October 17, 2020

A message from Linda Bine to all Dear Folksies subscribers, Facebook followers and friends,

Please accept my sincere appreciation and gratitude for your support since I launched this “blog,” on April 11, 2017, to honor my father and all the members of the 59th Evacuation Hospital. The project has been a labor of love – sometimes more labor, sometimes more love. It was your continued interest and feedback that kept me going for the past 3-1/2 years – publishing 530 posts featuring my Dad’s letters and photographs, as well as excerpts from the journal of Dr. Philip Westdahl and the occasional item I thought you would find of interest.

In this last post, I will answer the question, “What did René do after the War?”

P.S. We are currently working on a transformation of the Dear Folksies website – from a blog site to a resource. All of René’s letters and photographs will be here, but in a format that is easier to browse and search.
In the meantime, you can use the search box (click on the magnifying glass icon at the top right of the page) to look for letters mentioning certain people or places. You also can go to the Letter Archive at the bottom of each page to read letters from a particular period of time.
Stay tuned!

      Contrary to what he told his sister Marie-Louise, René did not become a surgeon or go into practice with his father. Instead, in 1947, after a stint doing research, he established a private practice in Internal Medicine and Cardiology in San Francisco. Throughout his career, he was on staff at Mt. Zion Hospital, where he trained countless residents in the art of medicine.

       It was at Mt. Zion in 1946 that he met a nurse named Eleanor Gamboni. Actually, it was his father, also on staff at Mt. Zion, who introduced the two. Elle and René were married in November 1946. Their son René III was born in 1949, and their daughter Linda in 1953.

       In addition to being beloved by his patients in San Francisco, René shared his knowledge of nutrition and its relation to heart disease with people around the country, as a volunteer with the American Heart Association (AHA). He wrote numerous articles and pamphlets on cardiovascular topics, including “A Guide to Sodium; Why You Should Eat Less,” which was distributed nationwide to more than 30,000 people through the AHA.

       Actively involved in the American Heart Association for 30 years, he served as San Francisco chapter president in 1962, California president from 1968-1970 and national vice president in 1978. The organization presented him with a number of awards, including the AHA Award of Merit, which they say “is reserved for those who have made significant contributions to the national Heart program and to cardiovascular medicine.”

       In 1980, René was featured in an article in the Wall Street Journal that began, “In this city of conviviality, René Bine, Jr. has evidence of his winning bedside manner. He carries keys to four women’s apartments. Dr. Bine, however, is no roué. He is a respectable physician and the four women average 87 years of age. His possession of their keys shows that even in this age of proliferating medical technology, the house call isn’t extinct.” Both Linda and René III have fond childhood memories of accompanying their Dad on weekend morning housecalls and rounds in the hospital.

       Also in 1980, René organized the 10th reunion of the 59th Evacuation Hospital Unit – with doctors, nurses, enlisted men and non-medical officers coming from all over the country — to reconnect and reminisce. Click here for the text of one of the thank you notes he received for his efforts.

       Throughout his life, René remained close to his French relatives, especially Yvette Baumann Bernard Farnoux. In 1982, he returned to France for the first time since the War, accompanied by his wife Elle. She recounted that when René visited the beach near St. Tropez where he had landed in August 1944, he stood for at least 30 minutes, lost in thought, staring out to sea. In Paris, he introduced Elle to some of his favorite places, and was able to reunite in-person with his dear cousins Yvette and Claudine.

       In 1985, even though René was ill with a rare autoimmune disease and in a wheelchair, he insisted on going to the reunion of the 59th Evac. Hospital to see his dear friends.

        He passed away in 1988 at the age of 73.

René with hospital colleagues.

Eleanor Gamboni (Elle)

René and Elle’s wedding, November 14, 1946. Left to right: Lillian Sinsheimer (René’s maternal grandmother, Gram), René Sr., Alma, Elle, René and Barbara (Bobsy, René’s youngest sister).

René and Elle on their honeymoon.

René, Linda, René III and Elle in 1960 at Lake Tahoe – René’s favorite vacation spot.

René in 1966.

René in Paris in 1982 with his French cousins, sisters Claudine Aaronson and Yvette Farnoux.

Elle and René in 1986.