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Dr. James B. McGovern

dr. james mcgovern
(James) Bruce McGovern passed away Wednesday, August 20, 2008, at Methodist Hospital in San Antonio. He was 75 years old. He died peacefully in the early morning hours after a year-and-a-half long struggle with various health problems, including a brain tumor. He is survived by Marjorie, his loving wife of 52 years; brother Lane, and his wife Annie, McGovern of Winchester, Massachusetts, brother Gordon, and his wife Judy, McGovern of Wakefield, Rhode Island; son Glenn McGovern and his children Kade and Lauren; daughter Lee, and her husband Dan, McCarty and their children Daniel and Louisa; son Jim, and his wife Robyn, McGovern and their children Mason, Ryan and Connor; and daughter Margo, and her husband Mark, Manning of Dallas and their children Megan and Cooper. Bruce McGovern was born Dec 10, 1932 in Boston, Massachusetts and grew up outside Boston in the suburb of Winchester. He graduated from Amherst College in Amherst, MA, in 1955 and from Cornell University Medical School in New York, NY, in 1959. After his first year of medical school, dad married our mom, Marjorie Ann Carroll, on July 1, 1956. The two had known each other for years, having attended the same grade school and high school, but they did not begin to date until college. After med school, dad spent seven years in New York and Boston completing a series of internships and residencies that ultimately led to medical board certifications in surgery, thoracic surgery and pediatric surgery. Dad worked almost around the clock in those days, while mom busied herself trying to raise four young kids in a two bedroom apartment. Money was very tight, but mom still remembers the early years with fond nostalgia. In 1968, dad was drafted into the U.S. Air Force and served for two years as a Major at Wilford Hall Medical Center. It was during his stint in the Air Force that dad first began running. Even though few people back then were into running, and most thought it was slightly kooky or masochistic, dad was hooked. For decades he ran nearly every day, eventually working his way up to racing marathons and even finished third in a 40 mile ultra-marathon. Although dad presumably enjoyed his running, his canine running companions didn't fare as well. One of our pets, a Dalmatian named Moll, had paws so blistered from running with dad that he had to fashion leather moccasins for her that he would dutifully lace up before their daily runs. And years later, another favorite pet, a black Labrador named Braun, literally plopped down on the side of the road, right in the middle of a run, and died from exhaustion. After fulfilling his military service, mom and dad surprised themselves and their families when they decided to stay and settle in San Antonio. Though both were New Englanders born and bred, the charms of Texas and the spirit of Texans had won dad's affection. In 1970, dad joined Hartman Hills Sammis & Urrutia, a well-known local medical group, and joined the faculty at the University of Texas Medical School as a part-time clinical professor. But before long, dad decided to strike out on his own and hung out a shingle announcing his own pediatric surgical practice. At the time and for many years afterwards, he was one of only two pediatric surgeons in San Antonio. His private practice grew steadily over the years, right along with the growth in San Antonio's population and the Medical Center's reputation. Dad's office was at Methodist Hospital, where he served as Chief of Staff for a time, but he was also an active staff member at the Santa Rosa and Baptist Hospitals. Dad's strong work ethic and long, long hours operating and doing post-operative rounds were legendary. But to him it wasn't really work. It was his calling. It was what he wanted to do, and was what he was meant to do, in life. Over the many years, dad cared for thousands of young patients, including many premature babies who were so small they could fit in the palm of his hand. Nearly all of the operations were successes, but the few patients he wasn't able to save would cause him to fall into a deep funk that would last for days and that was almost unbearable to watch. One particularly poignant remembrance involves my sister, Margo, who was in high school and was volunteering as a "candy striper" at the hospital. Dad had not been home much in days, as he had a young patient who was not doing well, but for whom nothing more, medically, could be done. One night at the hospital, Margo chanced to walk by a room where she saw our dad sitting by the little boy's bedside reading him children's stories from a stack of books that she remembered from her own childhood. Dad provided care to all who needed it, including the poor who had no insurance. Around Christmas time, many of these indigent families would give dad small presents, in lieu of payment, to express their appreciation and gratitude. Yet dad never complained. He realized they couldn't afford to pay and he appreciated the small presents all the more because they were so personal and heartfelt. But as fine a surgeon as dad was, the medical care that close family members got was a little suspect. Growing up, no matter how badly hurt you thought you were, dad would typically take a close look at the injury and then pronounce that it was nothing and you just need to "put a little Neosporin on it." We never had a chance to test the theory, but we're convinced that one of us could have lost a limb and his response would still have been "put a little Neosporin on it." Dad was honest to a fault and tried to live his life according to a personal code of honor that probably seems quaint or archaic to many people today. But in his worldview, there was very little gray. Most things were right or wrong, true or false. He held himself to high standards and expected a similar level of competence and dedication from those around him. If you disappointed him, he was not able, or perhaps was not willing, to disguise it. As a result, many people loved or admired him, and some no doubt disliked him, but few were ambivalent. That is how dad would want it. Dad had a number of interests and hobbies. He enjoyed gardening, tennis, cycling and reading. And he liked scuba diving in the Caribbean and backpacking in Colorado. But above all, he loved fishing. Even though it was a rare fish dumb enough to snag its mouth on one of dad's fish hooks, he loved fishing all the same. Just being outside with a fishing pole in hand, soaking up the beauty of nature, whether alone or with a friend, was more than enough to put a smile on dad's face. He did not have a lot of close friends. But he had some very good friends whom he treasured. Dad has passed on now. But we will miss him greatly and remember him forever. We would like to express our heartfelt appreciation to the staff at Colonial Gardens (formerly Barton House) for the compassionate care they provided dad. The memorial service is private; however, well-wishers are invited to please share your thoughts and memories on dad's memorial website [ ] Anybody wishing to make a donation is encouraged to contribute to "Any Baby Can of San Antonio" -- a child advocacy group for babies with special needs. 217 Howard St., San Antonio, TX 78212 (Tel: 227-0170) or on the web at Arrangements by: Meadowlawn & American Mortuary.

