John F. Bresette M.D.
January 7, 1934 – February 23, 2020
John F. Bresette, M.D. 1/7/34 - 2/23/2020
John Francis Bresette, M.D., died on February 23, 2020, at home, surrounded by the love and laughter of his family and the warm embrace of his wife and compass, Kathleen.
Jack, “Dr. B” Bresette was born in Webster, Massachusetts, on January 7, 1934, to Henry Napoleon Bresette and Mary Amelia Keefe Bresette. Jack graduated from Boston College High School, matriculating to Georgetown University and then graduating from Georgetown Medical School in 1959, winning the Gold Medal for Surgery. While at Georgetown, Jack met Kathleen Webster when he asked her for the phone number of a friend he wanted to ask out. They spent hours talking that night, and for 62 more years after they married on May 17, 1958. After an internship at Jersey City Medical Center, Jack and Kathleen moved to Germany, where he served as Air Force doctor at Sembach Missile Base. He received the Air Force Commendation Medal for his work, including administering the first polio vaccination in Europe. They returned to the U.S. in 1963 and he completed his Urology Residency at Georgetown in 1968. His career as a surgeon in the Washington, DC area included being Chief of Urology at the VA Hospital while managing his own practice and serving as Director of the Continence Center at Columbia Hospital for Women for nearly 30 years. Jack and Kathleen moved back to Massachusetts in 2000, where he served as Chief of the Continence Center at Lahey Clinic in Burlington for thirteen years; often having dinner with his mother (then over 100 years old) and sister, Pauline, who lived in Burlington. Over an extraordinary career, Jack saw more than 30,000 patients, always with a kindness and attention that affected all who knew him. He cared deeply about his patient’s lives, and knew everyone at the hospitals where he worked, from chief to custodian.
As deeply impactful as his career as a surgeon was, he perhaps had a deeper influence on his community. With the encouragement/insistence of Kathleen, Jack co-founded the Zacchaeus Free Medical Clinic in Washington, D.C. in 1974, which later merged with Bread for the City. From 1974 to 1994, Jack served as Chair of the Board of Zacchaeus/Bread for the City and volunteered his time to see patients weekly. His social justice passion included support for the United Farmworkers - picketing with all nine children and Kathleen as well as offering his medical expertise to the organizers and their families. In 1976, he started a medical aid program to Nicaragua with the Quixote Center, serving hundreds of rural poor in that country as they endured years of war. His professional and social justice work was at the core of his identity, and he was recognized in 1994 with a One and Only Award for Community Service by Channel 9 in Washington, DC.
He was a fearless advocate for the vulnerable, the voiceless, the less fortunate and all those in need. “I never fail to get transformed when I take care of people. It is unjust to not be aware of what we have; not too many of us know people without food, clothing, health care and friends.” He lived by the guiding principle of serving others with dignity and respect.
Jack is survived by his wife, Kathleen and their nine children: Patrick, married to Debbie, Marie, married to Chris Silard, Jeanne, married to Tom Jardeleza, Michael, married to Wanda, John, Married to Kathleen, Thomas, married to Leslie, Kathleen, Matthew and Nora, married to Justin Harden; 24 grandchildren and 8 great-grandchildren. He is also survived by his brother, Richard, of Munroe, Georgia, and was predeceased by his sister, Pauline Alberghini.
Visiting hours will be held at the Doane, Beal & Ames Funeral Home at 729 Route 134, Dennis, MA, 02660, on Friday, February 28, 2020 from 4-7pm.
A Funeral Mass of Christian Burial will be held at Our Lady of Victory Catholic Church, on Saturday February 29, 2020, at 10am, located at 230 S. Main Street, Centerville, MA, 02632.
In honor of Dr. B’s life, donations in his name can be given to Bread for the City, 1525 Seventh Street, N.W., Washington, DC, 2001. https://breadforthecity.org/donation/givetoday/
- Bread for the City
- Visitation Friday, February 28, 2020
- Funeral Mass Saturday, February 29, 2020
John F. Bresette M.D.
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March 6, 2020
Thank you, Dr. Bresette for teaching me.
March 5, 2020
My sincere condolences to the family of Dr. Bresette. He was an empathetic and compassionate doctor which the world seems to lack enough of these days. After 5 years of going to different doctors to treat urinary symptoms, I met Dr. Bresette and was blown away by not only his commitment to helping me feel better but the genuity begin those words. I will never forget the day after my surgery that he personally called me to check in on how I was feeling and spent time offering me encouragement and support.
He was a bright light in the world.
March 2, 2020
I had the great pleasure of working with Dr. Bresette at Lahey Clinic. He was a great doctor and we all loved him in the O.R. I remember, fondly, all the stories he used to tell about "wrangling" all his kids: one in particular was when he pulled over to the side of the road and pulled a book out of the glove compartment. Once it got quiet, he would start driving again!
What a great doctor and man! He will be sadly missed.
February 29, 2020
We all know what a kind soul he had BUT He was such a handsome man.!!! I have lots of good memories eating Sunday dinners at the Bresettes home. I miss you all. Robin
February 27, 2020
Jack (Dr B) was a wonderful doctor,, friend, and mentor. He will be greatly missed. He did a lot of good and made the world a better place.
February 27, 2020
My sincere condolences to the Family.
I will always remember such a wonderful kind man Dr. B. was.
February 26, 2020
I had the honor of working with Dr. B at Columbia Hospital for Women since the oncology program shared an office with the Continence Center. I have so many, many fond memories of those years including many margaritas outside of work. Now many years later I still work with cancer patients who use Bread for the City for so many of their needs - health care, housing, mental health and legal counseling and much more. The foundation that Dr. B helped to build thrives as a model program for the city of Washington DC for those in need. Dr. B's passion for programs such as this only came second to the love and devotion he had for Kathleen and the entire family. He will be missed!!!