By Joan Giangrasse Kates
Dr. Endel Sepp, a retired physician and past president of the medical staff at Elmhurst Memorial Hospital, left his homeland of Estonia and came to America in the early 1950s.
The longtime general practitioner cared for thousands of patients, from babies to great-grandparents.
"He treated three generations of patients, all within the same family," said his wife of 63 years, Ina.
Dr. Sepp, 88, formerly of Elmhurst, died of congestive heart failure Monday, June 22, at Windsor Park Manor in Carol Stream.
"Endel was one of the most caring and conscientious doctors on our staff," said retired surgeon and former colleague Dr. Arthur LeBeau, an emeritus member of the board of governors at Elmhurst Memorial Hospital. "He had the respect and admiration of his patients and of all of us who had the great pleasure of working with him."
Born and raised in Tartu, Estonia, Dr. Sepp began his medical training there, but fled to Germany after his country was invaded by Russia during World War II. He met his wife in a refugee camp in Hof, Germany, and they were married there in 1946.
After receiving his medical degree at a university in Dusseldorf, Germany, Dr. Sepp immigrated with his wife to the United States and settled in New Jersey, where he worked in a tuberculosis clinic for more than a year.
"It was a difficult time for us, because we were on our own with both our families back in Estonia," his wife said.
In 1953, Dr. Sepp and his wife moved to Elmhurst after he was accepted as an intern at Elmhurst Memorial. A few years later, he opened an office on North Avenue in the western suburb. His old-fashioned approach to the practice of medicine and caring bedside manner endeared him to patients of all ages.
"He received calls from patients at all hours of the day," his wife said. "He worked long hours and thought nothing of making house calls."
During the 1970s, Dr. Sepp served two terms as president of the medical staff at Elmhurst Memorial and later served as chairman of the hospital's bylaws committee. He was also the recipient of the Distinguished Service Award, former colleagues said.
"Endel put his patients first and they loved and admired him for that," said former colleague Dr. Ronald Cheff, a member of the staff at Elmhurst Memorial.
There are no other immediate survivors.
Lying in state will begin at 10 a.m. Saturday followed by services at 11:30 a.m. in Redeemer Lutheran Church, 345 S. Kenilworth Ave., Elmhurst.