John H. Brinkman, 16, schoolboy, helped to save Eugene F. Fitzgerald, 16, schoolboy, from drowning, Colo, Iowa, July 4, 1952. While swimming in a pond, Eugene, who was a poor swimmer, became exhausted and was submerged briefly 35 feet from the bank. His calls for help attracted John, who ran to the bank just ahead of Cora B. Kimberley, her husband, and several others. Kicking off his shoes, John waded from the bank and swam to Eugene, who seized him tightly around the neck and pulled him beneath the surface. John pushed forcibly against Eugene’s body with his knees and broke free. He took hold of Eugene, who had become inert, and brought him to the surface. John, who felt weak and had difficulty breathing, barely was abie to maintain his hold on Eugene and made no headway in attempting to tow him. Noting John’s distress, Mrs. Kimberley, who was fully clothed, swam from the bank and reached the two youths and took hold of Eugene, who again sank. John with great effort swam 15 feet to a dock. Greatly exerting herself, Mrs. Kimberley repeatedly tried to raise Eugene by the hair but lacked the strength to do so. Although extremely tired, she then attempted to tow Eugene but was unable to move him appreciably. He suddenly slipped from her grasp and sank to a depth of three feet. Submerging, Mrs. Kimberley tightly grasped him and swam to the surface, succeeding in raising his head slightly. Removing his boots and trousers, her husband dived from the dock and swam to them. With aid from another youth, who was a good swimmer, Mrs. Kimberley and her husband towed Eugene to wadable water. Mrs. Kimberley nearly was exhausted and required assistance from others in reaching the bank. Eugene was carried from the water and given artificial respiration and was revived. John was fatigued, winded, and nervous but recovered. 3836-42623
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Dr. John H. Brinkman, 84, of Mason City, Iowa, passed away peacefully at Mercy One North Iowa Hospice surrounded by family, on April 3, 2021.
John was born in Ames, Iowa on December 29, 1936, the son of Dr. and Mrs. N.H. (Mildred Kimberley) Brinkman. He grew up in Colo, Iowa, graduating from high school in 1955, and was always very proud to call that community home. During his youth, he enjoyed working on his Uncle Harold’s farm where he saved a friend from drowning at the farm pond, receiving the Carnegie Medal from Philadelphia for his brave actions.
Following graduation, John attended Kemper Military School in Kirksville, Missouri, then attended the University of Iowa, receiving his Doctor of Medicine degree in 1962. It was during his internship in Houston, Texas where he met and married his wife of 57 years, Maxine Brand. They moved to Minneapolis, Minnesota, where John completed his residency in Internal Residency, receiving an NIH Fellowship in Endocrinology with the VA through the University of Minnesota. He also served in the U.S. Army as a Medical Corp Captain in Honolulu, Hawaii during the Viet Nam build-up.
John and Maxine moved to Mason City, Iowa in 1962. During that time he was an internist at Park Clinic and at Mercy Medical Center. His illustrious career as a physician leader included his roles with the Iowa Foundation for Medical Care, the Iowa Medical Society, the Iowa Board of Medical Examiners, as a fellow with the American College of Physicians and the American College of Endocrinology, and as Mason City Health Director for sixteen years, among many others. He was a Clinical Associate Professor of Internal Medicine of Carver College at the University of Iowa, training medical students and residents, and in 2004, he had the honor of receiving the Carver College of Medicine Distinguished Service Award. His greatest professional joys were often found in serving the elderly and in his interactions with area farm families, where he enjoyed visiting about crops and trading stories and recipes. John was a lifelong member of the AMA, IMS, the Cerro Gordo County Medical Society, and Alpha Omega Alpha. He also served as a Board member for the both the Newman Foundation and the North Iowa Fair Association, and was a Boy Scout leader for the Hoover troop.
After practicing as a physician for forty years, John retired in 2002, continuing to serve where needed until 2010. In retirement, he enjoyed spending time with his family, going on fishing trips to northern Minnesota and Canada with his brother, Harold, and brother-in-law, Dean, making homemade pickles and fudge, reading biographies and historical novels, and walking his beloved pug, Suzy.
John was a very beloved husband and a loving and dedicated father who will be greatly missed by his family and friends. He is survived by his wife Maxine, children Paul (Lisa), Sarah, and David (Will), four grandchildren Peter, Lucy, Carl, and Sophie, his brother Harold, and sweet pug Suzy.
He was preceded in death by his parents, his sister Mary, brother-in-law Dean, and nephew John.
Published by Globe Gazette on Apr. 11, 2021