Abe Kauvar, M.D., seemed to forget he had retired.
The founder of the model Denver community clinic system officially retired in the fall of 2001. Three months later, he answered the phone and conducted an interview where he was, some argued, most happy: still in his office, working to get an initiative on the ballot to provide universal healthcare to all Colorado residents.
Kauvar, 88, died Aug 26. He is survived by his wife, four children, nine grandchildren and millions--many who likely never knew his name--who benefited from his vision of healthcare for all.
He graduated first in his class from the University of Chicago in 1939. He served in the Army Medical Corps during World War II and started teaching in 1946 at the University of Colorado School of Medicine.
In 1965, Denver Mayor Tom Currigan said he wanted to create neighborhood health clinics. Kauvar, a gastroenterologist, took the city's $6 million and established a system that stands today. In 1980 New York City Mayor Ed Koch invited Kauvar to establish a community clinic program. Kauvar got it started within a year.
"Medicine is not a business," he said. "It shouldn't be subject to the whims of the people who buy stock."
Rebecca Lentz works in healthcare communications in Minneapolis.