Dr. Daniel J. Radecki, a surgeon for 50 years who also maintained a private practice in Toledo, died of a heart attack Sunday in Toledo Hospital. He was 80.
Dr. Radecki was the youngest of four brothers. The others joined the Army, but his parents, Ignatius and Helen, didn't want him to join the military.
Instead, they encouraged him to get a job that people looked up to, his son, Brian Radecki, said.
At 18, he graduated from the University of Toledo and received his medical degree from St. Louis University school of medicine when he was 21 years old - one of the youngest doctors in the history of the school, his son said.
"He was happiest when he was helping people," Mr. Radecki said.
After medical school, Dr. Radecki interned at George Washington University Hospital in Washington, where he met his wife, Claire.
He was a faculty member at the hospital for several years before returning to Toledo in the mid-1950s, Mr. Radecki said.
Dr. Radecki practiced general surgery at St. Vincent Mercy Medical Center, Flower Hospital, and Toledo Hospital.
His son said he was often on-call for the emergency room and performed a lot of trauma surgeries.
Dr. Radecki was also in private practice on Talmadge Road, where he practiced general medicine, his son said.
"It made him happy to be in the hospital, in surgery, in the emergency room, and in the office with patients," Mr. Radecki said.
Throughout his career as a surgeon, he made house calls and never charged priests or nuns for his services, his son said.
Mr. Radecki said his father had a deep compassion for his patients and was able to explain medical conditions in a way people could understand.
"He would take the complexity out of things," Mr. Radecki said.
He retired as a surgeon in 1999 - the year his wife died, but continued his work with medicine.
Dr. Radecki reviewed cases for the Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation and recently signed a five-year contract to perform physicals at Delphi Manufacturing in Sandusky.
Dr. Radecki also performed pancreatic surgery with a team of physicians at the University of Toledo Medical Center, formerly the Medical College of Ohio, his son said.
"He just kept really busy," Mr. Radecki said.
Mr. Radecki said his father was a big Notre Dame football fan and attended many of their games.
He also enjoyed traveling, reading, and had an interest in convertible cars, his son said.
Surviving are his son, Brian; daughter, Tracy Kalm, and three grandchildren.
Visitation will be after 2 p.m. today at the Thomas I. Wisniewski Funeral Home. Services will be at 10 a.m. tomorrow at Gesu Church.
The family suggests tributes to Central Catholic High School or a charity of the donor's choice.