Class Notes: Keeping You Connected

Wednesday, April 1, 2015
April 2015
Joel Kunkel, MD, Class of 1972

Life has been good to the Kunkels. We were married in 1964 in Arizona and returned to Tucson in 2014 to celebrate our 50th wedding anniversary. I’m retired from the Emergency Department, after 32 years, but still work eight hours a week at Med Now PC, a walk-in clinic (aka Doc in the Box). Our four children all live nearby and we have six granddaughters. Our big news this year is that our oldest granddaughter, Emily, 17, was accepted to the US Naval Academy. We would like very much for any former classmates to come for a visit in Connecticut. Our best to all.


Arthur Piccinatti, MD, class of 1972
Arthur Piccinatti, MD, Class of 1972

I’ve been retired for 10 years, having sold my last business in 2004. My wife, Peggy Kirch, and I live in my dream house in Paradise Valley, Arizona. Peggy and I have been married 15 years, and she is the best thing that could have happened to me. My two daughters live 10 minutes away. Lindsay, a full-time mom, has a wonderful husband and 4 girls, who are the light of my life. Stacey is a great nurse-educator-innovator and is getting married February 15 here in town, and her husband-to-be is any father’s wish for his daughter. I spend my time with the girls, on photography (landscape, processing, etc.), astrophotography when I can, horse-riding, owning a place near Flagstaff bordering National Forest, in Canada at Peggy’s family place on the French River, and traveling a little. We are in good health mostly, although age . . . well, age. “It’s incremental,” an 85-year-old told me as we were preparing for a five-hour horse ride to celebrate his birthday, and that’s so true. We are thankful for good friends and would always welcome visits, calls, Facebook posts or texts from classmates.  My phone is 602-751-1122. Our best wishes to all for good health and happiness.

David Thomas, MD, class of 1972, with wife GailDavid Thomas, MD, Class of 1972

I graduated from the UA College of Medicine in 1972 and then went on to become a general surgeon in Tulsa. I have been married for 44 years to my lovely wife, Gail, and we have two children and five grandchildren. I recently retired from my position as chief medical officer and Epic lead physician this December. We are still in Tulsa and looking to do more traveling this year. 



Robert Beauchamp, MD, class of 1973, before and after retirementRobert Beauchamp, MD, Class of 1973

I will be retiring soon from my role as Senior Market Medical Director, Desert Mountain States, with UnitedHealthcare. I am pleased to have Dr. Tom Biuso replacing me. I am ready to rewire for Act III.

Becky Gill, MD, Class of 1973

On Oct 1, 2001 I retired from the Navy after 28 and a half years as a Navy doctor. I now live in Bronson, FL, and am involved in our local community theater, and serve on the board of our local rape crisis and battered women's shelter. 

Patrick Connell, MD, FACEP, Class of 1974

I am currently working in Central America, trying to get a consortium of European bankers to part with $55 million dollars to build a hospital to first-world standards in a very underserved area. Our current hospital has no running water, no meds, no gloves, etc. Patients or their families have to buy any meds or supplies they need and bring them in. And you all are having issues with ACA and EMR's! 

We are getting close to a funding decision. E-mail today suggests positive things coming!

I also still work in the ED at Maricopa Medical Center. I’m not ready to give up the skill set I spent 40 years working on. It is a privilege to be able to teach residents and students. I enjoy practice more now than ever!

Took my EM Boards for the fourth (and last) time and passed! Amazing!

Mark (Mike) Lessner, MD, Class of 1975A

After 20 years as a family physician, I returned in 2013 to my first love, pediatrics. I am now working with an underserved, mostly Spanish-speaking population in the California central valley. I still enjoy practicing medicine and caring for children. My wife of 27 years and I now have four adult children (his, hers and ours) and four grandchildren, most of whom live nearby and visit us regularly. When we have time we enjoy gardening, good music, travel and good food. I rarely get back to Tucson, my birthplace, even though I do love the desert and miss my old friends.

Glenn Lippman, MD, class of 1979Glenn Lippman, MD, Class of 1979

It is good being home in Tucson again. My wife, Nancy, and I made the move back from Austin in October 2014 to be closer to family. I am enjoying my work as a medical director with UnitedHealthcare and also recently started providing medical consultations to Vertess Advisors, a group that specializes in health-care mergers and acquisitions.
Sorry I missed the reunion; I would have loved to show off pictures of my four grandkids!



Harry Calvino, MD, class of 1981, in fighter jetHarry Calvino, MD, Class of 1981

I’m still practicing Locums ER medicine in Colorado, Wyoming and Nebraska. I’m back to fighter pilot instructing in L-39 ,T-33 and Mig jets (much more fun than medicine.) Probably downsizing the house this year as my 26 year old finishes a degree at Colorado State University. And I plan to give another try in handball at World’s in Alberta in August.



