(This obituary is published with the permission of Rene Papo.)
Born July 26, 1925 in Sarajevo, Yugoslavia, he was a survivor of the Holocaust who, in 1951, immigrated to the United States with his father Albert Papo, DDS. While living in Ann Arbor, Michigan, Dr. Papo married Madeline Vallier and pursued a career in medicine at the University of Michigan.
In 1958, after completing his medical training, Dr. Michael Papo co-founded the Chelsea Medical Clinic, in a medically underserved rural community of southeastern Michigan. Dr. Papo believed that people in rural areas also deserved access to quality health care. This “new” approach to health care characterized by personal, prompt and compassionate care emphasizing quality care at a reasonable cost was a resounding success.
Along with his colleagues, he envisioned and built a new state of the art medical clinic for family medicine, which ultimately expanded its services to include the building of the Chelsea Community Hospital in 1970, which also included one of the first outpatient surgical facilities in the nation.
Dr. Michael Papo pioneered the practice of family medicine, mentoring many young residents and medical students at the Chelsea Medical Clinic. He was widely recognized for a distinguished career of 20-plus years in medicine, which included numerous awards for his humanitarian accomplishments as well as being a contributing force in the establishment of the original Medicare legislation.
He continued to practice until his retirement in 1978, when he donated the medical practice to the University of Michigan, which became the original home of the University of Michigan’s Family Practice Center.
Upon retiring from medicine, Dr. Papo relocated to New York City, where he married Judith Green Papo. He spent his later years committed to philanthropic pursuits and satisfying his passion for sailing and traveling the world.
He is survived by his loving wife of 32 years, Judith Papo, daughter, Michele Papo, MD and grandson, Ian Tanguy, of Dallas, Texas, his son, Rene Papo and daughter-in-law, Hina Papo MD and grandchildren Alex Papo and Gisele Papo, of Ann Arbor, Michigan, his cousin, Oscar Sasson and wife Michelle Sasson and their children Caleb, Nicole and David Sasson and aunt Lily Sasson who reside in Menlo Park, California.
Dr. Papo will always be remembered for his excellence as a family man and physician, his love for sailing and his uncanny ability to capture an audience with his vivid description of his experiences. Most of all, Dr. Papo will be remembered for the generosity and care with which he treated all and the positive impact he left on the lives of those he touched.
In Dr. Papo’s memory, the family requests that contributions be made to: University of Michigan, Department of Family Medicine, Attention: Amy St. Amour, 1000 Oakbrook Dr. Suite 100, Ann Arbor, MI 48104-6815. Memo note “Michael Papo, M.D. Scholarship Fund”
A commemoration of his life will be held in the Spring/Summer of 2013.