Dr. Chole and retirement: a special kind of busy

Dr. Chole (center) surrounded by children and grandchildren during a family scuba dive in Oahu, Hawaii.

Most folks find a way to slow down during retirement. Not so for our former department chair, Richard A. Chole, MD, PhD. After 17 years, Dr. Chole officially stepped down as chair in October, 2015. He continued to see patients for another several years, while winding down activities in his research lab.

Finally, in October of 2018, with the lab closed, he said goodbye to his patients—but not patient care. He simply transitioned to part-time status and supervised the resident clinic at the Center for Outpatient Health for almost a year, until that clinic was transferred to the Center for Advanced Medicine.

A closed lab didn’t mean he no longer conducted research either, as it turns out. Chole continues to wrap up studies on bacterial biofilm persistor cells with former resident Kathryn Kao, MD. And, he still serves as a collaborator on Dr. Jill Firszt’s grant on unilateral hearing loss and consultant on the large Army study on noiseinduced hearing loss spearheaded by Craig Buchman, MD, and Jianxin Bao, PhD. He also serves as member of the Board of Trustees for Boys Town, a nonprofit organization dedicated to caring for children and families.

Work largely aside, Rick felt he owed his wife some long-promised vacations. This past February and March they took an extended vacation that included a week in Australia and a three week cruise through the South Pacific.

“I was able to partake of another favorite pastime —scuba diving,” says Chole.  “I went diving in Vanuatu, Fiji, Samoa, Moorea and Bora Bora— it was incredible!”

Rick and Cindy Chole in Oahu, Hawaii earlier this year. The couple celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in December.

“Then, in July we spent two weeks in rural Oahu, Hawaii with the whole clan—four families with seven grandchildren in one house on the beach,” he explained. “It doesn’t get any better than that. We enjoyed lots of snorkeling, surfing, golf and a scuba diving extravaganza that included ten of us underwater at one time—ages 10 years through me!”

Other travel has included visits to Chicago, Denver, and the lake house at Innsbrook with grandchildren and friends.

Always a tinkerer and do-it-yourselfer, he relishes the opportunity to spend more time in his wood shop building furniture. That and tackling a never-ending honey-do list help to keep him busy. And, the golf game?

“Oh, I played a lot of golf this year,” he says. “Still not very good, but I like to think I’m improving.”

“Retirement agrees with me because I’m still busy, but a special kind of busy,” he says. Last month Dr. Chole and his wife Cindy celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary. Please wish them a hearty congratulations and thanks for their decades of service to the department.