It is with both excitement and sadness that we announce the retirement of Dr. Dave Henneghan. We are excited for everything he will get to enjoy and experience in retirement, but we are also sad that we’ll no longer see his smiling and cheery self at SPO every day.
Dr. Henneghan has enjoyed a wonderful career in orthopedics. However, the journey to that career was no small task—the educational path of an orthopedic surgeon is lengthy.
Dave grew up in East Lansing, MI and was the second of four children. Though he speaks fondly of his upbringing, it was not without its challenges. After his father passed away when he was a toddler, his mother set out to earn her Master’s Degree and PhD. She was then employed at the State of Michigan, while supporting her children as a single mother. His younger sister grew ill while they were in high school, and Dave played a big part in caring for her until her passing as a teenager.
These life challenges did not hold him back as he then went on to excel at Albion College. While at Albion College, he was the goalie for the men’s soccer team. He then returned to East Lansing, MI to attend medical school. He originally planned on a career in primary care, but eventually landed in Grand Rapids, MI for his orthopedic residency. It was here that he developed his surgical skills, but more importantly it is where he met his wife, Karen. She was at the time and still is a surgical nurse.
A Family Man
Dave and Karen share many interests, most of them involving being active outdoors. Cycling, cross country skiing, bird watching, and hiking interests led them to settle in Stevens Point, WI. It is in this community that they raised their family and put down roots.
Even as a very busy surgeon, he always made every effort to be present for his children, Patrick and Laura. When the school calendar was released, the first thing he did was attempt to be off work on the days the kids were off school.
He and Karen embraced Stevens Point and became active in the community. Being very generous people, they chose to support ventures in the activities they love. Throughout their time in Stevens Point they have donated time and treasure to such things as the YMCA, The Green Circle Trail, Iola Winter Sports Club, Boy Scouts of America, and Portage County Youth Soccer.
Professionally, Dave joined the Rice Medical Center as an orthopedic surgeon. He originally practiced out of the Main Street office, across from PJ Jacobs Jr High School, until the group relocated to a new addition connected to St Michael’s Hospital. He further developed his skills as an orthopedic surgeon with an interest in total joint replacements.
Dave was notably a very fun surgeon to be with in the operating room. His love of music and amazing knowledge of 60’s and 70’s music provided not just great music to maintain a good mood and relaxed atmosphere in the OR, but also the opportunity to learn tidbits of music trivia.
Ministry Health Care ended up purchasing Rice Medical Center and circumstances eventually led Dave to resign his position with the intent of joining Klasinski Clinic. A non-compete practice restriction required him to leave town for 18 months. He and his partner, James Banovetz MD, PhD, set up practice in Weston during that time.
Dave had some big plans at the end of the 18 month-transition—he and his son, Patrick, embarked on a cross country bicycle adventure from Puget Sound, WA to Bar Harbor, ME.
After they returned from their journey, Klasinski Clinic welcomed Dr. Henneghan to the orthopedic team. He continued to serve the Stevens Point community and helped get the recently opened Ambulatory Surgery Center of Stevens Point running.
His time in Weston proved valuable as the connections made while sharing on call responsibilities with Orthopedic Associates of Wausau helped form a cooperative that combined the two orthopedic groups—Orthopedic Centers of Wisconsin. After about 10 years at Klasinski Clinic, the orthopedic surgeons from Ascension decided to join the group. During that transition, Klasinski Clinic was renamed Stevens Point Orthopedics or “SPO.”
Heart of Gold
Throughout his 32 years in practice, developing relationships and putting patients first was something Dave truly strived to accomplish. To this day, he is still close friends with the family of his very first surgical patient. And, after a personal emergency required him to suddenly be away from the practice, the first phone call made was to his office staff so that his patients could be called and appropriately rescheduled.
It should be noted that whether on the road or on the trail, Dave will always forgo his planned activity to stop and help a person in need of instruction or assistance of any kind. Try as you might, you will not find a kinder, gentler, more caring human being in our community, regardless of the setting.
So, Dr. David M. Henneghan MD, we thank you so much for all your caring service to the Central Wisconsin community. Enjoy retirement. Keep seeking out the simple things in life like a really good cup of coffee, a high-quality beer, a nice bike ride on the Green Circle Trail, a perfectly prepared Gunflint walleye, a moment set aside to listen to Steely Dan or the Doobies, and a trip in the kayak while watching some green herons. And most importantly, don’t be a stranger to your forever friends at SPO!