Dr. Michael Stephen Garrity

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Dr. Michael Stephen Garrity, “Dr. Mike,” 86, a lifelong resident of Prairie du Chien, died unexpectedly on Dec. 18, 2018 at Gundersen Health System in La Crosse. 

Born Feb .11, 1932, to William and Elizabeth (Cull), he attended Campion Jesuit High School and graduated from Marquette Medical School. He served in the U.S. Air Force in Bangor, Maine, during the Korean War. 

On Aug. 1, 1960, he began his 58-year career in family medicine in Prairie du Chien, at the Farrell Clinic, which later became Gundersen Clinic. He later served as Gundersen Health System’s Chairman of Rural Clinics. Between 1973 and 1978, he worked with the University of Wisconsin-Madison Medical School to create a residency program in Prairie du Chien to enhance patient care. In retirement, he volunteered with World Services to improve healthcare in the Ukraine and for 16 years at St. Clare’s Health Mission until his passing. 

A family physician, Dr. Mike made family wherever he went. Having delivered 1,695 babies in the area, he found joy in delivering the babies of babies he’d delivered years before. A local boy who had returned home to practice, Dr. Mike used to say, “My friends became my patients, and my patients became my friends.”

Dr. Mike’s life was service. He received numerous awards throughout his career, including World Services Legacy Award in 2015. An honor he was most proud of was in Feb 11, 2017, Dr. Michael Garrity Day” in Prairie du Chien. A proud Irishman, Dr. Mike was famous for his storytelling. On Friday nights, he could be found at Jones Black Angus, sipping a Chopin vodka martini on the rocks (a little dirty) from his favorite glass; Mondays he met with some of his best buds at the Marquette Cafe. There were daily visits to Simply Cafe. To run into him was to be assured three things: he’d call you by name, he’d remember your details, and he’d make you laugh. 

Among his other favorite things: winning the “I love you” contest each morning against the love of his life, Mary Ann; the word “magnificent”; and being called “Paga” by his grandchildren, whom he tried to convince he had a pet alligator named Fred.

A lifelong Packer fan, he is survived by his wife of 58 years, Mary Ann (Rohan), children Maureen (Mike) Edwards, Tom (Gina) Garrity, Annie and Bridget; adored grandchildren Molly, Danny, Nick, Caitlyn, Conner, Ceira and Cam and precious nieces and nephews and great nieces and nephews, He was preceded in death by his parents and siblings Bill, Margaret and Bob. 

“Do the best you can, for the most that you can, for as long as you can.” In lieu of flowers, Memorials can be offered in honor of Dr. Mike Garrity to St. Clare’s Health Mission. 

A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 11 a.m. on Friday, Dec. 28, at St. John’s Church of Holy Family Parish, Prairie du Chien. Rev. James Weighner will officiate. Private family burial will take place at a later date. Friends may call on the family Thursday evening at the church from 5 p.m. until 8 p.m. and again at the church one hour prior to the Mass. The online guestbook may be signed at www.schumacher-kish.com. 

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