LAST, Cornelius (Neil) Adrian Jr.`
Cornelius (Neil) Adrian Last Jr., 90, passed away peacefully Thursday, September 26th at his home in Banning, California after a long illness.
Born and raised in New Jersey, where he grew up in the town of Clifton.
Neil attended Hahnemann Medical College where he graduated in 1947.
In 1948, Neil left the east coast for Southern California. While living in Pasadena with family, Neil met his future wife Elsie in November 1950. It was April 1951 when they finally tied the knot. This unbreakable bond resulted in 62 years of marriage.
Neil began his practice associated with a surgeon, Dr. Vern Hauser. Shortly thereafter, this having been during the Korean War, he was recalled as reciprocity to the Army. Both Neil and his new bride, Elsie moved to an army post about 90 miles south of Fairbanks, Alaska. Called the Big Delta then, it is now known as Fort Greely. They lived for two years in a small trailer where Neil was responsible for a 10 bed dispensary. Neil was discharged from the Army in 1953 with the rank of Captain.
Having had his practice interrupted, Neil and Elsie then moved to San Francisco where he took up a residency in his true field of choice, Obstetrics and Gynecology.
Three years later upon completion of his residency, Neil and Elsie returned to Southern California and family from both sides.
In July 1956, Neil opened the doors to his own practice in Pasadena, CA. He worked long hours. The practice grew necessitating additional coverage. He purchased a small medical office building and formed a partnership and longtime friendship with Dr. Ed Parker.
With his partner retiring in 1969, Neil made the decision to join a medical practice comprised of three other physicians. This decision resulted in his final move to the medical building at 612 Duarte Road in Arcadia.
Neil was affiliated with several hospitals in the San Gabriel Valley including Santa Teresita, St. Luke's, Huntington Memorial and Arcadia Methodist where for a period of time he was also Chairman of the OB/GYN Department.
In March 1977, Neil retired from practice to take up avocado farming. It was something that he picked up and loved to do as a result of his close friendship with his father-in law, Tom Ratkovich.
Over the years many patients stayed in touch with Neil, long after he gave up his successful medical practice. His bedside manner was without question. He had a way that put his patients at ease in what was not always a comfortable situation. It was these mannerisms that allowed Neil to have a very successful practice.
Neil was a compassionate man who was devoted to his family. He liked to play pinochle, gin rummy and was a fan of the Los Angeles Rams, San Francisco Giants and the San Diego Padres. But he loved to go fishing and play the horses, especially at Del Mar.
He leaves his wife of 62 years, Elsie (Ratkovich) Last; his son, Dale Last and his wife, Cleo; his granddaughters, Athena and Breana; his sister, Doris Tillman and her husband, Don; his sister Betty Flynn and her husband, Dick; nieces, nephews and many close friends. He is preceded into the afterlife by his brother Ronald Last.
As a husband, a father and a friend, he was loved by many and will be greatly missed.
Funeral services will be held at 10:00 AM Tuesday, October 8th at Saint
Kateri Tekakwitha Catholic Church, 1234 Palm Avenue, Beaumont, CA. Burial will follow at Riverside National Cemetery at 12:15 PM. A "Celebration of Life" will be held after the burial at the South Club House of Sun Lakes Country Club located at 5925 Myrtle Beach, Banning, CA.
Published in Pasadena Star-News from Oct. 3 to Oct. 4, 2013