Reprinted with permission from the Northville Record.

September 24, 2009

Community Mourns Young Doctor’s Death

More than 800 attend funeral

By Pam Fleming

The Northville community is still reeling from the death of Dr. Karl Francis Stockhausen, who died Sept. 13 at the age of 28 from melanoma.

He was born on April 8, 1981.

His father, Bill, a retired Ford Motor Company engineer who now runs a hydroelectric plant, said more than 800 people attended the funeral at Our Lady of Victory Church in Northville last Saturday.

Karl & Rhea
Dr. Karl Stockhausen of Northville,
who died on Sept. 13 at age 28, with
his fiancee, Rhea.

“It was standing room only,” Stockhausen said on Monday.

William Demray, DDS, generously provided his home on Griswold for a luncheon following services.

The family has a memorial Web site in his memory,

Stockhausen was an avid climber. In fact, he met his fiancee, Rhea, at the Climbing Gym in Pontiac. She and some friends marked a route on the side of a cliff in his memory this week at the Red River Gorge in Kentucky.

“His main goal in life was to help people,” said his sister, Juliet Culp, of Northville. “Primarily, he was doing that through medicine, but he was very interested in politics, and he did a lot of his clinical rotations in other countries.”

Culp said her brother loved to travel and wanted to learn about how other countries’ governments and health systems worked.

“He wanted to get ideas on how our health care system could be reformed in the U.S.,” she said. “He wanted to take the good aspects of each country’s health care system and create something better than what we have.”

“He had a number of clinical rotations in England where they have a national health care program,” Bill Stockhausen said.

“He was so well-rounded, so well-adjusted, so well-liked and so highly thought of,” said his father. “But, I think he will be remembered most for being a guy who was glad to be on board, and he was a man with a mission.”


His father said one of the most memorable events in his son’s life was when he was asked two years ago at age 26 to deliver what is referred to as “the White Coat Speech” at the American University of the Caribbean School of Medicine in St. Maarten. This is a short presentation delivered by a senior medical student to first-year students.

“The whole point of the speech is to motivate them and get them excited about accomplishing lofty objectives and goals,” Bill Stockhausen said.

In the talk, he encouraged students to remember three words – contribute, discipline and humanize.

Stockhausen was supposed to start his residency at Einstein/Jacobi Medical Hospital in the Bronx, N.Y., July 1.

“His cancer was in remission for four-six months, but it came back around last Christmas,” his father said.

Stockhausen’s mother, Carol Jean Stockhausen, said, “As a child, it seemed that Karl was always moving so fast, or climbing on everything that he was constantly getting hurt. Due to the cuts, abrasions, stitches, etc., he was given the nickname of Mr. Bump at an early age. Consequently, we spent a lot of time in the ER with him. One cannot help but wonder if those many trips to the ER were embedded on his little brain, and he never forgot it, and that is how his desire to be an ER doctor originated.”

His fiancee, Rhea, said, “Karl embodied the most remarkable balance of confidence and humility….He was even apprehensive when he was called Dr. Stockhausen since he hadn’t started his residency yet.”

“He was always trying to reach the next out-of-reach hand or foothold, to go ever higher, to drive and persist to achieve his altruistic goals – but always with a quiet humility that spoke even louder,” said his father during his eulogy.
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