BY JUDY (JENNE) MILLER
Dr. James Mushovic was so much more to me than our family doctor; over the many years I knew him, he was my friend. He saw me through my childhood, my teenage years, and as a young wife and mother. He gave me the benefit of his wisdom and his profound understanding of people. His advice was something that got me through some trying times in my life. He helped me feel good about myself and taught me how to be strong during the tough times. He saw me through a serious illness and saved my life. If it were not for “Dimitri”, I would not be around to write this.
He brought my three beautiful children into this world: Randi in 1965, Matthew in 1968, and Heather in 1971. In the middle of labor, he would get everyone in the room to smile – even me – when he told me I was strong enough and young enough to climb off that table after delivering each of my kids and walk back to my room. It got to be a running joke with us: he would tell the nurses to watch out for me because I could walk to the hospital while in labor, have those babies so fast they had to keep a close eye on me, and then just get up and walk back to my bed. By the time Heather was born, he let us go home when she was only 12-hours old. Always helpful, he said it would save us money. He encouraged me through a divorce and helped patch up the kids as they were growing up. Mumps, chicken pox, stitches, and his sage advice – priceless!
A very special memory for all of us was when he played Santa Claus on Christmas Eve. I mean how cool is it to see your doctor walk into your home saying, “HO HO HO”, and passing out gifts to the kids! They were so awestruck at having Santa come to their house with special gifts with their names on them. A busy physician taking time to do this for the kids: how could it get any better than that on Christmas Eve?
There are so many stories and memories about Doc Mushovic. Suffice it to say, he was a terrific doctor, a kind heart, a defender of those he cared for, and a truly remarkable man. It was a sad day when we lost him, but he is remembered with great fondness. They don’t make them like that anymore!
Dr. James Mushovic, Sr., was a beloved father and grandfather, and physician to thousands of families in Coronado. He was a longtime family practitioner as well as an obstetrician, bringing hosts of “stork” deliveries into the arms of awaiting parents. “Dr. Dwim”, as my kids fondly called him, delivered my firstborn daughter, Ariel Florence Graham in 1988, and a year later assisted my father, Dr. Donald M. Dill in delivering my son, Austin Everett Malins Graham. Ariel was Dr. Dwim’s swan song baby in his long career of obstetrics. She was the last baby he would bring into the world, which made her very special to him indeed. Until his retirement, he kept a photo of him holding her, along with a tribute, as well as a photo of my son, for every patient to see and honor at the office weigh station. My husband, Al Graham, who had three kids by his first marriage to Anne Morrison, hailed this singular, wizardly doctor with the special nickname of “Merlin Mushovic” as he was the magician that brought Dylan, Tristin, and Sefton Graham into the world as well. Not only did Dr. Mushovic bring so many lovely lives onto this planet, he also ferried in many medical careers onto our island, fashioning family practices as a mirror of the tradition he began: “hands on” medicine, a dying art in this day and age. My father, Dr. Donald M. Dill, was one of those whose career began under his tutelage.
A few years before “Dmitri” (as he loved to be called) passed away, my daughter and I ran into him. Ariel, now fully grown, was asked if he could whisper in her ear. When she leaned forward for his special message, he whispered, “Please, don’t forget me.” Ariel and our family, as with so many others, never ever will.
Dr. Mushovic started the tradition of being Santa Claus on Christmas Eve as far back as 1965, for that was when he hand-delivered my very first training bra. I almost died of embarrassment and will never forget that memory. Another of my favorite memories was in Dr. Dwim’s later years after his retirement. I used to run into him in Albertson’s late in the evening. He would be pushing around a grocery cart stacked to the brim with every sweet snack available on the shelves. After a brief chat, he would always ask me if I knew where the Oreos were, or one of his favorite ice creams. My last memory of our beloved friend was his extraordinary sweet tooth.
James Mushovic, Sr., was born on July 3, 1925. He passed from our graces on August 25, 2009 at the ripe age of 84. He was born in Greenfield, Massachusetts, the youngest son of James and Christine Mushovic, both from Belorussia in Tsarist Russia. After attending Tufts University in Massachusetts, he continued on to Tufts Medical School in Boston. Before attending medical school, he served with the United States Navy during World War II. Once he finished medical school, he served the U. S. Navy again as a flight surgeon. He kick started his ob-gyn practice while delivering babies at NAS North Island. In 1953, he settled in Coronado and started his practice on Orange Avenue in 1956, in what is now the Brigantine. Throughout his extensive career delivering half of Coronado and caring for multiple generations of families, he found the time to serve on the Coronado School Board and be an active member of the Rotary Club. Dr. Mushovic played a key role in establishing the Coronado Hospital, as it now exists. In addition to being a surrogate father and grandfather to so many of our citizens, Dr. Mushovic was father to ten children and grandfather to many grandchildren.
– Kimberley Ann (Dill) Graham