Richard Sorensen, 88
June 5, 1927 -- April 24, 2015
Long-time West Bend resident Richard Sorensen, M.D., died Friday morning April 24, 2015, at Eno Pointe Living Facility in Durham, North Carolina. He was born in Menominee, Michigan, on June 5, 1927, to William Frederick Sorensen and Margaret (Pedersen) Sorensen. After graduating from Menominee High School, he attended Carthage College in Carthage, Illinois, where he graduated magna cum laude in 1949. Sorensen was granted his M.D. from Marquette Medical School (today the Medical College of Wisconsin) in 1953. While attending medical school, he met his future wife, Rita Wehrley in the choir at the Church of the Redeemer, Milwaukee, where her father was the organist. They married after his graduation. He served in the United States Air Force as a physician, rank of captain.
Sorensen practiced family medicine in West Bend for over 40 years, delivering — in numerous cases — three generations of the same family. As a doctor he was compassionate to his patients, making house calls and personally answering night phone calls for most of his life. In an age before extended health care services, he forgave many lower-income patients the cost of their care. The couple had two children, Lee and Margery. He retired at 70 when his depression, a condition with which he struggled all his life, became overwhelming. The couple moved to Durham, North Carolina, to be close to their grandchildren.
A man of conviction, he was medical adviser to the Washington County Board for 30 years, for which he was honored. He was the first medical director of Planned Parenthood of West Bend, then a volunteer position. An accomplished musician, he largely played privately and organ for the Christmas Eve services for the Sisters of the Divine Savior, nuns who served St Joseph’s Hospital where he practiced. His avocation was birds and environmental issues, participating in annual bird counts and advocating conservation concerns.
A celebration of Christian life will be held 10 a.m. on Wednesday, April 29, at the Croasdaile Village Few Chapel, 2600 Croasdaile Parkway, Durham, North Carolina. Memorial gifts may be made to the National Audubon Society.