When my older brother Matt became the organist and choir director at St. Joseph’s Church in the 1970’s, I began attending Mass there every Sunday. At the time, Amsterdam-born Father Pascal Iannotti was the pastor of that Roman Catholic parish, which was one of the oldest in the city of Amsterdam. Every house of worship has a small group of families that go above and beyond being just members of the congregation and selflessly volunteer their time and talents to help their church function smoothly and more efficiently. Back in the 1970’s at St. Joseph’s, that family was the Milunski’s. Ray and his wife Louise Milunski had two boys. Brad the youngest and today’s Amsterdam Birthday Celebrant Mark Milunski, who was also a classmate of mine in the Amsterdam High School Class of 1972.
Mark’s brother Brad would end up getting into the profession of healing souls. He became a Priest in the Franciscan order and has ministered all over the United States and abroad. Meanwhile, Mark has got into the business of healing hearts.
I remember Mark Milunski as always being a serious, hard-working student during the six years we attended junior and senior high school together here in Amsterdam. When he graduated, he went to RPI, where he earned his BS in Biology in 1976. I remember him riding GAVAC rigs during those years he was still around Amsterdam, serving as a faithful and diligent volunteer. He then went to Wagner and got his Masters in Biology. It was after obtaining his Masters that Mark decided to pursue a career in medicine and he was accepted into Albany Medical School in 1980, graduating with Honors in 1984. He then did a three-year residency in internal medicine at the Duke University Medical Center followed by a fellowship in Cardiovascular Disease at Washington University’s St Louis School of Medicine. Then he went to Disney World!
Actually, it was the home of Disney World, Orlando, Florida. Dr. Milunski joined the Florida Heart Group there as a cardiologist and during the next 21 years developed into one of the most respected heart doctors in the southeastern United States, specializing in diagnosing and treating advanced heart failure and complex valvular heart disease. He also developed particular expertise in three-dimensional transesophageal echocardiography and nuclear cardiology.
If you Google Mark’s name on the Web, you’ll find that he has been regularly featured in articles, videos and even podcasts that address cardiovascular disease and heart health and wellness issues. I also learned that after more than two decades in private practice, Mark Milunski decided to accept a new career challenge recently, when he became a staff cardiologist at the Orlando Veteran Administration Medical Center and was appointed Chief of Cardiology. The Center was looking for someone who was capable and experienced enough to a new Cardiology Section from “the ground up. Mark could not pass up the technical or professional challenge the task represented.
Meanwhile, Ray and Louise Milunski sold their long-time Amsterdam home in 2015 and moved to Orlando to be nearer to their first born son.
One of the pioneers of Amsterdam’s labor unions was also born on October 3.