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Memories Timeline


  1. Dear McGovern Family, Although I had never met your father/husband, his story inspires me to “pass it on” and to be giving of my own resources to those in need. Through Margo’s character and humor, I can see a generous and loving family with a beautiful man at the foundation. My prayer for you all is to continue living with his spirit and be comforted by his presence with you always.

  2. My the love you share comfort you during these difficult times. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.

  3. My prayers go out to Bruce’s family and friends. He was indeed my favorite resident to care for at Colonial Gardens. I enjoyed listening to him talk. He often made me chuckle with his wit and quick comebacks. I could sense a sincere sensitivity he had for others and that endeared me to him. Bruce will be greatly missed. May you find comfort in his memory now and always. God bless… Yvette

  4. We met your dad on December 24, 1993. We had our daughter Hailey born with a rare gut deformity. After two surgeries and much love and skill, your dad was our hero. He never showed much emotion but when he did it touched our hearts. I remember one time he told us that our daughter Hailey had been in his thoughts many a sleepless night. It made us feel like Hailey was just as important to him as to us. I also remember his hands. They were so big and operating on such small babies…I didn’t know how he could do it. Your dad is our hero! Our thoughts and prayers are with you at this difficult time. Dr. McGovern will be missed.

  5. We are so sorry for your loss. Words always seem empty. We shall always remember Bruce as the tennis ace on the court with the biggest heart and the greatest smile.

  6. Dear Lee & family, I was so sorry to read of your dad’s passing. In all my years at Frost Bank, he was one of my favorites. The very informative and entertaining obituary helped me to get to know him a little better. I hope you will find comfort in all the well-wishes of friends and colleagues. Lewis

  7. I had the honor of knowing Bruce in several different capacities, all of which demonstrated the kind of character he was known for. He was a skilled and caring doctor to my child and my family, he was a client with unshakable principals, and he was a good friend, both to me and to my parents. We will all miss him.

  8. Our heartfelt sympathies to the family of Dr. Bruce McGovern; my family will always remember him fondly and with respect; two of my children, Robert Steele Cover and Julie Ann Cover Teplitz were his patients and he saved both of their lives…my son Robby with Acute Appendicitis at barely age 6 and Julie when she was 11, having suffered from a complete cardiac arrest that pulled her chest cavity in causing her left lung never to inflate, from birth…he also pierced her ears while undergoing the surgery…he was so worried that he would not do this part exactly right, but he did everything right!Robby is an ex-Marine with 3 children, and Julie has 2 sons and is 37 yrs. old now. If not for Dr. McGovern I would not have either of them here, and no grandchildren. What a great doctor, and what a sad loss for us all!! And what a caring man. Again, our condolences, Judy Cover and Family

  9. Dear McGovern Family, Our deepest sympathy to everyone. Dr.McGovern was a great Dr.He especially had a special place for special need’s children. My son Jamie was operated by Dr.McGovern over 15 yrs.ago. Doctors had said Jamie would not live to be 18. Jamie is 34 yrs. old. We had to personally pay a visit Dr. McGovern with cake and ice cream to thank him for helping Jamie from reoccurrences of aspiration pneumonia. It seems like only yesturday when in fact it’s been over 15 yrs. ago. Dr. McGovern has earned his place in heaven and I’m sure our beloved Father has said to him,”Well done my Son.” God Bless the McGovern Family.

  10. Dear McGovern Family, Dr McGovern was mine and my brother’s surgeon over 20 years ago. He was a very compassionate man that took care of many special needs of my brother. My brother was handicapped, and Dr McGovern was very gentle and protrayed professionalism and treated us with upmost respect. He also explained things to us in “normal” words where we could understand. When my brother passed away in 2000, Dr McGovern sent my family a personal sympathy card, which meant alot to us. The “world of Doctors” has had a tremendous loss which may never be recovered. He made a huge impact on the medical profession. His caring and passion for his patients is not shared by many physcians. My mom and I would like to send our prayers and sympathy to all of his family. May God bless and keep you in this great time of sorrow.

