Dr. John D. Hagen, 94

Published 8:49 am Monday, August 13, 2018

Dr. John D. Hagen, 94

Dr. John D. Hagen, age 94, former long-time Austin, Minnesota resident, more recently of Rochester, Minnesota died on Aug. 3, 2018, surrounded by his family.

Known for his high ideals, humility and personal warmth as well as his intelligence, kindness and sense of humor, John touched many hearts in the course of his life.  He was a man of strong faith and believed that God is a God of love.

His interests were broad and he was ever alert for and receptive to new ideas. He loved music, art, poetry and history in equal measure. He was known for his ability to recite hundreds of passages of poetry and historic quotations from memory, each suited to the topic under discussion, or the mood of the moment.

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He sought out music of all kinds whether it was Handel’s Messiah, Ravi Shankar on the Sitar, playing his recorder, or singing in the Charter House Choir until he no longer had the breath to sing. But perhaps his favorite form of music, always with him, always brightening the space around him, was his ability to whistle — virtually anything, impeccably rendering lengthy classical pieces as he walked through the clinic, down the street, or around the house.

John was born to Elmer and Sally Dahl Hagen in the tiny border town of Wales, North Dakota, on Feb 23, 1924.  His father died when John was eight, but not before giving him a parting blessing in which he found solace all of his life.

With his mother and grandmother he moved to Austin for a time and then to Minneapolis where he graduated from West High School.

He joined the Navy, volunteered to be a medical corpsman, but was found on placement testing to be more suited to Medicine.  He attended Denison University on the G.I. Bill, and went on to medical school at the University of Minnesota. There he met his future wife, Joan Kunny.  They were married Sept. 20, 1948.

He completed his residency in Internal Medicine, and was transferred to the Army as a Captain at Fort Sill in Oklahoma. After completion of service and with an ever growing family, he and Joan moved to Austin in 1955 where he joined the Austin Clinic.

Beloved by patients for his warmth and empathy, John practiced Internal Medicine at the Austin Clinic and St. Olaf Hospital for 38 years. With an ever-active mind, a love of innovation, and a strong desire to contribute to the town, he enthusiastically worked with colleagues to bring the latest cardiology services to Austin, including the intensive care unit at St. Olaf Hospital. He was the first physician from rural Minnesota to be honored with the American College of Physicians’ Laureate Award, and recognition as a master clinician.

Despite 80 hour work weeks, and because of Joan, he always kept family as a priority.  Together they raised seven children, confident in, and supportive of, the outstanding school system in Austin. They put great energy into enriching the lives of their children through vacations to the National Parks, trips to the opera, Minnesota Symphony concerts, art museums, weekend hikes and maybe most of all by instilling a love of reading in each of them.

In 2011 John and Joan moved to Charter House, in Rochester, where they were happy and had family nearby.

He is survived by his wife Joan, by his children John Jr., Joel (Susan), Gregory (Therese), Bradley (Linda Niehaus), Philip (Missy), Andrea Gates (Eric) and Judith Derauf (Bruce), by grandchildren Mikaela, Kirsten, Jesse, Christopher, Micah, Nikolas, Kiona, Kenneth, Kyra, Ian, and Torstein, and by a great-grandson, Harrison.

A memorial service will be at St. Olaf Church in Austin at 11 a.m. on Monday, Aug. 20, 2018, with a lunch to follow. In lieu of flowers the family suggests memorials to Doctors Without Borders.