Jan Spencer, MD, class of 1987Jan Spencer, MD, Class of 1987

Hi, All! I'm working as the medical director of the Santa Rosa Hospice with Sutter Health in northern California. Work interferes with my volunteer activities, which include the Bird Rescue Center and the Sonoma County Bicycle Coalition, and with my passion for long-distance cycling. In 2012 I rode 600 miles around Lake Ontario, my favorite long ride. I aim for 2000-3000 miles a year, and am still cycling after an MVA in Australia in August led to a total hip replacement.

Thomas Howell, MD, Class of 1987

I’m working as an Ob-Gyn in Faribault, MN. In June 2013, I was named medical director for patient experience for Mayo Clinic Health System, the community practice division of The Mayo Clinic. The five Howell children now range in age from 15 to 29. One is a third-year medical student at the University of Minnesota; one just graduated from Notre Dame and is working at EPIC; one is in college at North Dakota State and another at Butler University; and the youngest is a freshman in high school. I’m still braving the cold due to the good job but looking at figuring out how to split winter with Arizona.

Photo from the lanai of Dexter Hayes, MD, class of 1980Dexter Hayes, MD, Class of 1990

Aloha from the Big Island!

I moved to a rural part of the Big Island of Hawaii shortly after my 20-year reunion, over 4 years ago, and I am so happy I did!

I am "the" doctor at the one clinic in town in Pahala, in the district of Ka'u. I work with a nurse practitioner and a great staff. There is also a tiny critical access hospital, which does mostly long-term care, attached to a small ER.

It is such a small town that the bank closes at lunch and sometimes the little store closes just because. And everybody is related to everyone else. It's a great old plantation town filled with wonderful people.

I have made it through Hurricanes Iselle and Ana this year and am avoiding the lava flow. Interesting weather issues here. And things rust like crazy. I spend time diving in Kona about once a month. Walmart and Safeway are both a 90-minute drive one way.

I have had some great adventures. Last year, my Mom and I traveled to the Holy Land. The year before that I went to Rwanda to meet a child I am sponsoring through Compassion.

My daughter Danna graduated from NAU in May and is working as a special education teacher in Winslow, and Mom is still in Cottonwood.

Life is awesome. I won't make it to the reunion this fall, though I will blow kisses as I drive past on my way to Mexico for a week on a boat, diving with sea lions, hammerheads, and whale sharks.

Let me know what you are up to!

(I am attaching a photo from my lanai... so peaceful.)

J.R. Reid, MD, MBA, Class of 1992

After graduating in 1992, I did my emergency medicine residency at Christ Hospital on the south side of Chicago. I got stuck in the Midwest for over a decade and I am now the ED medical director for Holy Cross Hospital in Nogales.

Li Schmidt, MD, class of 1998, singing at the graduation ceremony of the Arizona School of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine

Li Schmidt, MD

Class of 1998

Still married to the same man and trying to survive my almost 17-year-old son's growing trend. Hoping things will be more predictable with the 13-year-old son.

I’m balancing music and medicine; see for more details. I was singing “Barefoot Doctors Are Like Sunflowers” at the Graduation Ceremony of Arizona School of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine on Aug. 31, 2014. 

One of my life goals is to incorporate singing into medicine – to sing with people, or to them, or get them to sing for their health.  

Philippa Newell, MD, class of 2003, holding son Rocky at her wedding to Cory Johnston, MDPhilippa Newell, MD, Class of 2003

I had a baby and got married last year! My husband is Cory Johnston, MD, a liver and pancreas surgeon, and our son is Rocky, born on May 12. After getting my MD, I did my residency at Mount Sinai in New York. I’m now medical director of the liver cancer program at Providence Cancer Center in Portland, OR, and a hepatobiliary surgeon at the Oregon Clinic.



Jared Younger, MD, class of 2003Jared Younger, MD, Class of 2003

I maintain a very busy eye surgery practice in California, and I’m the only eye care professional who travels (sometimes by helicopter) to Catalina Island to see patients and help under-served diabetics. DISCOVER YOUNGER VISION® is my trademarked brand that coins a philosophy for eye care, with the goal of assisting every patient with their vision.

Kara Block, MD, Class of 2012

I just wanted to pass along the update that I will be finishing my pediatrics residency at Yale – New Haven Hospital in July, and just had a baby girl—Ava—in December! 

Last modified date: January 9, 2017 - 2:20pm