Eugene Diamond worked tirelessly to help children, whether during his long career as a pediatrician, as a staunch supporter of living or raising his large family.
The South Side native had his practice in Mt. For more than six decades, Greenwood founded a Morgan Park organization that helped women experiencing pregnancy crises, and wrote several works on medical ethics and fatherhood.
Diamond passed away on June 1 at the age of 94 and his many loved ones remember his passion, brilliance and endless energy.
“My father was ridden,” said his oldest son, Gene. “His father died suddenly and tragically when Dad was about 6 years old. It left quite a hole in him, but it also started a fire. And that fire burned quite incandescent for the rest of his life.”
Diamond was the sole practitioner in his office, which had two locations on 111th Street in Mt. Greenwood through the years.
He worked until he was 85.
A day in the life, his son said, started by taking home calls from his patients and then visiting patients at nearby hospitals. After that, he often drove to Loyola University-Chicago, where he earned his medical degree and later worked with residents and interns.
He returned home around dinner time and spent many nights writing.
Diamond used his gifts “to help the unfortunate,” Gene said. Diamond was born during the Great Depression and grew up on the South Side “with literally nothing,” so he understood the plight of those underprivileged.
His pro-life attitude developed from his deep Catholic faith.
“He was a zealous advocate of the unborn throughout his professional life,” Gene said. “It was a matter close to his heart.”
With his late wife, Rosemary, Diamond founded Birthright of Chicago in 1970, which was located at 112th Street and Western Avenue and provided support for young pregnant women.
The couple married on November 11, 1950, and they raised 13 children, who lived in Morgan Park in their early years before moving to Palos Park.
Rosemary, who died in August 2019, was from Des Moines, Iowa, Gene said, and grew up with “not much more” than her husband. Their children were inspired by their parents’ love for each other, Gene said, and how they used their refined organizational skills to keep the family running smoothly.
“If we hadn’t been so organized, our house would have been chaos all the time,” Gene said. “Daddy could compartmentalize. He devoted himself infinitely to his professional pursuits, but was equally devoted to his family. We always knew that when we were with him, we had his undivided attention – and Mom’s, of course.”
Meg Enright, the tenth oldest child, said her parents had time to be together, including in the morning before Eugene went to the office and when he came home for lunch. Her parents were always on the go, but she and her siblings enjoyed a wonderful childhood.
“It was a fun way to grow up,” she said. “They both worked very hard.”
Because no matter how organized her parents were, Enright added, they also accepted that life wouldn’t always go as planned.
“Things go wrong,” she said, “so you do as much as you can, and then you leave the rest to God.”
Diamond, a US Navy veteran, graduated from Mt. Carmel High School in 1943, the University of Notre Dame in 1947 and Loyola University-Chicago Stritch School of Medicine in 1949.
He later became clinical professor of pediatrics and chairman of the department of pediatrics in Loyola.
Diamond was on the staff of several South Side hospitals, including St. Francis Hospital in Blue Island, Little Company of Mary Hospital, Advocate Christ Medical Center, and Palos Community Hospital.
A mother of several children who were patients of Diamond, Mary Hansen, said she met him when her then 5-year-old daughter had a serious health problem. Doctors at several hospitals disagreed on what was wrong with the child, and a friend recommended that Hansen visit Diamond – who immediately diagnosed the girl. The youngster is healthy and in his fifties.
Hansen said that “of course we stayed with” Diamond, and her children remained patients until he retired.
Hansen is grateful that Diamond took those calls at home every morning from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. to help his patients.
“Either he would tell you to go straight to the hospital, come to the office and meet him, or send in a prescription,” Hansen said. “But it solved the problem.”
Diamond also had a great sense of humor, Hansen said, and when she was in the mom club at Maria High School, she invited him over to talk about his pro-life attitude. He changed people’s minds that night, Hansen said, and she credited him with working all day and then, instead of going home, attending the club meeting.
“I said I’d like his resume,” Hansen said, “at the Golden Gate.”
One of her sons, Mike Hansen, married Diamond’s youngest child, Brigid.
Diamond was his doctor from the day he was born through college.
Mike Hansen called Diamond a “lifesaver for our family” because he also cared for Hansen’s older brother, who was seriously ill.
“He was incredibly intelligent,” Mike said. “You won’t find a more devoted person.”
He praised Diamond for running his practice alone. Diamond had a direct approach that kept patients at ease.
“You always left with the assurance,” said Hansen, “that everything would be all right.”
Diamond was president of the Catholic Physician’s Guild, the Illinois Academy of Pediatrics, the World Federation of Doctors Who Respect Life, the Calumet Branch of the Chicago Medical Society, the St. Francis Hospital Medical Staff, the National Federation of Catholic Physicians’ Guilds, and the Illinois Family Institute.
He was a Distinguished Fellow of the Center for Bioethics and Human Dignity, and he has received numerous honors and awards, including Pediatrician of the Year-Illinois Chapter, American Academy of Pediatrics, in 1980, and the Summerhill Award from Birthright International in 1995.
He has also published several books, including “The Large Family: A Blessing and a Challenge,” “A Child of the Depression,” “Passion of a Believer,” and “A Catholic Guide to Medical Ethics.”
Eugene and Rosemary Diamond had 72 grandchildren and 37 great-grandchildren, and the newest baby was born on June 6, the day after Eugene’s funeral.
Many of them attended Marist High School, where Eugene, the late Rosemary and their family received the Time and Eternity Award in October 2020 for their commitment to the Catholic faith, pro-life advocacy and support of Catholic education.
Eugene Diamond loved soccer at Notre Dame, the Bears, the White Sox, and the Bulls, and even did painting and was known for singing in the house.
In his last years he remained an active reader and writer.
“He was 80 years old,” Mike Hansen said, “and he was still working to get better. … He had an incredible work ethic and never gave up.”
Funeral services were held on June 5 at St. Alexander Roman Catholic Church. Kerry Funeral Home took care of the arrangements.
Diamond is survived by his children, Eugene (Mary), Peter (Jeanne), Mary Beth (Rich) Evans, Terrence, Brian (Lourdes), Sean (Carmel), Moira (John) Daly, Sheila, Erin (Mike) O’ Sullivan, Meg (Brian) Enright, Tim (Sharon), Mark (Maribeth), and Brigid (Mike) Hansen; 72 grandchildren; and 37 great-grandchildren.