Stanley J. Bezek Jr.

Stanley J. Bezek Jr., MD, of Ely, Minn., and Oro Valley, Ariz., (formerly of Virginia, Minn.), passed away on Dec. 10, 2020, at home, with family by his side after two years of treatment for pancreatic cancer.
He was a goliath in the eyes of those who knew and loved him and his legacy will sustain his memory. Stan, although born in Saint Paul, Minn., on Feb. 22, 1947, was a true Iron Ranger at heart and moved to Virginia’s “South Side” as a baby. He attended Horace Mann Elementary then Roosevelt High School, graduating as co-valedictorian in 1965. After graduating from St. John’s University in three years, he graduated from the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine. He completed his Family Medicine residency at Cleveland Metro General Hospital and the University of Colorado Medical Center. He became board certified in Family Medicine and Emergency Medicine.
In 1974, he married Carrie McDermott of Chagrin Falls, Ohio. He began to chase the infinite quest to balance work and life while practicing in a medically underserved area with the National Health Service Corps in Panguitch, Utah, where his first three children were born. Stan’s true career passion had always been rural family medicine because of the privilege it afforded in caring for that person’s total spectrum of care from birth to death. He honored the challenge and art of medicine. Stan often said he would “try to treat each patient as if he was seeing the face of God’’ in order to energize himself and overcome challenging situations. His charge to give the best care for his patients drove him to be a lifelong learner with a quiet humble spirit and an unyielding work ethic. He had the gift of conversation, seemingly having a font of knowledge on most any topic; Stan was Google before there was Google. But he was just as good of a listener as he was a talker. If you had a query, he may have an interesting article on the topic clipped out and ready to hand you from his home office.
Stan and Carrie decided to raise their growing family in Virginia, Minn., with Stan practicing first at the East Range Clinic in Virginia, then as a tribal physician on the Bois Forte Indian Reservation, and ultimately as an Emergency Medicine doctor in Hibbing for the next 28 years. His duty to his patients was only rivaled by his respect for his nursing colleagues, work partners, hospital support staff, and students. His work team gave him immense joy and lifelong friendships. His medical contributions to the Iron Range community are far reaching. Stan’s days off allowed for raising his family which he called, “One of the greatest joys in my life.” He saw his six kids through church activities, music, sports and academics and into the next generation being a grandparent. He was the great nurturer of talents with his time and devotion. He taught his children and grandchildren compassion, hard work, high morals, and above all, love. He was a master at cornball humor and was known throughout the family and Range wedding circuit for being a unique and spontaneous dancer. He loved his winter sauna after a long day’s work. He would entertain us with a hearty guffaw. He reveled in making organic lasting relationships and worked to nurture them over the years.
Stan’s happy place had always been “the lake” - from Lake Vermilion as a youth to Farm Lake near Ely as an adult. He loved heading to his cabin whenever he could and tending to the wilderness with Carrie and the rest of his family. He routinely would be seen with a chainsaw clearing brush, planting white pine, barbecuing, canoeing in the BWCA, and teaching the grandkids how to toast the perfect marshmallow. Running marathons was another challenging outlet that combined his love for the outdoors and working consistently to attain a goal. He enjoyed a good story and was a voracious reader, becoming more avid as his children became adults. He led a spiritually-focused life, and in his final time, he was able to appreciate all the lives he touched and was thankful for all the blessings he had in this life.