Herbert Arthur Lints, father of local resident Craig Lints, passed on Dec. 6, 2017, just a few weeks short of his 100th birthday. Raised in Capac, a small town in the “thumb” of Michigan, we would hardly recognize his childhood. Horses were common and cars were rare. “Ice cutters” worked the lakes in winter and the iceman delivered all summer. Raised in a drugstore, Herb went on to become a doctor. “When I was a boy, medicine was a little bit science and a lot of superstition. Death was a not uncommon side effect of visiting the doctor.”
An atheist all his life, “devout,” he would say, Herb witnessed miracle after miracle in his lifetime. But these were miracles based on science, not on prayer. Starting with sulfa drugs in the 1930s and penicillin in the 1940s, year after year, decade after decade, Herb witnessed the miraculous conquest of tuberculosis, diabetes, heart disease, measles, whooping cough, malaria (which was common in parts of the U.S.) and polio; polio, a disease which, until the introduction of the Salk vaccine in the 1950s, left thousands of small children across this country crippled or miserably imprisoned in an iron lung. And smallpox, a disease which had wiped out more than 75 percent of the indigenous population of North America; smallpox was wiped off the face of the earth! “How much prayer would it take to wipe out small pox?,” Dad would ask indignantly.
Raised in the depression, he watched train after train go by with men on the roof traveling in search of work. He knew it was only a roll of the cosmic dice that put a roof over his head and food on his family’s table.
His co-workers at the hospital thought him peculiar because he addressed everyone by their last name. The nurse was “Miss Johnson,” the janitor was “Mr. Brown.” Being a doctor put him in a position where people treated him with respect and he believed that everyone deserved that same respect. Passing a beggar he knew on the street, he would say, “Here is $5 Mr. Wilson. You have a wonderful day.”
Well-paid as a doctor, but never really “rich,” Herb was probably the most generous man you have ever heard of. A believer in the power of education, he paid to put many kids through college, some of whom he hardly knew. He would loan you money and never even think to ask for a payment. In his 80s, he proceeded to give away over half of his life’s savings. “Why do I need all this money?” he would ask. “There are other people who need it more than me.”
Herb was preceded in death by his wife, Dorothy del Siena Lints (“Delsi”), his youngest son, Dr. Rasjad Lints, and his dear partner, Juanita Robinson, with whom he shared the last years of his life. He is survived by his children Craig Lints and Helena Lengel; grandchildren Kiva Lints, Shiah Lints, Alicia Lengel, Briana Lengel-Bail, and Hassan Lengel; and great-grandchildren Elijah, Judah, Sadie Marie, Ava, and Michael Dean.
Many people will fondly remember him for his deep commitment to his patients and their families, as well as for his undying sense of humor. His final years were spent at Bayside Assisted Living Center in Emeryville, California. Although his memory became impaired, he brought joy to everyone around him. To the end, he loved to sing, dance and tell jokes. Oh … his jokes!
“Although the common cold usually lasts two weeks,” he used to say, “I have learned from my many years as a doctor that if you take mega-doses of vitamin C, drink lots of fluids and get plenty of rest, it will only last 14 days.”