  11. My thoughts and prayers are for Dr. McGovern’s family. Dr. McGovern operated on our 4 year old son many years ago. The emergency operation was during the winter and the next February our 5 year old addressed his Valentine’s cards. His room was cluttered for days with the cards he was preparing and with cards he’d received. Our son joined the Marines for 8 years and has now gone on to a successful career with a Candadian based firm. Two weeks ago I was going thru his “left behind” items because finally he has a home and can take his things with him. Amongst his report cards, high school love letters and such, I found a Valentine addressed to Dr. McGovern….

  12. Dr. McGovern saved my life when I was 11 years old. He performed a complicated and unheard of (at the time) surgery on me in 1980. He also had it filmed so others could learn from the experience. As a young girl, I was not cooperative to this request. I remember, I decided that if I was going to go along with the surgery, I wanted him to pierce my ears while I was asleep. He said it was a deal and from then on, my procedure was a partnership. My recovery was slow. I stayed in the hospital for weeks, but he never stopped checking in on me and attempting to keep my mother calm. To look at me today, you would never know that I was once deformed. The scar he left is hardly visable and my ears are great, too. I have always been grateful to him as I am sure many of his patients are. We pray for your family and are so sorry for your loss. Thank you Dr. McGovern. -Julie

  13. The Cantu family wish to extend our most heart felt condolences to Dr. McGovern’s family. I was priveleged and honored to work with Bruce when he first came into private practice. I will truely miss you my friend, and always remember how you once saw our baby son without a pedi referral and calmed a fearful father’s heart with your assurance and treatment. Our son Paul is a US Soldier still in the service of our country. God Bless and be at peace Dr. McGovern in Jesus’s name.

  14. Thirty-four years ago Dr. McGovern performed exploratory surgery on our daughter and saved her life. He was at the hospital all hours of the day and night checking on his young patients. I remember asking him if he ever saw his wife. I will never forget those weeks of our daughter being under his confident and capable care. Our family extends our deepest sympathy. God bless you all.

  15. In 1981,I was a young Pediatric Nurse starting my career at Methodist Hospital. I took care of several of Dr. McGovern’s patients and always admired his skill and knowledge. He was a hero to many and truly was blessed with the gift of God’s handiwork in the life saving surgeries he performed. He will be missed and fondly remembered~Sheila Herzog

  16. Dr. McGovern operated on my son in 1982. I was always touched by the kindness and compassion that he showed for his patients but for the parents as well. While my son later passed away in 1994 from other complications I know we would not have had him for an additional 12 years if it hadn’t been for Dr. McGovern’s care and skill. For our family this man was an angel on earth. My deepest thoughts and prayers are with you at this time. Larry Booth

  17. Dear McGovern family–Your testimony to your Dad’s life was exactly as I would have expected. We only knew your Dad, professionally, as our daughter’s surgeon, but it really felt personal. You see, my husband and I are among those who respected, admired and thanked God daily for him. The first time I met your Dad was late one night, in 1990. Our one year old daughter was at Methodist Children’s Hospital facing an unexpected surgery (one of many to come). Her room was lit low, it was quiet and as the door opened, I looked up and I swore Sean Connery was coming into our room. This handsome, gentle soul sat on the side of her bed and let our daughter hold his hand while he talked with me about the surgery. He seemed very purposeful in staying until he was sure that he had answered every question and that I was comfortable in his abilities. He was amazing. Through the next two years, he performed numerous surgeries on our daughter and always quick to smile, tender to our family and professional to the core. We loved him. The week our daughter died in 1993, we had been sent to Humana Women’s and Children’s, not to Methodist. It was several months later when I ran into your Dad in San Antonio. It was away from the hospital and yet he knew me and greeted me by name. When he asked about our daughter and I told him what happened, tears filled his eyes and he uncharacteristically hugged me. You were truly blessed to have loved and been loved by this man. Thank you for sharing him with us.

  18. Tullis and I were sorry to hear of Bruce’s passing. We know thst he is now in a better place but he will be missed.

  19. It was 15 years ago, I walked into Dr. McGovern’s office, with my very sick newborn son. He was so kind and sweet to us, I will never forget what he did for my son, he saved his life. Thank You Dr. McGovern, may you rest in peace.

  20. Dear Dr. Mcgovern’s family. My name is Beatrice Rodriguez. My sister and I are nurses. Many years ago my sister worked in the PICU at Santa Rosa and she told me about this doctor that she worked with him that was so good at his craft, so nice to his patients and their families. She said that it didn’t matter if they had money or not that he treated them all the same. When I came to San Antonio, Tx in 1992, I went to work at Methodist Hospital and I ran across him in the OR Holding Area one evening. I told him about my sister having worked with him many years ago and the wonderful things that she had said about him (His caring manner, his attention to detail and his great skills) he just smiled and said that he remembered working with my sister and thanked me for having told him the story. Then quietly he went into the operating room with his patient and I never saw him again. I was truly touched that he remembered my sister. May God be with all of you’ll for ever. Beatrice Rodriguez San Antonio, Tx

  21. After reading the obituary of this wonderful man, I must say that you are one lucky family. He made this world a better place. God bless you all.

