Thursday, May 24, 2018
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Dr. Burril Fine, 1929-2011: Internist coached quiz bowl

Dr. Burril Fine of Sylvania Township, a retired internist who had a thirst for knowledge and extreme devotion to his family, died Thursday in the emergency room at Flower Hospital. He was 82.

A cause of death was not immediately known.

A native of Montreal, Dr. Fine came to the Toledo area in 1958 after serving an internship in internal medicine at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit. He maintained offices in West Toledo and Sylvania Township, initially on Central Avenue near Douglas Road and later on the same street near Reynolds Road.

When Dr. Fine was 9, his father died. His mother, Minnie Fine, worked to support him and his sister and his grandfather took on the role of father figure, Dr. Fine’s daughter Anita Minard said. She said her father continued that legacy by nurturing a tight relationship with her children.

“Wednesday was the day with ‘Papa.’ It was the day that my son shared,” she said. “He was a wonderful papa. That was his pride and joy, being a good papa.”

When her children got older, he would arrive daily each morning before school to put them on the bus.

Dr. Fine graduated from high school at age 16, achieving the highest score in Quebec on a precollege entrance exam. He studied philosophy and Latin at Montreal’s McGill University, graduating in 1949. He received his medical degree in 1954 from the University of Montreal School of Medicine.

He did his residency at Johns Hopkins Medical Center in Baltimore.

Dr. Fine met his wife, the former Marilynn Abramson, while interning at Henry Ford Hospital. Her grandmother, a nurse, invited Dr. Fine to her home for a meal. The couple were engaged six weeks later and married within six months on April 12, 1956.

As a Quebec native, Dr. Fine grew up speaking French and English as well as Yiddish and went on to learn Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, German, and Russian. He was an avid reader with a collection of well more than 1,000 books and 15 sets of encyclopedias, with several in foreign languages.

Sam Steinman, one of his closest friends, said, “You never met a person quite as intelligent as he was. He was a sponge. Everything sank in.”

Mrs. Minard described her father as a Renaissance man who loved poetry and history.

Dr. Richard Myers, a retired radiologist, said Dr. Fine would have been an excellent college professor. “He liked medicine, but he should have gone into teaching. He was knowledgeable about everything,” Dr. Myers said.

Dr. Fine coached the quiz bowl team at Sylvania Northview in the early 1980s. The team, which included two of his sons, accomplished a 73-5 record under his leadership.

He also had been director of medical services at the Toledo Mental Health Center.

Surviving are his wife, Marilynn, sons, Mark, Paul, and David, daughter, Anita Minard, and 10 grandchildren.

His body was donated to the University of Toledo Medical Center.

A celebration of life will be July 3 at 2 p.m. at Temple Congregation Shomer Emunim, Sylvania.

The family suggests tributes to Senior Independence Hospice or Vista School Capital Campaign, Hershey, Pa.

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