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Dr. Alan Freid

MASON - His take-home pay came in the form of homegrown tomatoes and an occasional jug of moonshine.

Every Monday for more than 20 years, Dr. Alan Freid - after retiring from Veteran's Hospital - hopped in his car and made the 250-mile trip to rural Harlan County, Ky., where he spent four days treating dozens of patients in one of the poorest communities around.

"He loved the work down there and it wasn't for the money," said his son, Josh Freid of Linwood. "He got paid in anything you can imagine. And he did it because the people down there were poor. He did it out of the kindness in his heart. In the end it really kept him going."

Dr. Freid, who shut down his rural practice about 18 months ago, died Monday at Christ Hospital following a brief illness. He was 82.

An immigrant from Poland, Dr. Freid settled in Avondale with his parents and siblings in the early 1930s before Nazism and anti-Semitism took root in his homeland and left his grandparents and cousins dead in the concentration camps.

After graduating from Hughes High School, Dr. Freid put himself through the University of Cincinnati and then medical school at UC by working as a salesman at Getz Jewelers.

For the next 25 years, Dr. Freid practiced medicine at Veteran's Hospital in Cincinnati while he tried off and on to start a private medical practice and raised his family in Symmes Township.

"It didn't work out for him. He tried to work half days at the VA and half days at private practice. It just never was a good fit," Josh Freid said.

But, the opportunity re-emerged after Dr. Freid retired. It came in a special request from his brother-in-law who lived in Harlan County.

The local physician had died or moved away, leaving the community without medical care, Josh Freid recalled.

"He said, 'Come down here. I'll put you up in an apartment for six months. Try it out. If you like it you can stay.' I think he started out seeing five patients a week and inside of six months he was seeing 40 or 50 or 60," Josh Freid said.

So back and forth he traveled every week despite a body that started crumbling as he got up in years.

"He had spinal surgery. He had open heart surgery and a hip replacement. But he kept working," his son said.

He left the practice at age 80 in the wake of worsening health issues.

Other survivors include his wife of 51 years, Patty of Mason; daughters, Rachelle Baruch of Mason, and Stephanie Freid of Tel Aviv; son, Andrew Freid of Oakland, Califhis .; sisters, Esther "Babe" Kutas of Israel, and Paulette Dragul of Denver; and four grandchildren.

Services are 9 a.m. today at Weil Funeral Home, 8350 Cornell Rd., Symmes Township. Burial in Love Brothers Cemetery in Price Hill. Memorial donations may be made to Chabad Jewish Center, 3977 Hunt Rd., Cincinnati, Ohio 45236.

Written by Sheila McLaughlin | smclaughlin@enquirer.com

Published in The Cincinnati Enquirer from Feb. 16 to Feb. 17, 2011
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