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Alumni 50th Reunion Central

​​Allegheny Class of '66

Classmate Capsules… just a hint of what classmates have been doing since 1966.
Email your story and recent photo to  AlleghenyClassof66@gmail.com 
or to Suzy Spence Miller at sueorjay@gmail.com

                      Tom Baxter

After graduation I went to medical school at Jefferson in Philadelphia and then did a medicine residency at Wilmington Medical Center, now called Christiana Medical Center, in Delaware.  While in medical school I met a young nursing student named Rosemary Foy.  We married in 1969 and have managed to stay together since, raising three daughters.  During and after my residency I completed my ROTC commitment for the United States Air Force, dragging my wife and our growing family from Osan, Korea to Dover, Delaware, back to Wilmington and then to Plattsburgh, NY and finally to Wilford Hall USAF Medical Center in San Antonio, TX.  I had gone to Wilford Hall to do an infectious diseases fellowship, but all the infectious diseases physicians that were there had decided to bail out of the post Vietnam military just a month or so before our arrival and I was left with a fellow just out of training to help him with the infectious disease floor and consults.  I decided to get out of the military, helped by my wife telling me that at 34 I had to decide what I  wanted to do when I grew up.  It was at this point that Allegheny came back into my life.  I had figured to go back to Wilmington or Philadelphia to go into practice but before getting out of the Air Force I had gone over to Houston to attend a medical course.  I walked into the old Shamrock Hilton in Houston and the first person I ran into in the lobby was Mike Feltovich, Allegheny ’65 and fellow Phi Delt.  We both looked at each other and said, “what the hell are you doing here?”   Turns out he had gone from Penn to Iowa and then Baylor and had been in an internal medicine practice for a few years at Methodist Hospital in Houston and was looking for a partner.  I was looking for a job. Hmmmm.  I went back to San Antonio and asked my wife how she felt about Texas.  She was a little noncommittal, saying something about North Carolina.  The Philadelphia girl wanting to go to North Carolina is another story but she can write about that for her 50th high school reunion this year.  Anyway, on July 1st,1978 we pulled into a parking lot at a large mall in Houston to get some bedding that wasn’t going to be delivered until after the 4th.  We stepped out onto the concrete on a 95 degree day with 95% humidity (for you northeasterners  San Antonio is hot but it is not Houston hot).  My wife gave me this look.  As I said we have managed to stay together.  I should add that having spent a lot of time in Air Force housing I could not afford a down payment on a nice house, but this problem had been solved by one Robert Barndollar, Allegheny ’64 and another fellow Phi  Delt, who was in the mortgage department of a local investment firm.  So I wound up in Houston because of Allegheny.  Mike and I were in practice together until 2002 when he decided to leave clinical medicine for administration – we call it “the dark side.”

 To the surprise, at times, of Rosemary and I, all of our daughters have turned out well.  Our oldest, Maura, attended Trinity University and is now an OR nurse at Dell Children’s Hospital in Austin, TX with a long time boy friend.  Colleen graduated from TCU and got her MSW from the University of Texas.  She emphasized child counseling with her masters and then worked for Austin CPS, a place called the Farm in Corvallis, Oregon and then the Oakland, California school district.  That was good training to raise 3 rambunctious boys, but Rosemary is a little upset with her for taking our grandsons from Austin, where they were close by, to Seattle, Washington just because her husband got a nice job with Amazon.   Meggin, our youngest, went to the University of New Mexico and also got a MSW from UT with emphasis on administration.  She is with a large non-profit involved with a number of social agencies,  primarily involved with geriatric community service.  She has a three year old daughter who is the apple of her grandmother’s eye, but Meggin has recently informed us that she and her husband are seriously thinking about moving to Albuquerque NM.  This isn’t quite as bad as Seattle as Rosemary and I have a place in Santa Fe and are out there a lot.  Rosemary got her Mrs. rather than an RN but has taken classes at UTSA and the University of Houston and worked as a pre-school aide, a number of years in real estate, and in retail for Nordstrom’s and Saks.  She is now retired full time except for volunteer work at Methodist and her grandmother duties.  As I write this she is in Seattle.

I stayed in private practice until 2009, but like a lot of my contemporaries found the economics of a small practice too challenging.  I joined our physicians organization and am currently Head of the Division of Primary Care for Methodist Academic Medicine Associates as well as the elected Section Chief of General Medicine for Houston Methodist Hospital.  I spent ten years as Chair of Medication Safety and am currently Chair of Medical Staff Quality Management at Houston Methodist.  In my current job I am involved with training both medical students and medicine residents in both the out-patient and in-patient setting as well as seeing my long time patients from private practice.  I am an Assistant Professor of Clinical Medicine at Weill-Cornell (yes, I know it is in New York, you can ask about it at the reunion), an Assistant Professor of Clinical Medicine at Texas A&M Health Science Center and an Adjunct Assistant Professor of Clinical Medicine at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston.  I guess I am a naturalized Texan now since I am both an Aggie and a Longhorn.  None of this was planned, it just sort of happened, but Allegheny and Alleghenians  have played a huge role in my life.  I have no immediate plans on retirement.  I am still enjoying all this too much.  Oh, and Mike is back at Methodist in our Wellness Center, and we meet at lunch most days.