Russell James Pischinger, M.D., former radiologist at Scott & White Medical Center in Temple, passed away on January 22 at the age of 77. Born in Cleveland to Walter and Loretta Pischinger, Russ, as he was most often called, eventually was raised by his Polish immigrant grandparents, Andrew and Bertha Zola. After high school, he joined the Air Force, serving as a medic in Savannah.
A bright, curious and self-admitted mischievous young man, Russ had an affinity for disassembling and reassembling everything he could get his hands on. This knack for sophisticated manipulation would earn him an Engineering degree from Arizona State University, where he also happened upon “the woman of his dreams,” Chonie Hawkins. The two were married in 1965.
The newlyweds’ first adventure after college brought them to Albuquerque, where Russ worked as a project engineer at the Air Force Nuclear Weapons Laboratory at Kirtland Air Force Base. After the two-year stint, the Pischingers returned to Russ’s home state where he was accepted into the newly-formed United States Air Force Medical Services Education Program and was then accepted into Ohio State
University’s College of Medicine. After graduation, they moved to San Antonio for Russ’s four-year internship and residency at Wilford Hall Medical Center at Lackland Air Force Base, followed by a one-year fellowship at the University of Oklahoma. Russ was Board-certified in Diagnostic Radiology, and—upon completion of his training—he practiced radiology and served as a faculty member at the teaching hospital at Travis Air Force Base in Fairfield, California. After serving 20 years, Russ retired as a Lieutenant Colonel in the military.
Dr. and Mrs. Pischinger expanded their family, joyfully welcoming two children, Scott and Channin, in 1971 and 1976, respectively. During Russ’s successful career as a physician, the family enjoyed a lengthy stay in Longmont, Colorado, in private medical practice before transferring to the prestigious Scott & White Medical Center in Temple. As an active member of the local medical community, one of Russ’s greatest joys was teaching and interacting with the residents as a faculty member of the Texas A&M College of Medicine on the Scott & White campus.
After retiring in 1998, Russ enjoyed playing golf, spending quality time with his grandchildren, exercising at the Belton High School Swim Center, fly-fishing in Colorado, bass fishing in Texas and staying current on the latest trends in technology with his many computers and phones. He always stayed in technology lecture-mode, teaching anyone and everyone around him about pixels, RAM, resolution, speed solutions and more. In fact, he did such a great job imparting knowledge and wisdom in his young grandchildren, they recently humored their Papa by making a high-tech video roasting him. Russ was known for his witty, dry sense of humor and loved a good battle of the wits more than anything. He could dish it out and he could also take it – often with a hearty belly-laugh. Best of all, Russ always lived by his personal motto: “no regrets.”
Russ is survived by his wife of 53 years, Chonie Pischinger; his son, Scott Pischinger and wife Denise, daughter Channin Gillenwater and husband, Gary; his five grandchildren, Hailey, Kelsey, Ryan, Lauren and Lindsey; and his sister, Susan Ravenscroft. In lieu of flowers, the family would like to request donations to Scott & White Hospice, located on 31st Street, Temple, TX 76508. The Hospice center phone number is 254-724-4376.