The namesake of the Peter J. Lindberg, M.D., Center for Health and Human Performance is an Augustana 1961 graduate who dedicated his life to caring for his patients with skill and compassion. Dr. Lindberg passed away from esophageal cancer on Sept. 13, 2016. Mary, his wife of 56 years, was by his side. So that others can know the man honored by this new building, we share the following excerpt from the obituary written by one of his daughters, Katherine Lindberg.
Peter J. Lindberg was born in Waukegan, Ill., to Alice and Victor Lindberg on Nov. 26, 1939. His father died when he was 11 years old, and this death further fueled his desire to save people.
After Augustana, Peter attended University of Chicago Medical School graduating at the top of his class, and completed his internal medicine residency at Presbyterian-St. Luke’s Hospital and his Hematology Fellowship at Rush Medical School.
“Peter truly wanted other people to be happy, and would do whatever he could to make that so.”
He “discovered” Northern New Mexico during weekend leaves from Cannon Air Force Base where he served as a captain in the mid-1960s. Falling under the spell of the mountains, Peter jumped at the chance to practice internal medicine and hematology at Los Alamos Medical Center (LAMC) starting in 1972.
Caring for his patients
As the field of oncology developed, Peter began concentrating his career in this area, ultimately focusing exclusively on prostate cancer. He found the challenge of caring for men with this disease to be particularly rewarding, and he dedicated much of his later career to this specialty. After serving LAMC for more than 40 years, Peter joined the New Mexico Cancer Center in Albuquerque in 2014.
He was a skilled healer and derived great meaning from the practice of medicine. His patients were extremely important to him, occupying a place of preeminence in his life. He relentlessly sought the most effective treatment for each individual and prayed for his patients daily. He continued to practice until shortly before his death.
Sharing adventures with family
Peter was filled with love—for his wife, for his children, for his grandchildren, for his friends of many decades, for his patients, for his colleagues, for his pastors and fellow congregants and choir members at Bethlehem Lutheran Church, for bicycling and for his border collies. He truly wanted other people to be happy, and would do whatever he could to make that so.
He could always be talked into an adventure and traveled extensively with both his wife and his children. Many of those trips involved hiking out into the unknown, and the wilderness remained important to Peter throughout his life. Last summer he rafted the Chama and marveled at the morning light hitting the dew.
Peter’s love of history, politics, philosophy, religion, archaeology and music kept him very much a man of the world—always up for a discussion or a good-natured argument. His fierce intelligence, profoundly empathetic nature, optimism, exuberance and overwhelming passion for life will be sorely missed.