Bernard H. Cobetto, M.D. 100 of Greensburg, Pennsylvania, passed away on Friday, September 9, 2022.
This was written in 2021 by Dr. Cobetto, anticipating the inevitable.
After reading the obit column in the newspaper for years, checking to see if my name was there, I decided to write my own obituary. I assume I died of natural causes otherwise my name would be in another part of the paper.
I was 100 years (and 11 months) of age at time of death. I lived a lot longer than I thought I was going to. All my grandparents came from, as they used to say, the 'old country.' I think the immigrants from that time had a lot of courage. They brought a work ethic and rules for living that were passed on to me by mother, Edna and father, Anthony (aka Tony) Cobetto and through us to our children.
I went to Pitcairn High School and graduated in 1938 at age 16 during the Great Depression. Finally got a job in a furniture warehouse. My pay was $16 for a 6-day week, 8-hour day. $16 divided by 48 hours = 33cents/hour. No benefits. I developed bilateral hernias which were repaired. This made me think: move on. I have to thank the town physician, Dr. Backus, and especially a black co-worker named Jock Turner who said, "What's a white boy like you doing here? Go to school." Jock was persistent. So three years after high school I went to Pitt in Oakland and at $10 a credit it was quite a deal. I lived at home and traveled to Pitt by train. I owe Jock Turner a lot.
My dad had a nickel pinball machine in his store that every 3 months brought in about 150 dollars, which he saved for me. It was just enough to pay for my $10 credits--college on a pinball machine.
I had an uncle, Harry Shoff, who was in Pitt Medical School in 1913. He played quarterback on the Pitt Football team and died from a football injury. He was the first to go to college from his generation and I was from mine. Going back to school wasn't easy, in fact the opposite. However, as I have said before, "I never worked harder or had more fun than I did in Med School." There is a joy in learning.
I decided not to get married until I became an M.D. Couldn't afford it. I met a beautiful student nurse named Ellen Jean, from Republic, PA, while I was an intern and then everything changed. We married in 1950. While young love brought us a family, resulting in Bernie, Gregory, Eileen, Lissa, Jeanne, and Christopher in that order...one of the advantages is that you end up with a bunch of grandchildren: nine girls and three boys. Loved our family. Time has produced grandsons-in-law and 15 great-grandchildren, so far.
I spent much time in the army during World War II. Not liking mud, tents, etc., I joined the Navy (I liked the uniforms better). Spent five years in the Navy that included a tour to Korea as medical officer of a Destroyer division; also spent time at Quantico Marine Base. Never got around to the Air Force although liking airplanes since a kid, I got a private pilot's license. Flying was fun.
I went around the world twice. Once on a Navy Destroyer, and flew around once with Ellen Jean. I think that when I was small, going to Pittsburgh was a trip. We did a fair amount of traveling with and without children when possible.
I retired from the Jeannette District Memorial Hospital as Director of the Radiology Department at age 65. I thought that I would not live too long as males on either side of the family died around 65. This proves a point, get your genes from the older parent. In my case my mother. My dad, Anthony was 65 and mom, Edna went to 93. My sister, June Ziff is 15 months older than me and said she would outlive me. Update she passed away at 90. Females usually outlive us poor males. I wonder why??
My professional life started with a BS and MD Degree from University of Pittsburgh. Went into General Practice with Dr. Backus in Pitcairn, PA. He was a great doctor and instrumental in my interest in medicine. Good or bad. He had an x-ray machine and a seed of interest was planted which ended up with his advice to seek training in radiology. I belonged to most of the national, state, and local medical organizations and diplomat of the American Board of Radiology. Those are the things that hang on the walls in all the doctor's offices. It might interest you to know that with Dr. Backus we charged $3.00 for an office visit and we even gave out pills.
I don't know if you can miss anything after you leave this world but if you can I will miss family, friends, and Wednesday morning breakfast with the RODEO Club (Retired Old Doctors Eating Out). There were about 12 of us. We solved many world problems and also tried to figure out what the hell happened to the great practice of medicine. Has it become a business?? IT HAS.
Well it’s been one great life. From the outhouse to the Moon, the internet, and on. What a span of history to live through. I hope you young people don't let our great country go to hell. I have a feeling freedom is harder to keep once you get it, and you got it.
By the time you read this I should have been cremated. It’s my last chance to get even with my body for these old age ailments. Aches, pains, itches, hair loss, etc. Let ‘em burn - I'll have the last laugh.
This is my ninth draft of my obit. I reserve the right to make changes if and when time permits - until then, make this do. Still relatively sound mind and ---- body?
Bernard H. Cobetto MD AKA Ellen Jean's husband.
P.S. If you want to send flowers, DON'T. If you feel you want to spend money, send it to TriCity Meals on Wheels or University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg for the 'Cobetto Lecture Series'. They are tax deductible.
"I'll thank you and be watching."
A visitation for Dr. Cobetto and his wife, Ellen Jean will be held on Sunday, September 25th from 1 to 4pm at the KEPPLE-GRAFT Funeral Home 524 N. Main Street, Greensburg. For online condolences and information, please visit www.kepplegraft.com.