  22. Dear Marjorie, Lee & Family — I only knew Bruce through his stay at Barton House and saw him as a gentle, intelligent, lovely man. When I read his obituary and saw how he had lived his wonderful life, I wept at your loss. We will miss him and we send you our sympathy and prayers for peace, grace and healing from your grief.

  23. Dear Mrs. McGovern and family, I am sorry to hear of Bruce’s passing. We worked together first when I was a fellow in pulmonary at Sta. Rosa and later as colleagues at Methodist Hospital. He was everything that was said about him in his obituary. He cared deeply about his patients and about doing the right thing. His retirement was done quietly and without fanfare and I see that his funeral will be the same. He probably never knew how loved and respected he was. God bless you.

  24. Dear McGoverns, What a wonderful tribute to Bruce! I just read the obituary and all of the lovely entries in the guestbook. What a wonderful man! But, to me, his greatest legacy will be his son, Jim. Peace be with you. Patty (Montgomery) Otto

  25. Dear Marge and Children: We mourn with you over the passing of your husband and father. He is and always will be in our minds “quite a man”. He certainly made a difference to all who came in contact with him whether it was as a patient, as a referring pediatrician or as a friend. May his soul and the souls of all the faithfully departed rest with God in peace. My love to each of you, Rosemary Duke

  26. I just learned of your father’s passing from my son who Dr. McGovern operated on when he was only three days old. That was over thirty-one years ago and the life saving operation will never be forgotton. Subsequently, two more operations and many office visits followed. Your father was always so kind and calm whether in his office or visiting us in the hospital, and years later when my son contacted him to discuss his condition, he took the time to send him his medical records. He will always be in my thoughts and memories. God Bless you and your families. You were fortunate to have had such a wonderful man for a father and husband. Sincerely, Patricia Brown

  27. May God bless your family at this difficult time!An unusual journey took direction to Dr.McGovern thru a series of events in my life.I came to S.A. Jan.1977 in the AirForce as a anesthesia tech at Wilford Hall.Years later I became employed at UTSA Health Science.No coincidence,devine guidence!I fathered a daughter a year later born with Cloacal Syndrom.God sent in his #1 quarterback and the doc ran the score up to an impressive Victory!For the baby whom was given 2-3 hours of life by some Drs. and born St.Patricks day,March 17 1996 turned 12 this year,thanks to your husband/father!May the passing of Bruce prove to be the gaining of your gaurdian angel to watch over you forever!One of his daughters and her husband used to come see me often at the Spurs games.I am the owner of The DOME-DOG in the AlamoDome and football Hall of FAMER EARL CAMPBELL is my sponsor. FOND MEMORIES and a grateful heart to Dr. Bruce McGovern and prayers for your family. Sincerely Gary R. Hankins and Family P.S. Our daughters name is Carolyn CORINA

  28. Marge and family: Bruce’s passing leaves all of us with heavy hearts. Know that you are in our thoughts, prayers, and special memories that we shared early in our careers. His service and contributions to our community, and many of my patients are part of his legacy. It was truly a privilege to know him and work with him through the years. Be well, and abrazos; Beverly and Fernando Guerra and family

  29. The obituary for Dr. McGovern was one of the most beautiful, sincere remembrances I have seen. He was such a wonderful person-so evident by how his patients, families, and colleagues felt. A “Mighty Warrior” has left our presence, and will be sincerely missed by the medical community in San Antonio. God Bless you. Nancy Lehde, RN

  30. Dear McGoverns, Our warmest condolences to all of you. Bruce was a titan in the San Antonio medical community. There will never be anyone else like him. It seemed he could do anything in the operating room. I will always cherish the memories of working with him.

  31. Dr. McGovern performed a routine surgery on our son in 1996, and consulted at length with us on another, much more serious surgery. After spending an hour with us, answering tough questions, some of which challenged his experience and skill with our son’s type of problem, he did not bill us for his time. We ended up going to North Carolina to have that 2nd surgery, but I will never forget the kindness, dignity, and respect shown to us by Dr. McGovern. We marveled that a man of so much importance could be so humble. It was obvious that this man was not just a skilled surgeon, but an angel of the Lord. We have no idea about whether Dr. Govern was a man of faith, but we saw Jesus in him. He holds a special place in our hearts, as I’m sure he does with many other families. Deepest thanks to the family for sharing your husband and father with those of us who needed him so badly.

  32. Dr. McGovern’s daughter, Margo, and I were childhood friends. To this day, I still hold fond memories of Dr. McGovern and how welcome he always made me feel in his home. Many years later, he became my daughter’s doctor and treated her for a mild rib deformity. As always, he showed us the utmost respect and care. He is a special man and will be missed by so many. Margo and family – my thoughts and prayers are with you all during this difficult time. May God give you strength. Sincerely, Doris (Jaeger) Gold

  33. Dear McGovern Family, We would like to send our Condolences. Dr. McGovern Saved my son Marcus’ life. He was born May 24,1988 with many birth defects. I can still remember that day, my Doctor said something was wrong with our baby and Dr.McGovern would come and talk to us. He walked in my room and I started to cry. He was this giant with huge hands how could this man save my child. He looked at us and told us of whats to come and that together we could get through this. Marcus was 1 day old when our journey began. We learned to love and care for Dr. McGovern like family. He would hold my hands and have tears he in his eyes every time Marcus had surgery. He was so caring. He even gaves us his home number in case we needed him. Marcus had 5 surgeries. Marcus is 20 years old now and in college. Without Dr. McGovern we would not be able to thank our God for everyday we have him. May God give you the Strength to go on just like Dr. McGovern gave us. Thank you for sharing him with us and the child who needed him. We will never forget him for the blessings he gave us and love he gave Marcus.

