Dr. Richard Salk
1925 - 2020
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Dr. Richard Salk

Albany - Dr. Richard (Doc) Salk passed from this life on Friday, November 13th, 2020 at the age of 95 after a short battle with COVID-19. He was born in Sauk Rapids, Minnesota on February 16th, 1925 to Edward and Mary (Roos) Salk. On September 8th, 1947, he married his high school sweetheart, Jean Zachman. He was a brilliant man, completing high school in Sauk Rapids early. He immediately attended summer classes at St. John's University, at the age of 17, before enlisting in the US Navy during WW2. The Navy assigned him to finish his undergraduate degree at John Carroll University in Cleveland, Ohio before he moved on to the University of Minnesota Medical School. He graduated as a fully licensed medical doctor at the tender age of 23. After receiving his Residency Training at Ancker Hospital in St. Paul, he began his first private Medical practice in Herman, Minnesota as a young Physician & Surgeon. During the Korean War, he served in the US Air Force in Cheyenne, Wyoming, before finally settling his family in Albany, in 1954, at which time he joined in the medical practice of Dr. Florian Baumgartner, another prominent healthcare figure in Albany's history. He had a higher level of regard for his patients than most anything else in his life. It was common for him to see patients 7 days a week. He would see his patients in the Nursing Home and Hospital in the morning, then see patients all day at the Medical Center. Then, in the evening, he would return to see his patients at the Nursing Home and Hospital. On Sundays, he would see patients after 11:00 mass until the waiting room was empty. He also made house calls regularly for patients whose health confined them to their home, as well as seeing patients at his office in the family home. He delivered over 3,000 babies in his career, and by his own account, there was not an ugly one in the bunch! He was also very active in the community, working with other community leaders on projects such as the Mother of Mercy Nursing Home, and the construction of the Albany Medical Center and Albany Community Hospital. He served for decades on the Board of Directors for these facilities, and also on the Albany School Board and Seven Dolors Parish Council, as well as being a member of the Albany Fire Department. He was also a member of the Knights of Columbus, the American Legion, and the Albany Lions Club, and also directed the Men's Choir at Church. He was a proud pillar in the Albany community. He always loved and respected the families that he served. He loved to have a drink or two after work with other folks in town. He could tell jokes for hours, and wherever he went, he was greeted with, "Doc, I heard a great joke. Do you have a minute?" Even with the chaotic schedule he kept, he found time to raise a family of 12 children, with the help of his wife, Jean. Although he wasn't home too much, he was always supportive, offering great advice and wisdom. He was a quiet leader in the home, never raising his voice. His discipline was always calm, fair and measured. He instilled in his children a sense of compassion for all others, regardless of their lot in life, and he taught the Golden Rule by example through his daily actions. And, it was impossible to miss the example of an unparalleled work ethic and dedication to helping others, and always in a way that would preserve human dignity. In recent weeks and months, many of Doc's patients have shared previously untold stories of his quiet charity to others who were less fortunate. He always considered charity to be one of the most noble human qualities, and he preferred to perform these acts very quietly. He was respected by his peers, with one close Associate saying that he had never known another doctor as knowledgeable and compassionate as Doc, always fighting for those less fortunate. Doc had a God given passion for the Science of Medicine, and for helping others. Hence, he claimed he never worked a day in his life. He retired in 1998, after 51 years practicing his trade. At his retirement party, he said he did not want to be remembered as a doctor, but rather, he wanted to be remembered as a really good friend. Today, we celebrate the life of a great father and skilled doctor. But most importantly, we celebrate the life of a really good friend. It is impossible to compose this tribute without acknowledging the superb care Doc received at the Mother of Mercy Nursing Home. Ironically, many of his caregivers were delivered by Doc, and received medical care from him throughout the years. The care at Mother of Mercy was always fantastic, but especially in his final days and hours, when he was treated with impeccable compassion, dignity and love. This care was commensurate, in every way, with the care Doc provided to his patients through the years. Additionally, thanks to Dr. Nate Brever for the excellent care that he provided. Dr. Salk is survived by 11 of his 12 children, James (Mary) Salk, Cheryl Ellingson, Corrine (Rob) Jacobs, Roberta (Jim) Talley, Janet Salk (Tom Baumgartner), Mary K (Joe) Scott, Michael (Lisa) Salk, William Salk, Lisa (Russ) Ripka, Greg (Brenda) Salk, Susan (Keith) Severson, as well as 26 grandchildren, and 24 great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his wife Jean, his parents, his brother Ed (Bud), and son Steven. A public visitation, funeral mass, and internment will be planned at a future date, after the pandemic eases.

