Dr. Christopher H. Isensee, age 84, died peacefully at Mercy Hospital in Durango, Colorado on May 12, 2018. Throughout his life, he demonstrated his compassion through service to others.
Prior to medical school, Chris graduated from Robstown High School (1951). He studied pre-medicine at Texas A&I Kingsville, and in 1958, graduated as a Doctor of Medicine from Baylor Medical School in Houston, Texas. He completed an internship at Jefferson Davis Methodist Hospital Veterans' Administration in Houston, Texas, followed by an orthopedic residency at Baylor and a children's orthopedic fellowship at Boston Children's Hospital. Although Chris was offered faculty positions following both residencies, he declined both prestigious offers to focus on private practice in Texas.
During the Vietnam War, Chris was called for active duty. He served as Lieutenant Commander at the Naval Hospital in Bethesda, Maryland, caring for wounded soldiers. He was enrolled as a life member of the Navy League of the United States.
Chris again returned to Corpus Christi, Texas, where he maintained a thriving orthopedic practice for 35 years. In 1977, he married Patricia (Patty) Witt Isensee. As members of the First Presbyterian Church, Chris and Patty dedicated a month volunteering in Zaire, Africa, where Chris focused on pediatric surgery, while Patty assisted in the hospital. In addition to his demanding career as a physician, he and Patty owned and managed the Gulf Clipper and Marlin Queen sight-seeing and fishing vessels.
In 1999, Chris and his wife, Patty, retired to Durango, Colorado, where he continued to serve others. He proved to be a dedicated member of the Geezers' Debate Club and an active member of the Democratic Party where he was honored as "Volunteer of the Year." Chris and Patty were also founding members of the Shelter from the Storm Society of Volunteers of America. Chris enjoyed woodturning and created many exquisite bowls; he shared his craft by teaching others. Five years in the making, the 1750 Indiscret French Xebec, a glass- enclosed Mediterranean sailing ship measuring 36" wide by 30" high, became his last and proudest masterpiece.
Chris was preceded in death by his parents Hugo Isensee and Anna Simmang, brother Ted Isensee and son Carl Isensee. He is survived by his wife of 40 years Patricia Witt Isensee; sister Carol Kilgore, Corpus Christi, Texas; daughter Anna Isom, Durango, Colorado; daughter Beth Welsh, son-in-law, Jack Welsh and granddaughter Jacquelyn Welsh of Alamo Heights, Texas; and mother of his children, Judy Nusbaum, of San Antonio Texas.
Sincere thanks are expressed to Mercy Hospital ER, ICU, and general floor staff, Cottonwood Rehabilitation personnel, and dear friend Roberto Tavares for their kindness, compassion, concern, and empathy during a particularly difficult time.
In keeping with Chris' wishes, there will be no funeral/memorial service or flowers. Instead, Chris had hopes that you would demonstrate your support by making a donation to your charity of choice
. Numbered among his favorites are La Plata County Humane Society, Habitat for Humanity, Manna Soup Kitchen, Salvation Army, and Planned Parenthood. To share on-line condolences, tributes, and memories please visit www.hoodmortuary.com
To plant trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store
Published by The Durango Herald on May 16, 2018.