A 'Bronze Star' Medical Marriage

A physician-nurse couple made a big impact on the lives of their community as healthcare practitioners, and as World War II veterans.

“Believe you can and you're halfway there.”

—Theodore Roosevelt

A “Bronze Star” Medical Marriage

My physician-dad had a great many doctor buddies, but only one was included in his bedside photograph collection when he died in 2007. Dad and Andrew P. Dedick, Jr., MD were quite obviously playing golf in Ireland in the grainy half-century old photo.

The two doctors were close in age, attitude, and ability—each was the father of eight lively children and had devoted wives. True physician pioneers at their Riverview Hospital in Red Bank, NJ, dad specialized in internal medicine and Dr. Dedick in radiology. Both served as president of the medical staff and really helped to set the standard of healthcare excellence at their beloved hospital on the Jersey Shore.

Dr. Dedick and his partners arrived just when diagnostic medical imaging technology was coming into its own. The 1950s to the 1970s—total glory years for doctors—were boom times. Those guys “were earning six-figure salaries long before it was fashionable for a doctor to do so,” according to my father. Dad explained to me that the Red Bank Radiologists team was exceptionally well trained, had a drive to succeed, and worked long hours. And like all good doctors, “they cared about their patients.”

Dr. Dedick died five years ago this August at age 93. His wife, Kate, died just this August at age 94. It was her recent passing that got me to thinking about what a wonderful couple they were. (For many years the Dedick family lived in my hometown of Monmouth Beach, NJ. Ironically, their youngest son, Eugene, became a good friend of mine, dating back to high school.)

The Dedicks’ amazing lives, which they largely kept to themselves, is proof positive that they were members in fine standing of America’s Great Generation. This being citizens who embody the very worthy traits of self-sacrifice, personal responsibility, humble nature, a strong work ethic, and steady faith.

After earning his BA and MD degrees from George Washington University in DC, Dr. Dedick went on to service in the US Army Medical Corp. Kate, after earning an RN from Jersey City Medical Center School of Nursing, was part of the US Army Nurse Corps.

Both served with distinction in General George S. Patton's 3rd Army in European during World War II. And each won a Bronze Star medal, for “heroic or meritorious achievement in combat.”

Kate rose to the rank of 1st lieutenant while serving in the Army Nurse Corps. She hit Omaha Beach with the 4th Auxiliary Surgical Group unit just after D-Day, and was part of a field hospital surgical team in the European Theater. Kate was decorated with the Bronze Star for action in the Battle of the Bulge.

Dr. Dedick also saw action with the 3rd Army in France and Germany as a Captain and Battalion Surgeon in the 26th (Yankee) Infantry Division, Army Medical Corps. In addition to his Bronze Star, he earned a Purple Heart during WW II.

The couple—he was a Pennsylvania country boy; she was a Jersey City girl—married after the war in Czechoslovakia and were wed for 65 years. Together they returned to Europe in June 1994 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of D-Day. Their stay included a celebratory dinner hosted by Queen Elizabeth II.

Andy and Kate Dedick—a real dynamic duo of medicine.