered office hours to be 24 hours a day.
"He treated all his patients as family," said Thelma Bolam, who was among his first patients in San Diego. "You could discuss any problem with him and get a sensible, down-to-earth response."
Bolam said that when she found a large lump on one of her breasts on a Saturday morning, the beginning of a three-day holiday weekend, she called him for advice.
He came directly to her home, contacted a surgeon he knew at Mercy Hospital and stayed with her as a biopsy was taken. "The surgeon said I would have the results in a day or so, and I went home," Bolam recalled.
"I stopped at the grocery for a few minutes, and by the time I was home, Dr. Minna was on the phone to tell me it was not malignant.
"I'm sure we had no more crises than the average family," Bolam said, "and he was always available and always came through -- one of the last of a breed of doctors who were always there for you."
Once, while dining with three other physicians in a Mission Valley restaurant, Dr. Minna helped save a choking man's life.
Using a knife from the restaurant's kitchen, the physicians performed a tracheotomy so he could breathe.
Born in Gaeta, Italy, Dr. Minna immigrated to the United States through Ellis Island in 1912. He grew up in Cokedale, Colo., and graduated at age 22 from medical school at the University of Colorado.
He began his medical career in 1928 as an intern at what today is UCSD Medical Center. He retired in 1978 from an office on Park Boulevard that he had designed and built.
His first office was in Calexico, where he developed fluency in Spanish while treating a largely Hispanic clientele. After a year of postgraduate study in pediatrics at Harvard University, he resumed his practice in North Park. He later moved to an office on Fourth Avenue but spent the last 40 years of his practice on Park Boulevard.
Dr. Minna conducted baby clinics at such sites in San Diego as Neighborhood House, where he treated up to 50 patients a day. He also conducted physical examinations at Boy Scouts and Campfire Girls camps, assisted in polio vaccinations and treated Catholic sisters at the Nazareth House in Mission Valley.
During World War II, Dr. Minna was called to active duty in the Army Medical Corps. He founded a hospital in the Aleutian Islands, "from the tundra up," as he put it, and trained 100 medical students.
He was released from active duty with the rank of major.
While living over the years in Mission Hills and, later, San Carlos, Dr. Minna enjoyed ballroom, square and round dancing. He danced as often as five nights a week until he was 90, his daughter said.
Dr. Minna 's wife, Roberta, died in October 1987, just eight months after the death of his 99-year-old mother, Annunciata.
He is survived by his daughter, Judith Pike of San Diego; sons, Dr. John D. Minna of Dallas and Dr. David A. Minna of Huntington Beach; and seven grandchildren.
A private family service was conducted Sept. 25. Donations to the San Diego Hospice were suggested.