Patti and family, my heart goes out to you. I am praying for you all. Janice H.
Although Humberto was quite succinct in his writing style, his life deserves an eloquent homage
Humberto Antonio Rodriguez died the evening of August 14th, 2013, 11 months after being diagnosed with with metastatic pancreatic cancer. He spent the days leading up to his death at home surrounded by family and friends dreaming about chocolate cake, a chicken thigh with rice and beans, Tandoori chicken, and French food.
Of the many things he will be remembered for is his practical approach to life. We will all miss having our own personal life consultant on call to help us navigate our respective journeys. Among his best advice is the “middle of the road” approach, never buying the cheapest or most expensive product on the market.
Humberto was a man who liked routines and procedures. Each day (or night shift when he was scheduled) started with a shower and then coffee, sometimes with honey, always heating the mug first to slow the cooling process. Some might joke that Humberto didn’t like to get his hands dirty with yardwork or landscaping, but he did master the art of loading the dishwasher. If only we tasted more of his purported specialties in the kitchen. “I make the best Dominican egg foo young,” he exclaimed. None of us have tried said dish, or the homemade bread, lasagna, or other specialties he had (and kept) up his sleeve. He ate with gusto and loved red wine and a glass of Port to finish a meal, one of the things he stated he missed the most over the past few months.
We will miss his contagious laugh (what I would give to hear it one more time!) and the way his mispronounced sky(s)craper, ent(h)usiastic, and mini-series.
He was his own person who walked to the beat of his own drum, likely to the rhythm of a Grateful Dead song. He did the right thing because it was the right thing, his own moral compass his most trusted guide. The compass directed him to the United States from the Dominican Republic at 10 years old. There he found the New York City Library and read his way through it. After his brothers and public school teachers realized his affinity for knowledge and gift for learning, he had the opportunity to study at Groton, an all-boys boarding school in Connecticut. From that point on, Humberto surrounded himself with people he could learn from and who would teach him life’s most important lessons. He graduated from The University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Medical School. He completed his residency at the Medical College of Wisconsin and specialized in Internal Medicine before practicing in Emergency Medicine.
As a physician and as a human being, he easily engaged with people. He was tactfully direct and confidently gave his opinion. I can hear him saying, “Yeah, that’s definitely the way to go,” or “No way, you don’t want to do that!” He was a unique combination of a Harvard educated book worm and street smart, having hitchhiked across the U.S. following his favorite group, the Grateful Dead, from which he acquired an impressive collection of tye-dye t-shirts. Always open minded, rarely judgemenal, Humberto was the type of human being I aspire to be. In the few days that have passed since his death, there have been countless moments I wish he we still sharing with me.