GOSHEN, Ind. (Mennonite Mission Network) — In India, Ethiopia and the United States, Dr. Paul Conrad served his patients with humility, caring and Christ’s love.
Conrad, 89, died July 17, 2008, in his home in Goshen, Ind., surrounded by family members.
With his wife, Nancy, Conrad spent 15 years providing medical care and ministry in Dhamtari, India, primarily at the Dhamtari Christian Hospital. He served as medical superintendent, through Mennonite Board of Missions and Charities, a predecessor agency of Mennonite Mission Network. Conrad then headed the Shantipur Leprosy Hospital near Dhamtari for one year, where he introduced innovative techniques and procedures for preventing complications of leprosy.
In Ethiopia in the 1940s, he helped start a hospital on the site of an old cotton gin.
During his medical career in the United States and abroad, he practiced medicine, trained physicians in general medicine and surgery, and was a clinical psychiatrist.
Dr. Sunil Chatterjee, current medical superintendent at Dhamtari Christian Hospital, said community and staff members held a memorial service for Conrad in their hospital chapel.
“We remember his immense contributions to this institution and his services to the poor and needy people,” Chatterjee wrote. “We deeply acknowledge and honour his work and sacrifice.”
Katherine Yutzy also worked through MBMC in Dhamtari, overlapping the Conrads’ service by several years. She called the Conrads her mentors.
“Paul always had time to listen, to give counsel without telling me what I should do,” said Yutzy, who now lives in Goshen. “Dr. Conrad was patient with patients and with family members who came with the patients. He listened to them, talked with them and did not rush them.”
Yutzy said Conrad focused on care for the whole person, including the mind. Psychiatry was not common in Indian hospitals during their service, but Yutzy said he incorporated it into his work.
In a statement read at his memorial service, Conrad’s children and grandchildren thanked their father and grandfather for his faith, courage and humility, for living simply, and for telling them that he was in India for his beliefs, “not necessarily to change the beliefs of others, but only to try to make one small … patch of our world a somewhat better place.”
Jake Flisher, who spent 22 years in India, said he never heard Conrad complain about his long hours on rounds and treating outpatients, despite sometimes being shorthanded.
Paul L. Conrad was born on Sept. 23, 1918, in Portland, Ore., to Lester and Mabel Geiger Conrad of Canby, Ore. He attended Goshen (Ind.) College and Northwestern University School of Medicine in Chicago, Ill.
Conrad married Nancy Henley, of Scottdale, Pa., on Jan. 24, 1946, in Nazareth, Ethiopia, where together they established and operated a hospital under the auspices of MBMC for three years.
She survives with son Glenn Conrad, his wife Margaret (Derstine) and their children James and David; daughter Mary Conrad Lo, her husband Mathew Lo and their children Jeremy and Adrian; son Paul Conrad, II, his wife Martha (Liechty), their children Jesse and Caitlin, and son-in-law Nicholas Steele; and daughter-in-law Yvonne Kraus Conrad Forman, her husband Robert Forman, and their children Rosha and Avram.
Forman was married to Conrad's son, John Conrad, who preceded Conrad in death. Also preceding him in death were a sister, Myrtle Ruth Conrad; and brothers Clifford Conrad and Glenn Conrad.
After returning from Ethiopia, Conrad spent several years as a general practitioner in Welch, W.Va., as a company doctor for U.S. Coal and Coke Co., a subsidiary of U.S. Steel. The family then served under MBMC for 16 years in India.
The Conrads returned to the United States in 1967 so Paul could complete a residency training program in psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh (Pa.) School of Medicine, where he was assistant professor of psychiatry from 1969 to 1977. After leaving the university, he spent 22 years practicing psychiatry in southwestern Pennsylvania. When he retired, Chestnut Ridge Counseling Services in Uniontown, Pa., named a building in his honor.
Nancy Conrad practiced nursing in Ethiopia and earned bachelor's and master's degrees from the University of Pittsburgh after returning from India. She then practiced as a psychiatric nurse clinician for 10 years in Scottdale.
Conrad was an active member of the Mennonite Medical Association, which named him Doctor of the Year in 1987; the American Psychiatric Association; and the American Medical Association. He also served on the board of directors for Associated Mennonite Biblical Seminary in Elkhart, Ind.
Both Conrads were active members of Scottdale (Pa.) Mennonite Church before moving in 2000 to Greencroft Community, Goshen, Ind., where they attended College Mennonite Church.
Memorial services were held July 20 at College Mennonite Church. Memorials may be designated to special project WA100 for Dhamtari Christian Hospital on a check payable to Mennonite Mission Network, Box 370, Elkhart, IN, 46515-0370, U.S.A.