Raul Hinojosa, 86

Dr. Raul Hinojosa died peacefully at the age of 86 in his beautiful home named “El Paraiso” – Paradise – in the state of Morelos, Mexico, where he spent winters with his wife and visiting family and friends. At his side were his son Jorge and wife Berta of 62 years. Dr. Hinojosa had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s almost 8 years ago. As his neurologist recently said, if it had not been for the love and care of his family, he would have died years ago.

Dr. Hinojosa was born in Tampico, Mexico and received his M.D. from the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) in 1954. Shortly thereafter he was awarded a fellowship from the Mexican government to study Temporal Bone Pathology and Electron Microscopy. Traveling for three years with his wife and two children, Dr. Hinojosa trained at the Schools of Medicine at the University of Chicago, Harvard University, Johns Hopkins University, University of Zurich, University of Gothenburg and University of London. In 1962, Drs. Lindsay and Fernandez invited him to join the faculty of the U of C in the Department of Surgery, Section of Otolaryngology.

During his tenure, he collaborated with numerous clinicians and scientists from Asia, Europe, and the Americas. Dr. Hinojosa was recognized as one of the leading authorities on the pathology of ear diseases in the world. His impact on this field was enormous. He trained over 20 fellows and medical students interested in pursuing careers in this field of study. He reviewed prospective publications for many journals and served as a consultant and advisor for the development of medical devices and research institutes, including the National Institutes of Health. His prodigious efforts resulted in the publication of 86 articles and 11 book chapters. In addition he presented his work at numerous scientific meetings and was an invited lecturer across the globe. The temporal bone contains the structures of the ear in the skull base. During his career, Dr. Hinojosa was able to acquire one of the largest collections of these tissues in the world, which will provide material for further scientific study long into the future. Remarkably, he held an academic appointment at the University of Chicago for over 53 years.

Dr. Hinojosa was a role model for his immediate and extended family, most of whom are in Mexico. Among the first in his family to venture to the United States in 1962, he arrived to very turbulent times, often saying that he had made a mistake taking his young family to such a place. Years later he expressed that despite the rough ride (including arguing over miniskirts, long hair, dates, protest rallies, etc.), his decision was best for his family and career. He understood that the move gave his family the ability to see the world from different perspectives, changing their lives and those of friends and family. While most people in the U.S. and Mexico had tunnel vision and saw only what they were able to, the Hinojosa family was constantly shuttling back and forth between different languages, cultures, races and ethnicities, societies, economies and just about everything else imaginable, challenging most everyone they came in contact with to see life from other points of view. In the U.S. most people the Hinojosas knew then had never met an immigrant and had no idea what it meant to be from another country and culture. Even in progressive Hyde Park, where issues were mostly black and white, the Hinojosas helped broaden the conversation and challenge the simplicity of the issues. Dr. Hinojosa was often not in agreement. He didn’t want to make waves or stand out. He wanted his family to be genuine and to represent the values and culture he had fought so hard to instill. And that they did. Each pushed the envelope with individuals and institutions and has impacted thousands of lives throughout their adopted and birth countries. That will continue for many years to come.

Dr. Hinojosa and his wife Berta were avid scuba divers. They travelled the world together diving in such places as the Great Barrier Reef, the Red Sea, New Guinea and throughout the Caribbean. Each logged over 350 dives!
Dr. Hinojosa is survived by his wife Berta, his four children Bertha Elena Baillie (husband Dennis Baillie), Raul (wife Paule Takash), Jorge and Maria Hinojosa (husband German Perez), his grandchildren Scott and Christen Baillie and Raul Ariel and Yurema Perez-Hinojosa, his two sisters Melida and Bertha Alicia as well as dozens of extended family members whom loved him dearly.

A celebration of Dr. Hinojosa’s life will take place later this summer and will be announced here, as well as details on where to send donations. Please do not send flowers.