Dr. Ettore F. Carniglia remembered as local hero

By Lisa Stone - ReminderNews
Windsor Locks - posted Mon., Sep. 30, 2013
Author and historian Phillip Devlin introduces his new book, ‘Carney: The Remarkable Life of Ettore F. Carniglia, MD.’ Photos by Lisa Stone.
Author and historian Phillip Devlin introduces his new book, ‘Carney: The Remarkable Life of Ettore F. Carniglia, MD.’ Photos by Lisa Stone.

Author and historian Philip Devlin paid homage to a small-town hero at Windsor Locks Public Library on Sept. 19. People quickly filled the community room at the library in anticipation of the introduction of Devlin’s new book, “Carney: The Remarkable Life of Ettore F. Carniglia, MD.”

“I wrote this book because I believe Dr. Carniglia - or Carney, as he was known by friends - was such an exceptional human being that his life story was begging to be told,” said Devlin. “He was such a brilliant man. He could have practiced anywhere, and yet he decided to practice right here in Windsor Locks. He definitely had the respect of the community. There will never be another doctor like that again.”

The introduction of Devlin’s book reads, “It is no exaggeration to state that he was a brilliant man. His academic records at both Loomis ad Harvard are simply outstanding. His diagnostic acumen is legendary. With his outstanding achievement at Harvard both as an undergraduate and as a medical student, Ettore Francis Carniglia had plenty of opportunities to follow career paths in research or in academia; instead, he chose to become what he called ‘a country doctor’ back in his hometown. I believe that his choice to stay in his hometown to serve his neighbors reveals a great deal about his character. He wanted to give back to his community – the community that enabled him to live the American dream to its fullest. Carney immersed himself in the town’s affairs, serving as the town health officer, the school doctor, a member of the board of education, the county medical examiner, a director of the local savings and loan association, and a member of the police commission. He was an active presence in Windsor Locks.”

Marilyn Norman was one of the many people interested in Carniglia’s life who came to the presentation. “I admire Dr. Carney very much,” said Norman. “I remember him. He was a great doctor. He really cared about people. He only charged $3 a visit. If you didn’t have the money, he would accept brownies or something like that in exchange. He was a one in a million.”

Devlin asked Dr. Gerald F. Burke to speak in front of the crowd. “I practiced with Dr. Carney,” said Burke. “If you passed him on the street, you wouldn’t think he was anything special, but he really was. He was an exceptionally brilliant man.  He was far from pretentious, and yet he deserved to be. He had an uncanny ability to diagnose very difficult and unique ailments. He was the go-to guy for diagnosis. The whole town worshiped him.”

Devlin was one of the many children in the Windsor Locks area that Carniglia delivered. Devlin remembers his mother, as well as several other ladies in the area, bringing Carniglia a homemade meal at supper time to his house on North Street. “Mr. Netolicky had a farm on North Street,” said Devlin. “He grew strawberries. He showed my father and me how large the strawberries were.  They were the size of golf balls. He let us know that those strawberries were grown special just for Dr. Carney. That is how much the community loved the man.”

For information about upcoming events at Windsor Locks Public Library, visit www.windsorlockslibrary.org.

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