An alumnus I wish I’d met: Louis Reznick, D.O.’70

DMU graduates every day make life-changing contributions in their professions and communities. Louis Reznick, D.O.’70, who died Jan. 21, 2022, did that and more: He made people laugh. 

An old lady asks her lawyer to prepare her will and requests her ashes be spread in Walmart. The lawyer said, “Why in Walmart?” She said, “That way I know my daughters will visit me at least once a week.” 

After serving as a captain and flight surgeon during the Vietnam War, Dr. Reznick took care of patients of all ages for more than 40 years at his practice in Glendale, NY, which his wife, Sylvia, calls “Archie Bunker land.” 

The neighborhood was so dangerous, we changed our telephone area code to 911 and business picked right up. 

“Back then, people didn’t go to the emergency room; they came to the doctor on the corner,” Sylvia says. “Everybody brought their kids in. He knew how to put a smile on your face. And he was a brilliant physician.” 

He loved teaching medical students on rotations at local hospitals, and he lectured extensively on health conditions including hypertension, rheumatology and heart disease. He was the Worshipful Master of his Masonic Lodge, which served the community. He was a loving husband, father and son-in-law, although he teased that he’d bought the couple’s second home in Florida as a way to be free of his mother-in-law. He loved to cook, go fishing and travel. Sylvia got him into raising and showing Pekingese and Bichon Frise dogs. When he retired, he didn’t plan to sit around. 

“He liked to go to comedy clubs, so he went to comedy college on Long Island,” Sylvia says. “Then he’d go around doing standup at these little clubs in Long Island, Westchester and Manhattan, and he just loved it.” 

I did a gig for a senior citizens’ center to bring some joy to our elders…This elderly woman came up to me and said that I was terrible and my jokes weren’t funny. This saddened me and I apologized. Then her friend came up to me and said, “Don’t pay any attention to Sarah. She has Alzheimer’s disease and doesn’t know what she is talking about.” I thanked her and felt much better until she said, “She just repeats what everybody else says!” 

When strokes impaired Dr. Reznick’s speech, he decided to collect his many years of joke-telling into a book, Comedy is Therapy: Don’t Die Laughing (Outskirts Press, 2018). The jokes – some shared here in italics – are categorized by type (religion, politics, Irish jokes, sex, health, Monica Lewinsky, etc.), with many decidedly not politically correct. But the book offers something for everyone. 

My father, who came to the U.S.A. from Russia, told me as a little boy that this is a GREAT country where anyone born here can grow up to be president. After our last election, I completely believe it! 

Dr. Reznick, may you have them rolling in the aisles of heaven. Rest – and laugh – in peace. 

– Barbara Dietrich Boose, editor 

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