Dr. John Funston Marquardt was an internal medicine physician and chief of staff at Northwestern Memorial Hospital who also was the team physician for the Chicago Cubs and the medical director for several Chicago companies, including the Tribune’s former parent company.
“He was a very talented doctor and diagnostician, with a great bedside manner,” said retired Tribune Co. Chairman and CEO John Madigan. “John was someone you could go to for advice on a lot of subjects and he was always available and thoughtful and analytical, and was just a great person.”
Marquardt, 84, died of heart failure at his Northfield home on Oct. 18, said his son John Jr.
Born in Chicago, Marquardt was the son of Dr. Gilbert H. Marquardt Sr., who had been chief of staff at Wesley Memorial Hospital, which is now part of Northwestern Memorial Hospital. Marquardt grew up on the South Side and graduated from the Harvard School for Boys in the Kenwood neighborhood. He earned a bachelor’s degree from Haverford College in 1956 and a medical degree from Northwestern University in 1960.
Marquardt then served as a captain in the Air Force. After leaving active duty in 1964, he undertook postgraduate medical training at Wesley Memorial.
In 1967 he began practicing at Wesley, which merged with Passavant Memorial Hospital to form Northwestern Memorial Hospital in 1972. Marquardt practiced alongside Dr. Jacob Suker, who had been the Cubs’ team physician for 27 years until his death in December 1989. As early as the early 1970s, Marquardt assisted Suker in treating Cubs players suffering from a wide variety of maladies, and Marquardt would fill in as team physician during Suker’s absence.
In January 1990, the Cubs formally named Marquardt the team’s physician, a role he held until retiring from the post in 2000.
“He was proud of the fact that he was the team physician for the Cubs, and he gave up a lot of personal time and weekends and evenings eventually to tend to the Cubs players,” Madigan said. “He was steadfast in his care for them.”
Marquardt and Suker also had close ties to Chicago-based chewing gum giant Wm. Wrigley Jr. Co. and were co-medical directors at Wrigley. Marquardt assumed the role as that company’s medical director upon Suker’s death. Marquardt also was the medical director at Tribune Co. and at Peoples Energy.
“I think a lot of (the corporate work) came out of the fact that Northwestern and the medical care at Northwestern are so highly thought of, and Dad had the good fortune to share a practice with a lot of very bright physicians,” John Marquardt Jr. said.
At Northwestern Memorial, Marquardt served as chief of staff and developed a reputation for practicing “not just the science of medicine but the art of medicine,” said internal medicine physician Mary Beth Richmond, who practices at Northwestern Memorial Hospital and succeeded Marquardt as Tribune Co.’s medical director.
“His relationships with his patients were so special. Whenever he started with a new patient, he always began the conversation the same way, saying to them, ‘Tell me a little bit about yourself,’ and they did, and patients really opened up to him and he got to know not just their medical problems but also their personal struggles, their disappointments, their challenges,” Richmond said. “He got to know the person, and anytime he finished with a patient, they walked out the door feeling a little less weighed-down and a little more encouraged, and I think that was his greatest charm.”
Marquardt retired from the practice of medicine in 2000. Both before and during retirement he was an avid sailor, his son said.
“He grew up sailing on the South Side and spent what little free time he had owning a handful of sailboats,” his son said. “He switched over to powerboats a little bit later in life because it was less physically challenging.”
Marquardt also is survived by his wife of 56 years, Judith; another son, James; a daughter, Wendy Olson; and seven grandchildren.
A funeral is set for 3 p.m. Friday at Christ Church Winnetka, 784 Sheridan Road, Winnetka.
Bob Goldsborough is a freelance reporter.