  34. Dear Family, I want to thank you for sharing Dr. McGovern. I met him when my son was 4 years old and needed a possible surgery. After I fainted in his office, I found that Dr. McGovern comforted my son while about 3 nurses tended to me. He took care of children! I really appreciated his knowledge, skill, and caring for children. Emily Simons

  35. Dr. McGovern saved my youngest son’s life 14 years ago. My baby was born with terrible complications and Bruce operated on him five times. His condiition typically has an 80% fatality rate and when the baby survives there is usually brain damage. Not only did my son survive, he just entered high school where he is taking all advanced placement classes. He is healthy and strong. Not a day passes when my wife and I don’t think of Dr. McGovern and the other doctors at the Santa Rosa NICU. Your dad was a wonderful physician, a superb surgeon and one of the most remarkable men I have ever met in my life. He made such an impression on our family that my oldest son has decided to go to medical school. We will never forget your dad.

  36. Margo, I remember you as a student who always thought of others before yourself. Now I ask God to keep you and your family in his care. With sincere and deepest sympathy, JoAnn Eanes


  38. Dear McGovern family my deepest sympathy to hear of Dr. McGovern’s passing. He was a wonderful, wonderful man who will be greatly missed. I worked with Dr. McGovern for twelve years and I have to say he was a very influential man in my life from seeing his day to day interaction with his patients and their families. He was a very special man and the community has lost a giant. I was very saddened to hear of his passing. Keeping your family in my prayers.

  39. This was by far the most touching and sincere story of a life I have ever read. Those of us that work with Margo admire her for her integrity, passion and honesty. An amazing person such as Margo could only come from such a loving home and a life inspired by greatness.

  40. Dr. McGovern and Ms. McGovern are two people that I have admired and respected for many years. As a friend of one of Dr. McGovern’s daughters I spent some time with the McGovern family in High School and later. I was always in awe of Dr. McGovern. As many people have written, he was a heroic-type of man, but he probably would have hated that description. Once we got to go to the hospital and see where he performed surgery and I still remember 30 years later being stunned that he would operate through what looked like a microscope on babies that could probably fit in one of his hands. There were several times that I overheard conversations about families who would bring him gifts of whatever they could because he had not charged them since they didn’t have insurance. From Dr. McGovern I saw first-hand the value of putting others needs before yourself, and of giving to others no matter of their ability to give back. And I was always amazed at Ms. McGovern’s ability to let Dr. McGovern do what he needed to do. I have always loved her free spirit and strength. I will never look at a tube of Neosporin without thinking of Dr. McGovern… and have told my children many times that “they don’t know what it is to be really sick” because I remember Dr. McGovern telling his kids that… after telling them to “put some Neosporin on it.” I have been blessed to know the McGovern family. You are all in my thoughts and prayers.

  41. Dear Mrs. McGovern and Family: I am deeply saddened to hear of Dr. McGovern’s passing. Your beautiful obituary wonderfully describes the doctor and the man, giving us on his patient’s side a look into his personal life. Knowing the major challenges he had to deal with, I can see where “put a little Neosporin on it” came from. Bruce operated on my son Ryan the day he was born in 1988, and 15 more times over the next 13 years, dealing with a major esophageal birth defect. Some surgeries were minor, most were major, three times lasting over 5 hours. It always amazed me how such a large man could operate on babies. Ryan will turn 20 next month. Several times we were told Ryan might not survive a procedure and I know that his life was saved, with God’s help, by Bruce’s skill as a surgeon and caring as a man. We always knew Bruce cared about our son almost as much as we did, sharing with us both the lows of setbacks and the joys of recovery. My family grieves with your family. Know the God has a special place for such a compassionate, extraordinary man. May God comfort and bless your family.