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Published in St. Cloud Times from Nov. 16 to Nov. 17, 2020.
No memorial events are currently scheduled. To offer your sympathy during this difficult time, you can now have memorial trees planted in a National Forest in memory of your loved one.
Memories & Condolences
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12 entries
November 30, 2020
Just heard of Dr. Salk's passing through the lovely story on MPR with Greg this morning. What a beautiful man, life and legacy of care, compassion and humour. My mom, Dorothy Welle, was his first cousin through her mother (his aunt?), also Mary Roos (Janson), from New Munich. Through that connection, I got to know Janet when we were kids, visited your large and lively home, and remember your dad well.

May he rest in peace and may his memory be a blessing.
Karen Welle
November 19, 2020
My sincere condolences to all the family members. What beautiful memories and a wonderful tribute to a great human being. That so many had the honor to call him “Doc”. Many of my memories revolve around seeing Doc. at the office in your home. He will live on through many and the stories we share about him. Love and prayers
Rose Wedel Strokes
November 19, 2020
When I came to Albany as the “new Doc”, Dick was very kind to me, allowing me to get settled and learn me skills and helping me as needed. He will be missed, but perhaps he will help guide me as I continue doing the work of Medicine.
Darron Gersch, MD,FAAFP
November 18, 2020
Our family really enjoy going to him when we were sick, he was a very special kind man. The Immerfall family. I went to school with Jim. Onie Tourand Immerfall from Avon and Az.
Onie Tourand
November 17, 2020
What an awesome tribute to a wonderful man and great Dr. Always so enjoyed his caring for others and his awesome smile. So happy we were able to get to know him thru his granddaughter Tina (our daughter in law) who was inspired by him to become an RN and follow in the profession of healthcare!
Mary Spanier
November 17, 2020
To all the Salks! I’m so sorry for the loss of your of your dad, grandpa, friend. I will remember him as well as all of you in my prayers! God Bless all of you!
Patti( Hofmann) Doran
Patti Doran
November 17, 2020
My sincere condolences to the entire family. I was a frequent patient and remember Dr Salk as a very kind and caring person. I consider myself lucky to have known him.
Mark Wolters
November 17, 2020
My sympathy to all my Salk cousins and their families on the loss of your Dad. I have some very fond memories of my funny Uncle Dick. What a wonderful legacy you have left behind. I can picture you and Aunt Jean laughing and having a party in Heaven. ❤
Gail Zachman
November 17, 2020
Thoughts and prayers to the family as they grieve the loss a genuinely wonderful person. His legacy lives on in his children who share in their parent's sense of community, kindness and zest for life.
Thank you for your service to humanity. May you rest peacefully in the arms of our Lord. Laurie Fuchs Vieths
Laurie Vieths
November 17, 2020
This bring tears to my eyes. Dr. Salk clearly left an imprint on this earth that will not be forgotten.
To your family:
Your dad was always one of my favorites to say hello to when I visited my mom, Estelle.
A beautiful life, and an amazingly written tribute to Dr Salk.
Thank you for sharing
Connie Larson ( Schwinghammer)
Connie Larson
November 17, 2020
What a beautiful tribute to this amazing man who touched so many people with his gifts of healing, caring, and humor. He’s a treasure.
Lynn Johnson
November 17, 2020
RIP Uncle Dick
Gary, Barb, Erin (Brian) , & Steven (Lana) Zachman
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