Wednesday, July 18, 2018

On the passing of Dr. Neil Winston


When somebody drops offline these days, I worry.

That's a sentence I could not have imagined myself writing back in the mid-1970s when Neil Winston and I were both undergraduates at Loyola. Neil is the guy on the left in the picture above; you probably recognize the guy on the right. When this picture was taken, Neil was the one who was the President -- the President of the Chicago Medical Society.

In addition to his service in that role, Dr. Winston served as a Trustee for the American Association of Public Health Physicians (from 2006), a Trustee of the Illinois State Medical Society (ISMS) (from 2002), a member of the ISMS House of Delegates (from 1994), and a member of the Illinois Medical Political Action Committee (IMPAC) Board of Directors (from 2002). Dr. Winston was also active with the AMA as a member of the Illinois delegation to the AMA House (from 2006); he served on the Commission to End Health Care Disparities since 2005. He was also a member of the Board of the Illinois Channel. All these biographical details, in fact, are taken from a tribute to Dr. Winston written by Illinois Channel Executive Director Terry Martin.

These remarkable accomplishments were in the unknown future back when we were at Loyola. This is the Neil Winston I remember from undergraduate days, back when we served together on the student government. But I particularly remember Neil as a photographer. He was officially the photography editor for the Loyolan yearbook only once---I looked it up this afternoon---but my recollection is that he was deeply involved in supplying photographs for the yearbook every year during those long-ago undergraduate years.

It was through photography that we would would reconnect, many years later, after I joined Facebook. He regularly put up professional-quality photos he'd taken at sporting or political events. I'd "like" his photos and he'd "like" the much more amateurish pictures I'd post of me and my latest grandchild. He even plugged this blog a couple of times, during primary seasons past.

He was quite active on Facebook -- and then he wasn't.

I knew Mr. Zuckerberg was fiddling with the Facebook algorithms, whatever they are, and so some people were expected to pop up more frequently, and others less so.

And I know lots of people who have abandoned Facebook entirely, or at least cut back substantially, because it has become almost as toxic as Twitter.

But I didn't think either of these a sufficient explanation for Neil's disappearance. So I started to worry. Some weeks ago I looked up his Facebook page. There were all sorts of posts -- and then there weren't any more.

I searched for Neil's name online at the time, but came up with nothing specific. Or conclusive.

I looked again this afternoon. I now find that Dr. Winston left us in March.

I don't know where to send the Mass card. But I felt I should say something. So here goes:

Eternal rest grant unto Dr. Neil Winston, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon him. May his soul and all the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.

3 comments:

Unknown said...

Thanks for posting. I am a friend of Neil's and have also wondered what happened to him as he was an avid FB poster.

Albert said...

Condolences on your friend's passing.

Anonymous said...

EXACTLY. HERE I IAM IN LATE AUGUST 2019 JUST FIGURING THIS OUT. WE DATED BRIEFLY IN THEYEAR OR TWO PRIOR...AND BUTTED HEADS PROFUSELY.

I HAD SUCH RESPECT AND ADMIRATION FOR NEIL. BUT HE WAS DETERMINED TO BE IN CONTROL - OF THE MINUTEST DETAILS, IN CHARGE, WHICH I LONG FOR..BUT NOT WHEN ONE TWISTS OR MISUNDERSTANDS MY WORDS TIME AND TIME AGAN, THAT IS ‘TROUBLED’. TO THIS DAY I WISH WE COULD HAVBE FIGURED IT OUT.

SUCH AN AMAZING MAN. GONE WAY TO DAMN SOON. GODSPEED, NEIL. I’M GLAD I GOT TO SHARE SPACE WITH YOU, HOWEVER BRIEFLY. SHEILA