  42. Dear Mrs. McGovern and Family, Ferdinand and I would like to express our sincere sympathy in your loss. Dr. McGovern was a great doctor and friend. I worked with him at Surgical Associates in the 70’s. I learned so much from him about pediatric surgery. I will remember fondly the last time I saw him in the NICU at Methodist, he was so full of life and vitality. We will keep you’ll in our thoughts and prayers. May God give you peace. Ferdinand and Martha Gaenzel

  43. My condolences go out to the McGovern Family. I owe my life to Dr McGovern. He took me in as a patient at the age of 1 with little hope for survival or to ever eat. I had an esophageal burn and he had to replace my esophagus. At times, due to all the damage I was unsure if I would ever eat again. Well, with his hard work and determination I eat with little or no problems at all and I am very healthy. I am now 34 live a very normal life, have 2 beautiful children, and have a very successful career. I owe it all to your husband and father. I am one of the children you spoke about. One of the many successful surgeries he performed on me was approximately 13 hours long. He worked hour after hour and never left my side.After I recovered he walked into my room and said “Now, I am getting too old for this.” We just laughed and I said “you can never get too old to take care of me though.” I was devastated when he retired because I did not know who would be able to take care of me like he did, but he deserved it. I want to say thank you to the family for sharing your loved one with me all those days and nights at the hospital. All the early morning wake up calls. He was never too busy or too tired. He was full of compassion and concern. Your father was a very special man to many and he will be missed.

  44. My deepest and sincerest sympathy go out to the McGovern family. I had the distinct pleasure and honor of working with Dr. McGovern while employed at Santa Rosa Hospital, 17 yrs. ago. He was admired and respected by all who knew him. He always showed kindness not only to his patients but staff as well. He was a wonderful surgeon and will be greatly missed. The medical community has lost a giant of a man. May God give you strength in your time of mourning.

  45. Dear Mrs Mcgovern, Glen, Lee, Jimmy, and Margo You are all in my prayers at the passing of Dr Mcgovern…He was a great man and you all are a great family. When the obituary read the he enjoyed fishing, it reminded me of the time when we all went to Port Aransas deep sea fishing. Glen and I and Steve Layer had just graduated from high school and Bruce took us all fishing. Bruce was reeling in a 7 foot long hammerhead shark, throwing up at the same time…what a trip. God Bless you all

  46. Such a beautiful tribute to a wonderful man. I worked at Sta Rosa Children’s Hospital in the late 1980s as a new nurse and Dr. McGovern was one of the physicians that helped to shape my practice. A tall and quiet man, he was a gentle giant with the kids and their parents. He always took time to talk with the parents and kids no matter what and he cared very deeply for them. I remember one patient in particular – a young boy who was very fond of James Bond movies. Dr. McGovern was sporting the same beard as Sean Connery at that time and the boy was excited to think that he might have “Dr. 007” on his case. When the boy asked him if he was really James Bond – I held my breath because I didn’t know him very well and was a little concerned what he would think – well to my relief and the boy’s delight Dr. McGovern just smiled and played along with him! He truly was a wonderful man and physician and he made an impact on the lives of so many. He will be missed. My thoughts and prayers are with your family.

  47. Dear McGovern Family, I am very saddened by the loss your father/husband. I have very fond memories of times spent by your pool or watching Wimbeldon on that small TV in the sitting room. I know you will miss him dearly; but know that each of you have fantastic memories of his dry wit and humor. I wish you all well and hope that time will ease your pain and sadness.

  48. You all know how many hours I have spent at the McGovern home with many great memories. I was in nothern New Mexico when I had appendiciitis. Bruce met me at the airport, took me to the emergency room, found a surgeon and stayed with me until all was well. Just what Bruce needed on his day off – another day at the hospital. That is a true friend and I will miss him very much.

  49. Family of Dr. McGovern, I was so sad to see the obituary for Dr. McGovern, he was a true hero to our family. After years of trying to find out what was wrong with our very sick son, he took the chance no one else would take and operated on him. Thanks to him, we finally found out what was wrong with him and it was something that had never been seen before. He saved our sons life. When he retired, it was like losing a friend and it took a long time to find another surgeon for our son. What a blessing he was. May God be with you and pour his blessings upon you. Mr and Mrs Steve Vance Boerne, Tx

  50. Dr. McGovern was an amazing surgeon to whom I could always refer my patients with confidence. I was sad when he retired, though he certainly deserved it. My mother is also at Barton House/Colonial Gardens. I am so sorry I did not realize that Dr. McGovern was there. He was/is a treasure to San Antonio. Thank you for sharing so much of him and your family in the obituary. It brought back many memories. My condolences for you, his family.

  51. I had the privelege of working for Dr. McGovern for 20 years. Dr. McGovern had very few employees while in private practice who stayed a long time. That says a lot about him as a person and physician. He was great to work for. He treated each patient as if they were the only one and took all the time it needed to lessen their worries. He will be missed.

  52. Dear Mrs. McGovern & Family: I read the article & comments today written by Amy Dorsett “Longtime pediatric surgeon McGovern loved running”. I also am very blessed to have known Dr Bruce McGovern who saved my son’s life 31 years ago. Years later I ran into him at the Methodist Hospital and thanked him. I will forever remember such a great and caring doctor for saving my son’s life! He told me that my son would have to live 30 days before he would give me his chance of living. His hands were blessed! I extend my deepest sympathy to his family.

