Joseph Brozda

Obituary of Joseph Clemens Brozda

Dr. Joseph Clemens Brozda Santa Cruz, California 1925-2010 Much to the joy of his parents, Joe Junior became a physician in 1953. Born in Duquesne, Pennsylvania, October 17, 1925, Joe was the only son of Polish and Latvian immigrants Joseph and Bernice Brozda of East Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. As a young boy he worked in his father's pharmacy on Howard Street where he helped prepare prescriptions, serve fountain drinks and re-stock the large glass-fronted candy case. His lifelong love of music started early with the study of violin. Joe graduated from St. Thomas High School in Braddock, Pennsylvania, the University of Pittsburgh, and Loyola Stritch School of Medicine in Chicago. He was a member of Phi Beta Pi fraternity. From 1946 through 1949 he served in the Army Signal Corps on Guam and Saipan, receiving an honorable discharge as a lieutenant. Returning home from the South Pacific, he sailed beneath the Golden Gate Bridge, not knowing that one day he would return to settle in California. Joe did his internship and five-year surgical residency at Cook County Hospital in Chicago. As a member of the prestigious Karl Meyer Surgical Society he worked directly under the tutelage of the great senior surgeon. On a blind date, Joe met Helen "Poppy" Popovich; they married in 1953 at St. Colman's Catholic Church in Turtle Creek, Pennsylvania. They had six children: Michael, Christopher (deceased), Amie, Lisa, Tina, Eric and one grandchild, Kimberly. In 1959, the family moved to California where Dr. Brozda opened a private practice in San Jose. He was a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons, a Diplomate of the American Board of Surgery, and a member of the International Burn Society. Dr. Brozda was in private practice in San Jose from 1959 through 1989. Together with colleague Dr. Lawrence Stern, he innovated many surgical techniques, especially in the treatment of severe burns and trauma. One of his major contributions to the surgical profession in the nascent Silicon Valley was to found the Santa Clara County Surgical Society, and serve, until 1977, as its first president. He had a strong belief in creating an all-inclusive forum for surgeons to exchange ideas to learn from one another. He was on staff at Stanford University Hospital Surgical Department, as well as San Jose, Good Samaritan, O'Connor, and Santa Teresa Hospitals. Joe received hundreds of letters of thanks from grateful patients. A highlight of his career was a life-saving mastectomy performed forty years ago. Every June since that operation, Joe received a letter of thanks from Angie, the grateful patient. Joe was such an avid chess player that his family sometimes teased him that his middle initial "C" stood for "chess" instead of "Clemens." He achieved a master's level chess player ranking of 1600. Joe was a passionate reader, and loved opera, classical music and theatre. As an avid golfer, skier, swimmer, SCUBA diver and instrument-rated private pilot, Joe shared his enthusiasm for life with his children and their friends. A kind, gentle, unassuming man, Dr. Brozda was never happier than when he was seeing patients. It was his heart that gave up, but it was with his heart that he treated and cared for his family, patients and friends. Amen.
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