CARL L. UNSICKER
Dr. Carl L. Unsicker, 68, of Fairbanks, Alaska passed away suddenly Thursday, May 26, 2011 in Fairbanks Memorial Hospital. He had just returned from his twenty-second trip to Tanzania, East Africa, where he has been doing volunteer medical work for one to three month periods since 2000.
Carl was born July 6, 1942 in Peoria, Illinois to Carl Christian and Ellen Payne Unsicker. He grew up in Morton, Illinois before attending Monmouth College in Monmouth, IL, and the University of Iowa School of Medicine, Iowa City, Iowa. While in the Navy he completed his internship and Orthopedic residency at the US Naval Hospital, Portsmouth, Virginia. He also received an MBA from the University of Phoenix.
His first Orthopedic practice was in Wilmington, North Carolina where he also volunteered as team physician for Laney High School athletics and served on the New Hanover County School Board for ten years. After 15 years by the ocean, love of the mountains and downhill skiing, Carl and his wife, Linda, decided to head west to Park City, Utah, where he practiced in Salt Lake City. Later deciding to make life a real adventure, they moved to Fairbanks, Alaska in 1994. He retired in 1998.
He continued to work as a medical director of a temporary physician-staffing firm in Salt Lake City, Utah, also doing locums himself.
Retirement, by definition, was not really a part of Carl's life style.
Shortly after retirement he and Linda started doing volunteer medical work in South Africa and Tanzania, making several trips a year lasting one to three months. During a trip to Tanzania, working in a regional hospital, he was asked to visit a small hospital in a very rural area.
The need there was so great and neglected that it became his sole focus, giving priority to children's reconstructive surgery, but also doing adults and trauma. When he wasn't there he was collecting shoes to make into braces, which he made for children to use after specific surgeries.
Or he was searching for surgical instruments outdated in this country but much needed in an area which regularly has little or no water or electricity. Carl often quoted the saying, "As one person I cannot change the world, but I can change the world of one person."
When in Fairbanks, Carl volunteered at the local library and also at the cultural and visitors center, both of which he considered to be great gifts to the community.
Carl is survived by and will always live in the heart of his wife, Linda. Together they have the gift of a blended family, daughters Christine Unsicker Delbridge and granddaughter Carly Delbridge of Heber City, Utah, and Suzanne Unsicker McCormick, husband Bill, and grandchildren Jack and Fiona of Portland, Maine, son David Unsicker, and wife Claudia, of Enterprise, Alabama, and step-son Cameron Baird and his wife Becky, with fourth grandchild due soon, of Fairbanks. He has many cousins throughout the Lower 48 and special friends here and around the world.
His wife and all of their children, with spouses, and grandchildren gathered for a private celebration of life in Utah. On a beautiful sunny day they stood on a small mountain, holding hands sharing memories of the man called Love, Dad, Skeet, Carl, and GP (Grandpa). The memories brought many tears but also much laughter remembering how he loved to live life. The following sunny day, they, along with extended family members went to the base of snow covered Mt. Timpanogos. Mt. Timpanogos was where Carl and Linda repeated their 10th anniversary wedding vows many years ago and have since always referred to it as 'our' mountain. Again, a circle was formed by holding hands, as special readings were read and more memories were shared, reminding us all of what a gift he was, and is. Some of his ashes were then spread by family members as a gentle breeze obliged by carrying them over to 'our' mountain.
In his memory, any donations will be forwarded to Sengerema District Designated Hospital, Sengerema, Tanzania. Checks should be made out to Linda Unsicker and mailed to PO Box 10002, Fairbanks, Alaska 99710.
Arrangements were entrusted to Northern Lights Mortuary, Fairbanks, Alaska.
Online condolences at StarNewsOnline.com
Published by Wilmington Star-News on Jun. 14, 2011.