The family of James M."Jim" Fink, M.D. wishes to express their deepest gratitude and admiration for the life of their beloved husband, father, grandfather and brother.Dr. Fink, age 73, of South Bend passed away at 3:45 a.m. Wednesday, October 28, 2009 in his home after a valiant six-year battle with multiple myeloma.He was devoted to his family, and a physician dedicated to healing the ill, defending the less fortunate, and bettering his community.His intelligence and care for others was evident in everything he did, and served as an example to all those whose lives he touched.He will be profoundly missed and never forgotten.
James was born on September 19, 1936 in Huntington, IN to the late Helen (Hartman) and Francis Fink, who was editor of the Our Sunday Visitor Catholic newspaper where Jim worked during part of his young adulthood.Jim entered the seminary and attended Our Lady of the Lake Seminary in Wawasee, where he graduated as valedictorian in 1956.He then attended Catholic University in Washington, D.C., where he received a Bachelor's degree in Philosophy.After deciding to leave the seminary, he worked as executive secretary of the Catholic Youth Organization in Gary.While working in Gary, he had two revelations that were turning points in his life:he met his future wife, Marjorie F. "Margie" (Klimaitis), and made the decision to pursue a career in medicine.The next year he enrolled at the University of Notre Dame to fulfill his premedical requirements.On August 27, 1960 in Gary, IN he married Margie (Klimaitis) Fink. He obtained his medical degree from Loyola University (Chicago), where he graduated first in his class in 1964. He served in the Public Health Service for several years, working as a physician on Native American Indian reservations in Arizona, before completing his residency in Internal Medicine at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit.In 1970, he moved his growing family to South Bend, where he lived and worked for the rest of his life.
Jim began his medical practice at the South Bend Clinic, and after several years, left to open a private practice in internal medicine, focusing on heart and lung disease.In the early 1970s, he was the founding medical director of the area's first cardiopulmonary rehabilitation center, affiliated with St. Joseph's Hospital. For years he could be found before 6:00 a.m. exercising alongside his cardiopulmonary rehabilitation patients getting to know each on a personal level and tailoring their medical care to enhance their health and overall quality of life.He was keenly interested in his patients as real people. He also served as medical director for the St. Joseph's Hospital respiratory care service and as director of the St. Joseph County Health Department.He volunteered at the Chapin Street Clinic before eventually becoming its medical director, and he continued to volunteer there even after his retirement.
Jim loved spending time with his family, which meant everything to him.Though he worked long hours, he found time to travel with them, or spend simple hours raking leaves, going for walks, riding bikes, or going on hikes.He was an avid Cubs and Notre Dame Fan, and shared his enthusiasm for sports with his family.He enjoyed a consistent, healthy lifestyle, and even before it was fashionable, he was preaching and practicing healthy eating and exercise.
Jim was an avid reader, always seeking, questioning, and learning more, treasuring knowledge and truth.He loved trivia, and was known to be like a living encyclopedia.He chose a profession that matched his gifts well, and that also allowed him to serve others.His guiding principle was to love God, and serve God by caring for his fellow man, and he accomplished this with his extraordinary devotion to medicine and his outreach to the poor and less fortunate.He had an astonishing work ethic.He was genuinely concerned about helping others and improving his community, country, and world.He dedicated time to his patients at any hour.He went the extra mile with his patients, and was kind, supportive, gentle, patient, understanding, and a good listener and problem solver.By respecting the lives of others and relating to them with honesty, justice, and charity, he hoped to spend eternity with his loving God.
In addition to his wife, Margie, Dr. Fink is survived by four daughters, Mary Meck, Annie (Jeff) Stahl, Nancy T. Sawyer and Julie (Chris) Hall, all of South Bend; four sons Mike (Amy Kownack) Fink of Mesa, AZ, Joseph (Sarah) Fink of Valparaiso, IN, Billy Fink of Granger and Ronald Michael (Monica) Fink of Oklahoma City, OK; andtwenty two grandchildren, Ted and Jimmy Meck, Adam and Sam Fink, Hopey, Peter, Francie and Julia Fink, Katie and Madie Stahl, Danny, Joey, Tommy and Laura Sawyer, Michael, Jessica, Emily, Sarah and Matthew Hall, Elijah Fink, and Cameron and Conner Kownack.Also surviving are two sisters, Ann Eckert of Fort Wayne, IN and Carol (John) Fitzgerald of Muncie, IN; and three brothers, Jack (Marie) Fink of Indianapolis, Bill Fink of Muncie, IN and Tom (Sheila) Fink of Fort Wayne, IN.
A son-in-law, Patrick J. Sawyer preceded in death on July 21, 2008 and a grandson, Carston Kownack preceded on August 1, 2008.
A Memorial Mass will be held at 10:30 a.m. Monday, November 2, 2009 at Little Flower Catholic Church, 54191 N. Ironwood Drive, South Bend. Friends may visit with the family at a memorial gathering on Sunday, November 1 from 2:00 - 4:00 pm at the church.
Contributions in memory of Dr. Fink may be given to the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation, 383 Main Avenue, 5th Floor, Norwalk, CT06851, The Center for Hospice and Palliative Care, Inc., 111 Sunnybrook Court, South Bend, IN46637, or to Little Flower Catholic Church.
Palmer Funeral Home - Hickey Chapel, 17131 Cleveland Road, South Bend is assisting the family with arrangements. Online condolences may be offered to the family at www.palmerfuneralhomes.com.
I didn't know Jim's married family because I was not in S.Bend when they were but I knew Jim and had a great respect for his unusual personality and awareness of life, people and God. I am always proud to know and remember ordianry folk from "dingy ole Huntington Indiana" who somehow manage to bring hope and joy and love far beyond its boundaries. Jim was such a one. Thank God for him and for all us good ole Huntington-ites!
I will carry you and the family to the Altar tomorrow. God bless.
Fr. Pat McNulty
Denny and Barb Norkus
Margie and Family...you are very much in our prayers... Denny and Barb
Ellyn Stecker and Peter Smith
We are deeply sorry to hear of Jim's death and send our regards to Margie and all the family. Sincerely
Please accept the prayers and sympathy of the Borkowski family during your time of loss.