Name: Dr. Loring Stead
Age: 7th decade of life
Occupation: Foot and ankle surgeon
Where we found him: Rochester Civic Theatre
What should I know about you? Our life is really centered on faith, family, friends, football and “God Bless the USA.” You want to know about me? Go to my Facebook page. It’s about service above self. Leadership 2000 was a group they started in the early ‘90s. I was in the second group of that. Now it’s called Leadership Greater Rochester—and it’s looking at the needs of your community, and trying to fill those needs. From that, I did 14 years at Hiawatha Children’s Home and Foundation, then at Rochester Foundation. I was involved in First Homes there. And, most recently, I’ve been with IMAA—involved with the refugee crisis and what’s going on there.
Who’s your football team? Without a doubt, Vikings. We have a pontoon—anybody who’s out on Zumbro has seen us—it’s the S.S. Uffda. We have goalposts on both ends, purple and gold, and great big shields on the side that show Pam and I. We do like to get to games whenever we can. We’re all about the Mayo Spartans, Gopher football, Vikings football.
Are you from Rochester? I grew up in the Harmony area. I’ve always been in southeast Minnesota. I was trained at Luther, then medical school in Chicago.
Did you meet your wife in college? Pam and I met in high school. We’ve been married for 37 years. We dated for seven years, and knew each other as best friends for seven years prior to that. I’m Norwegian, she’s Swedish, and we got married on Syttende Mai. If you know anything about that, we got our freedom from Sweden that day. I’m happy to say I lost my freedom that day!
You have two kids? Three. We have Danielle, in Dallas. She’s married to Bryant, and we have a grandchild, Reagan. And then Loring John—LJ—in San Francisco. And then our daughter, Ellison, who is a junior at the University of Missouri in Columbia. After we had the oldest two, I had a vasectomy. Because that’s what you do, right? Ten years after the vasectomy, I say to Pammy, “I think I want another baby.” She said, “You’ve got to be kidding me.” Within 10 months, I had the vasectomy reversed and there was a baby in her hands. She was just a trooper. My biggest driving force besides my faith is my Pammy.
You were in Dancing for the Arts? It was awesome. That was last year. They said, “Would you like to dance?” I said, “I don’t know how to dance, but if it’s for a cause, I would like to do it!” They asked what music I wanted. If you’re old, they’re thinking Bing Crosby or something like that. I said, “Let’s do ‘Jump’ by Van Halen.” It was really a spoof, because I have two artificial hips. I got the moves, but I can’t jump at all.
When we set up this interview, you were on your way to Nicaragua. We’ve got a group and some of those docs have had a longstanding mission trip relationship with Honduras for many years. Nice, nice guys. There’s maybe eight from Mayo and then myself from Olmsted. The group has done it for over 20 years; I’ve done it for a couple. … It’s called the Adventure Club, and we have tried to do some good works. This year we went to Nicaragua. We left Honduras; it was too dangerous to go back.
Memorable travel story? I was one of the Team USA Track & Field docs, and we were in Athens for the World Games. On the team back then was Flo-Jo and Jackie Joyner Kersee. I was there with my kids who were little, and we checked in at this hotel where the docs would stay. It was like a Holiday Inn, and everyone spoke English. We’d gone out with some friends … and when we came back, they had goofed up our reservation. Now no one would speak English to us. It was totally screwed up. I called Track & Field and they had me in a limo within an hour, to the Grand Bretagne—it’s like a palace. It’s where the athletes were put up. We went from this teeny-tiny room to a four-bedroom mansion. It was literally the presidential suite—two or three previous U.S. presidents had been there.
How long have you worked at OMC? Thirty-three years. Since 1983. The [Post Bulletin] did an article on my casts. I’ve done 20,000 casts in 30 years, and I have a wall of fame for casts. It started in 1989 when I was taking a cast off a patient and Danielle came in. She was two, and The Little Mermaid had come out. Someone had painted a mermaid on the cast and she said, “Dad, you should save that cast.” Now, I have room for 10—maybe 12—and I get to decide what goes up on the wall of fame. … It’s cast art.
What would someone be surprised to learn about you? That there are times when I enjoy being quiet and listening. I’m pretty animated, but I like walking quietly out at Isaak Walton and reflecting quietly about how blessed we all are. Just think: Of all the times to live since the start of creation, you get to live now. Of all the planets, you get Earth. Of all the countries, the United States. Of all the states, Minnesota. Of all the cities, Rochester. So blessed.