Dr. Joseph David Schweinfurth

October 11, 1925July 27, 2018

Dr. Schweinfurth (Joe), age 92, passed away suddenly after a brief illness in his home city of Portland, Oregon. Joe was born to William and Hazel Schweinfurth in Conneaut, Ohio, as the youngest of three brothers all of whom became doctors. He is survived by his cherished wife of 68 years, Elizabeth Jane (Stielow) Schweinfurth, daughter Elizabeth Davis (James W. Davis), son William C. Schweinfurth (Margaret Lingner Schweinfurth), grandsons Joey Schweinfurth and Will Schweinfurth, sister-in-law Marjorie Schweinfurth, and nieces and nephew Annie, Susan and Jim.

Joe started college through a Navy program where he excelled in school and on the track, graduating Duke University in two years, Magna Cum Laude, and running the quarter mile in 49.3. He went on to medical school at Northwestern University, graduating Summa Cum Laude, where he met his future wife “Bettie” who was in the graduate school of music. Joe then began his medical career at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota under the tutelage of Dr. Charles Mayo. When the Navy called again, he served as a Lieutenant medical officer on a heavy cruiser during the Korean War.

After finishing his medical training, Joe accepted a position at the Grants Pass, Oregon Clinic where he served for years as the general surgeon until retiring. He and Bettie then followed the Lord’s call on a volunteer medical mission trip to Nellore, India, where Joe taught surgical technique and Bettie taught English for the nurses. Upon returning home, the couple moved to Portland, Oregon where Joe continued his love of education by volunteering to teach at OHSU medical school.

Joe’s main interests in life were his family, his faith in God and the pursuit of knowledge. He loved vacationing and skiing in Sun Valley, Idaho, traveling the world, fishing on the Rogue River, in Idaho and in Alaska, sports and especially the Cubs. With Bettie’s help, he developed a lifelong appreciation of music, especially opera. He and Bettie were active with the Portland Opera Guild and were fortunate enough to have attended scores of operatic performances throughout the United States as well as in London, Paris, Copenhagen, Prague, Rome, Venice, Cape Town, South Africa, and of course at the iconic opera house in Sydney, Australia.

Joe and Bettie moved into Mirabella Portland several years ago and have many good friends there. Joe’s faith was the cornerstone of his life. He remained very active and engaged in service to others, as evidenced by the couple leading a regular Bible Study right up to his passing. Joe’s favorite Bible verses were Philippians 4: 4-8.

Fond memories and expressions of sympathy may be shared at for the Schweinfurth family.


Dr. Joseph David Schweinfurth

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