  53. Condolences to the McGovern family, there will be many stories of Dr.McGovern’s patients.He operated on my son when he was just 6 weeks old.We were told that our son had a very low chance of surviving and that if any doctor could save him , it would be Dr.McGovern. We met Dr. McGovern who explained to us fully what he was going to do…try to form a bile duct or try to open it…either way we were very frightened.Dr.McGovern put at ease and told us if we saw him come out with a smile then all was well. We waited forever it seemed but finally the doctor emerged with the biggest smile I had ever seen!! And I knew everything was going to be ok.My son is 31 years old and doing fine…thanks to Dr.McGovern and God…later after i thanked him again I told him that I thought he looked like Charlton Heston only better looking only to see that big smile again!! He was a great physician and more important a great human being!! Thank you Doc for all that you did for my son and family!!God will keep you in His kingdom forever!!

  54. Our condolences to all of Dr.McGovern’s family..I also wanted to share my memory of Dr McGovern. His kindness eased my fears when he stated what he would do to help our Ricky. He would do all his best during surgery to clear our infant son’s bile ducts. When I saw his big – yes Charlton Heston smile as he came out of surgery, I was so thankful. He was a very caring gentleman and an excellent doctor. God Bless you all. Juanita Hernandez San Antonio,Tx

  55. The Family of Dr. Bruce Mcgovern, I was first blessed with the friendship of Glenn. Later I became a nurse at Santa Rosa Hospital and became a student of and eventually friend of Bruce. The obituary was beautiful and true. He truly cared for his patients and adored his family. I know he was well loved and that you will miss him. Our world is a better place because he was in it.

  56. My condolences go out to the family of Dr. McGovern. I wanted to share my memory of him…I was pregnant with my now 14 year old daughter when I first met him, she was diagnosed, while still in the womb, with gastroschsis and I was told I needed to have a surgeon onsite when she was born. He was very comforting and explained all the risks involved of an at birth surgery which included fatality. On March 7, 1994 he performed surgery on my Angel and saved her life! She is my miracle baby and he performed nothing short of an absolute mircale! Everytime we spoke of him I’d always call him my hero, my guardian angel! Thank you and may God Bless your family.

  57. Dear McGoverns, You are all in my thoughts and prayers. Am so sad to hear about Dr. McGovern. What a wonderful personal and professional legacy he has left. Love, Yana Duke Gordon

  58. Dear McGoverns, You are all in my thoughts and prayers. Am so sad to hear about Dr. McGovern. What a wonderful personal and professional legacy he has left.

  59. To the family of Dr. McGovern I moved to San Antonio in 1985, worked with Dr. McGovern at that time in the PICU. He became my friend, he taught me how to be the best nurse I could possibly be. He was always teaching, always wanting to make us all better practioners and I thank him for that. We bantered back and forth about our children’s high school alma maters, his were from Churchill, if I remembered correctly, and mine went to Judson. On Fridays I would wear my red t-shirts and he always wanted to call administration on me, what a sense of humor. He was a lovely person, one who will be dearly missed by all those who worked with or were cared for by him. I moved to Ok City 9 yrs ago, but he made and effort to come by my going away reception to wish me good luck. I appreciated his respect and find it hard to even imagine him not being here to carry on his fine work. Good luck to you all, he was a tremendous man and we all have lost someone with his passing.

  60. To the McGovern family, My sincerest thoughts are with you all. Even with his difficulties, Bruce still had the best sense of humor. I love laughing, teasing and telling jokes together. That big ol’ bear really gave “bear hugs” and I enjoyed everyone of them. I am grateful for having some time in my life to share and get to know “Brucie-Bruce” and his family. Toni Ward

  61. To the family of Dr. Bruce McGovern. I first met Dr. McGovern as a new GN in the PICU at Santa Rosa Children’s Hospital some 21 yrs ago. We all held him in high esteem not only for the way he took care of his patients, but the way he treated everyone he worked with. I read with particular interest your recollections of his frustration when his patients weren’t doing well. I remember one in particular who was a very difficult case. It was around Christmas and the annual party was being held at one of the physician’s homes. I asked him if he was going, and he said he didn’t feel much like it. I encouraged him to go and take a break for a little while. When my husband and I arrived at the party, he and Mrs. McGovern were there. He didn’t say anything, just came over and gave me a kiss on the cheek. I can’t tell you how much that meant to me. Just a small remembrance of what a great man he was, as I’m sure you all know much better that I. He will be missed by all who had the priveledge to know and work with him. Sincerely, Lucy Macnak RN

  62. To the McGovern Family, It was my privilege to work periodically with Dr. McGovern in Radiology at the Methodist Hospital. He was all that you wrote. He epitomized what a physician should be. With warmest regards, Harvey M. Goldstein. M.D.

  63. To the McGovern family, I was very saddened to read about the death of Dr. McGovern. He will always have a special place in my heart. Unfortunately, my baby was one of the few unsuccessful cases he had. In 1972 he operated on my 7 week old baby boy–only to come tell us that he had Biliary Artresia (no bile ducts in his liver) and had only a year to live. I could tell that Dr. McGovern felt our pain. During the next ten months that Ronnie lived, Dr. McGovern showed me compassion with each office visit. In Ronnie’s final days in the hospital, Dr. McGovern told the staff “there are no rules for this family”. That meant so much to me. Dr. McGovern was a wonderful man and I will always be grateful for the tenderness he showed during that difficult year.

