"Encyclopedia Dubuque is the online authority for all things Dubuque, written by the people who know the city best.”
Marshall Cohen—researcher and producer, CNN
Affiliated with the Local History Network of the State Historical Society of Iowa, and the Iowa Museum Association.
BENDA, Thomas J. Sr.
BENDA, Thomas J. Sr. (Dubuque, IA, Sept. 24, 1926--Dubuque, IA, May 27, 2013). The son of Frank and Marcella (Sullivan) Benda, Thomas attended Nativity Grade School and LORAS ACADEMY. In 1944 he entered the U.S. Navy and served as a Gunners Mate 3rd Class on the USS Hooper Island and USS LST 685 in the Pacific Theater during WORLD WAR II. Following his honorable discharge, Thomas returned to LORAS COLLEGE graduating in 1949. He graduated from the University of Iowa College of Medicine in 1953. While there he met his future bride, a nursing student. He married Margaret Connell on September 6, 1952 in Cedar Falls, IA at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church.
Dr. Benda interned at Broadlawns Hospital in Des Moines, IA, completed his residency in Otolaryngology at the University of Iowa Hospitals in 1958 and became board certified. He returned to Dubuque, and started a solo practice, which today is known as Dubuque ENT, Head and Neck Surgery, PC. He was offered academic appointments at the University of Iowa at least twice, but elected to return home to Dubuque and have a large family. He enjoyed teaching and travelled to Iowa City frequently as an Associate Clinical Professor, supervising surgeries with ENT residents and lecturing medical students from 1977 to 1989. He kept up on new and latest techniques up to the day he retired. He travelled to India in 1984 to teach ear surgeries to developing hospitals there.
Dr. Benda was proud to be a fellow of the Triological Society, and wrote his thesis on neoplasms of the middle ear. As neurootology became a discipline, he learned and performed surgeries to remove tumors of the vestibular nerve and inner ear. He also performed many cleft lip and palate surgeries. Both of these disciplines now require separate fellowships after residency.
In Dubuque, Dr. Benda worked at Xavier, Finley, and Mercy Hospitals. He was responsible for bringing the first operating microscope for ear surgery to Dubuque and the first cardiac monitor. It was promptly first used on Tom himself after his first heart attack in 1968. When XAVIER HOSPITAL closed a group of doctors, including Dr. Benda, Dr. John Chapman, Dr. L.C. Faber, and Dr. Julian Nemmers, were instrumental in developing and modernizing FINLEY HOSPITAL (THE).
He was a member of the Parish Council at SAINT COLUMBKILLE'S CHURCH for many terms. He also served on the Board of Regents for Loras College. He was a member and served as president of the Dubuque Serrans. He and Margaret were elected Knights of the Holy Sepulcher.
After retirement in 1995, he continued to study, and was an expert on Civil War history, history of the American Indian, and attended many Bible studies and medical ethics seminars. Thomas was a staunch supporter of Dubuque Right to Life and The Republican Party. He continued to ski until he was 83, and taught his kids and many grandkids to ski as well.
Obituaries: Hoffman-Schneider Funeral Homes, http://hoffmannschneiderfuneralhomes.com/fh/obituaries/obituary.cfm?o_id=2101622&fh_id=10641