Casper, Wyoming / December 4, 1931 — September 7, 2017
Mass of Christian Burial for Martin Healey Ellbogen will be celebrated on Tuesday, September 12, 2017 at St. Anthony Church at 10:00 A.M., with Reverend Lucas Simango officiating. Interment will be at the Highland Cemetery.
Dr. Ellbogen died peacefully during sleep at his home on September 7, 2017 from complications of pulmonary fibrosis. He was 85 years-old.
Marty was born in Worland, Wyoming on December 4, 1931 at “Dr. Grey’s Hospital,” which was simply the doctor’s house. His father, Arnold Ellenbogen, was an immigrant from Austria-Hungary, and his mother, Ann Healey, was one generation removed from Ireland. She was also his kindergarten teacher. He grew up in Worland, attending school with the same classmates K – 12, an experience he described as “a family of kids who grew up together.” In high school he played football and was class president, editor of the school annual, and a trumpeter in the band. He graduated in 1949 and was awarded the Outstanding Boy Award from the local Lions Club.
From there he was off to Laramie where he became a proud alumnus of the University of Wyoming. His older brother Jack was a strong influence in his life and encouraged him to pursue a career in medicine. Jack also persuaded him to go to summer school so that he would graduate college in three years, so that’s what he did. While at UW, he was an active member of the Phi Delta Theta fraternity. He fondly remembered many of his fraternity songs, and throughout his life with little provocation he would break out in song.
In 1952, he took his first train ride to Omaha, Nebraska to attend medical school at Creighton University. During one of his clinical rotations in 1955, he met Eleanor Lynch, a nursing student from Rockwell City, Iowa. As he recalled it, she made a rather attractive figure in her tight-fitting scrubs, and it wasn’t long before they were engaged. Dad always considered it a good omen that they met on the obstetrics ward, as they would go on to have seven children.
After graduating from medical school, he joined the U.S. Navy and interned at the U.S. Naval hospital in San Diego. He married Ellie in October of 1956 and within two years she gave birth to their first child. His naval tour of duty was spent on the USS Ticonderoga, an aircraft carrier that patrolled the Formosa Strait separating Taiwan from mainland China.
In 1960 he returned to Wyoming to start his medical practice in Casper. He was a general practitioner at the time, providing full range medical services from surgery to obstetrics, and then later he transitioned into Family Practice. His impact on his patients and the community cannot easily be summarized. For Dad medicine was a vocation, his way of living the call of Jesus to serve others. Those of us who have followed in his footsteps have heard countless testimonials from his former patients and colleagues. He retired from private practice at 65, but continued to serve as the Medical Director at Shepherd of the Valley until he finally stepped down at the age of 83. Even then he still volunteered at the homeless clinic until the summer of 2016, when he finally hung up his stethoscope after 56 years of practice in Casper.
In 2007, he lost his beloved wife Ellie to cancer after 50 years of marriage. He was blessed to find love again and in September 2009 he married Joan Finch. They had many happy years together and shared a love for dining out, travel, the cocktail hour, the Republican Party, the Denver Broncos, and the company of good friends.
His favorite leisure pastime was golf. His approach to the game was an extension of his personality. His golf swing was too easygoing to be powerful, but he made up for it with patience and his short game. And though he never broke a 22 handicap, remarkably he celebrated three holes-in-one during his golfing career.
His most rewarding role was as Grandad to his many grandchildren, with whom he danced, sang, gardened, fished, played croquet, and supervised poop patrol for the family dog. He was their playmate when they were young, their fan when they performed on the athletic arena and the stage, and he never forgot a birthday.
Dad traveled widely with friends and family, including trips back to his native roots in County Mayo, Ireland and Oponice, Slovakia. He was a steadfast Republican and a relentless advocate for the unborn. And most of all he was a devout Catholic. He loved the Church and its rituals and traditions. He was guided by his faith throughout his life, and it was his source of peace and solace at its end.
Marty was preceded in death by his first wife Ellie, his parents, and his brother Jack and sister Shirley. He is survived by his wife Joan, his seven children and their spouses, and 19 grandchildren.
Memorials may be made to True Care Women’s Resource Center, the Holy Cross Center, or charity of choice.