  64. Dear Dr. Bruce McGovern Family: It is with great admiration and respect that I want to offer my condolences on the death of Dr. Bruce McGovern. I recently learned that he was a United States Air Force veteran. Please know that he is mourned even by those of us who weren’t fortunate enough to know him personally. As Chair of the Senate Committee on Veteran Affairs and Military Installations, I appreciate his sacrifices on behalf of our great nation. God bless you and your family during this difficult time. Warm Regards,

  65. Dear McGovern Family, It is with a heavy heart I learned of Dr McGovern’s passing. I have such found memories of him and working with him for so many years. I first came to work with him in the Air Force, I was all of 18 years old and a medic and he was the surgeon on call…he was tall, smart and so intimidating but was gentle and loving. My own father was also tall, smart and paled in comparison. Bruce showed me that it was okay to be gentle and take care of patients and be a man. Years later, in 1986, I was pleased to come across his path at Santa Rosa Childrens ED. My wife Anna also worked with him at Methodist Childrens Hospital with numerous positive and like experiences. On a more personal note we would run into him and his wife Marjorie at Ez’s when we took the kids to the movies. Thank You Jesus for letting us experience first hand someone with the heart of a lion and God’s divine grace working through his hands. He will be missed but no one is more deserving of final peace. Luis & Anna

  66. My deepest sympathy to the McGovern family for your loss. I worked at Santa Rosa Children’s Hospital from 1968-1978. During this time I had the privilege of working with Dr. McGovern and his tiny patients. He was always so caring and gentle with his patients but also with the nursing staff. I learned much from him as he made rounds and he was never too rushed to answer questions. I took care of many of his patients and know that the families that entrusted their children to his skillful hands were always grateful that he had come into their lives. He will be missed by all those who knew him.

  67. Dear McGovern Family-I learned of Bruce’s death through other long time friends of yours, The Jim Carrolls. Richard and I are so sorry for your loss. The obituary was beautifully done. It made me smile and tear up at the same time. It was a lovely tribute to a fine man. I know you will miss him. We remember our all too few times with Bruce and Marj with great affection. Karen Martin

  68. My wife and I always felt blessed to have known Dr. McGovern who saved our daughter’s life more than once, and thanks to him, we have a wonderful 33 year old woman with a 2 year old son (our grandson). His memory certainly lives on with us and several generations. It may be a cliche, but Dr. McGovern will be missed by many, and certainly by my entire family. Our deepest sympathy to the entire McGovern family. We are certainly happy that he settled in San Antonio, and therefore made our lives whole.

  69. I had the distinct pleasure of knowing and watching Dr. McGovern while working as a nurse in Santa Rosa Childrens’ Pediatric Oncology unit (at that time the sixth floor). I was always amazed at his skills and his attitude. I am so lucky to have known this fine man. Heartfelt condolences to his family.

  70. I had the pleasure of meeting this wonderful doctor. He performed a surgery on my son. He was a pleasant man and a caring doctor. The city has truly lost a good surgeon.

  71. Dear McGovern Family,

    My name is Daniel Monzon, I was born in May of 1980, and was 2 months premature and lived most of my first two years in the Santa Rosa Children’s Hospital in San Antonio. I remember Dr. McGovern and still have fond memories of him. I honestly believe he saved my life, and my parents told me I was going to die and was read my death rights as well. Until Dr. McGovern came by my side and performed the surgery on me, I had complications with my Kidneys. I remember seeing him for years after that. In 1995 I again had surgery on my kidneys and remember asking that I wanted Dr. McGovern to perform the surgery. He gladly accepted and remember that as being the last time I saw him as I joined the Military shortly after. I wanted to Thank You and also to reach out and give my condolences to you and your family. But to thank you and let you know how incredible he was to me. Thank you.

  72. Dear McGovern Family

    I was one of Dr. McGovern’s patients in 1972. I was born with spina bifida and very critical. He took on my case til my early teens. He was always encouraging my young parents to have faith that all would turn out fine. I am now 43 yrs old and he has never left my heart and mind… Ever. Even as a very small child he left a life time of lasting impression on me. His kind nature and way to put me at ease as I was needing many surgeries back then. I still remember the last surgery he did was so complex. He reseached 2 other doctors to help with what was a marathon of 12 and a half hours in the O.R… I am living proof that all his personal scarafice was not in vain.


    Dr. McGovern

    Raul Casarez, Jr.

  73. Dr. McGovern family: Your esteemed and distinguished loved one and staff saved me, my parents 3rd/baby son, from impending death and or a life of constant care, my birthday, 13 June, 1982, via chopper from Seguin Tx. The strongest person I’ve ever known, Dad (6’2.5”, spoke of Dr. McGovern as a saint). I know not why I was spared, but if I may ever be service to any of you, in whatever humble way I can, I’d be honored. CB, TE Fistula Bcal13712@gmail SCAMMERS BEWARE: Any & All Information Obtained From You Will Be Emailed To Federal Authorities & Even Worse A Highly Capable “Troll Farm” That Loves To Harass Scammers.

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