Whether it was making late-night house calls or accepting chickens as a form of payment, Dr. D. Keith Millett was the kind of doctor seldom seen today.
Millett, an orthopedic surgeon who practiced in Minneapolis and in Phoenix, passed away in Phoenix on April 21. He was 93.
He was born in Mesa, Ariz., and graduated in 1945 from Northwestern Medical School in Evanston, Ill., after a brief stint in the Army stateside as a medic.
A doctor in Minneapolis encouraged him to partner in practice in Minnesota, where he remained from 1951 to 1980.
In 1963, he was named head of the hospital medical staff at what was then Northwestern Hospital in Minneapolis and later became Abbott Northwestern.
He also served as a Rotary International president in Edina and was a vestry member of St. Stephen's Episcopal Church.
Mary Phelps, one of Millett's daughters, said his sense of service influenced her to become an Episcopal priest.
"He truly believed we should all care for one another and give to our communities," she said. "He loved God and felt called to follow the example Jesus gave us to serve our fellow humans."
He also offered his services for years without compensation to patients at the Shriners Hospitals for Children.
Millett joined several other doctors in 1983 in submitting an article to the Journal of the American Medical Association that described the success of injections from an enzyme derived from papayas in the treatment of herniated disks.
During a period when orthopedists were less likely to have specialties, Millett's daughter remembered him staying up late to research a delicate hand surgery he was scheduled to perform.
She also remembered that his payments came in many forms. One patient paid part of his bill with chickens. Another provided gifts of Ukrainian Easter eggs, which decorated the family home for years.
"I couldn't go anywhere in the city without someone saying, 'Are you Dr. Millett's daughter?' " Phelps said.
"There was a lot more respect for all professions back then, but at the same time there was a closeness you couldn't replicate."
Millett continued his medical practice in the Phoenix area until his retirement in 1990. In Arizona he also served and was named emeritus member of the board of directors for the River of Time Museum in Fountain Hills.
He is survived by his wife, Dorothy, and three daughters, Mary Phelps, P. Sue Ybarra and Marcia Gregory. Other survivors include four grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.
Services in Arizona have been held.