Doc Puumala, Cloquet's old-school doctor, dies at 88


August 25, 2023

Contributed photo

Ricard and Barbara Puumala, left, with his parents Drs. Marie Bepko and Reino Puumala in 1972 when the clinic and its doctors received the Harold S. Diehl award from the University of Minnesota Medical School.

With the passing of "Doc Puumala" last weekend, Cloquet lost its last country doctor, a man who made house calls and didn't worry how long an appointment lasted.

Ricard Reino Puumala died Saturday, Aug. 19, at the age of 88. At one time, he and his wife, Barbara, worked at the family clinic with both of his parents, Reino and Marie Bepko Puumala.

His daughter, Dr. Vicky Heren, said Ricard (and both his parents) were general practice physicians. They did it all: pinning hips, removing gallbladders, performing appendectomies and delivering hundreds of babies.

"That era of physicians, that's just...

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