Keeping Milaca healthy for 40 years

Dr. Ramesh Chawla and the Milaca Fairview Clinic are observing the 40th anniversary of his time in local medicine.

Four decades is a long time by most standards, but for Milaca Fairview Clinic’s most familiar face, the past 40 years have flown.

“Boy, you know, I never thought that time would pass and I wouldn’t feel it,” said Dr. Ramesh Chawla of his anniversary with the clinic.

Chawla and his wife Fay came to Minnesota all those years ago — he from one of the largest cities on Earth, New Dehli, India, and she from a small village in the Philippeans. While he made additions to his doctor of medicine degree from the All India Institute of Medical Science by attending medical universities in Canada, Ann Arbor, Mich., and the University of Minnesota, Fay also built upon her career that began at the universal health care provider at the Philippine capital, Baguio General Hospital, by studying at the College of St. Benedict and St. Catherine’s University.

By the time they were both ready to start looking for a long-term residence, their daughter, Gigi was born.

“Coming from a small town, she [Fay] wanted to raise her in a small town,” Chawla said.

The couple’s decision came down to either Milaca or Paynesville, Minn.

“Dr. Keith somehow impressed my wife very much, so we decided to stay,” he said.

Fay went on to become the director of nurse practitioners at  St. Cloud Hospital, and retired last year.

Through all the years, Chawla said he has a few accomplishments he prides the most.

“Being available to my patients and raising my girls, watching them grow and become successful,” he said.

He also enjoys spending time with his three granddaughters and one grandson — some of the best reasons for retirement, he said (that, and his enjoyment of golf, of course). But talk of retirement doesn’t excited Chawla all that much.

“This is what I found out — when I was 45, I thought I’d retire at 55. And when I was 55, we thought for sure I’d retire at 65,” he said laughing. “But unless you have a real hobby — I never was one of those people who could watch daytime television.”

For the full story, see the Thursday, Aug. 23 print edition of the Times.