“Dash of life”

July 1, 2016 marks a celebration of life event of a dear member of the Milwaukee, WI community for many years, William J. Gallen, MD.

Born:  July 4, 1925  – Death:  May 20, 2016  wp-1467118914624.png

As I reflect on the powerful years within these dates, the simple line or dash between these dates provides the most value, focus, and interest to my thoughts.  This dash represents an amazing story of life.  The date of birth and date of death give a timeline reference, but the dash between provides the evidence of a lifetime to all those impacted.  We have a choice to live our lives using the resources bestowed upon us.  With hard work, these resources can collide with opportunities presented along our paths to employ positive change.  Some folks, like Dr. Gallen, have demonstrated in countless ways the ability to provide enormous value to themselves, their families, and those chosen career paths in life.  The legacy left behind is evidenced by this beautifully written article in the local paper shortly after the death Dr. William “Bill” Gallen.

Dr. Gallen was truly a dedicated visionary and leader in the field of Congenital Heart Disease (CHD) for Wisconsin.  He and his champion colleagues were the best and brightest in the growing field  of CHD.  There were many unknowns and yet, they found ways to collaborate, learn, and teach.  Back then, there were no savvy communication technologies that we have today.  Despite this, the pioneering leaders, like Dr. Gallen, challenged the community to find the best quality of care for all those patients and families impacted by the number 1 birth defect~roughly 40,000 births per year in the United States.  Because of their leadership and dedication, we have the many gifts of knowledge to help continue to guide and shape the way we care for CHD today and in the future in Wisconsin, nationally, and internationally.


This photo highlights Dr. Gallen and my brother Greg Romenesko in the early 1980’s.  Dr. Gallen was taking Greg’s blood pressure on his right arm since his left arm was not accurate due to a prior cardiac surgery.  You can see his dedication and compassion for his chosen profession by his strong clinical assessment skills and ability to bring a reassuring smile to a growing and developing young lad like my brother.  I am forever grateful for my brother meeting Dr. Gallen on April 24, 1968 and continued champion care until his retirement in 1991.  His dedication helped shape my brother’s life and future.  Thank you so much for sharing your father and his talents with us.  I will forever be grateful of your compassionate and caring heart.

My brother’s “dash of life” ended last year on May 22, 2015.  Dr. Gallen’s ended this year on May 20, 2016.  I hope and trust that there is continued life after death.  Trusting that they are reunited once again along with the many beautiful angels in heaven.  My deepest heartfelt thoughts and prayers go out to his dear surviving wife, children, and family during this time of grief and loss.  God bless you and family Dr. Gallen.




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