City loses family physician, friend

Published 12:00 am Monday, January 24, 2000


Monday, January 24, 2000

Dr. Harry Nenni, 80, an Ironton resident, honored physician and former Lawrence County coroner, died Sunday at River Valley Health System.

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He was born April 4, 1919, in Pike County, Ky., and grew up in Matewan, W.Va., the son of the late John and Maria Antonia Fiorentini Nenni.

The Marshall University and Medical College of Virginia Graduate recently was honored for 50 years of service by both the Ohio Academy of Family Physicians and the Ohio State Medical Association. He retired from private practice after 40 years as a family physician. He also served as Lawrence County health commissioner and was county coroner for 36 years.

During his more than 50-year career, his time spent as county coroner marked him as a true professional, said former Lawrence County Sheriff Dan Hieronimus.

"On a professional note, I found him to be very concerned and responsive to the needs of his office and to the needs of law enforcement," Hieronimus said. "He was very good to work with in all areas of the job."

Not unusually, a working relationship with Nenni carried over into a solid friendship, Hieronimous said, adding that Nenni’s caring made it easy to relate to him on both personal and professional levels. When the doctor built a friendship, it was lasting and whole.

He opened up his heart and his family to others, acquaintances said.

"I considered him and his family to be personal friends based on that original professional relationship," Hieronimous agreed.

Nenni not only worked in the city and county, but became part of the community, constantly working to make it a better place.

Dr. Nenni’s friendship did not just extend to personal contacts he made, either, Hieronimus said. He was dedicated to his community as well and strove to make Ironton a better place for his patients, friends and family.

"I suppose his long-time contribution to the benefit of the community will be missed most," Hieronimous said.

His memberships included St. Lawrence O’Toole Catholic Church, Sierra Club, Lions Club and the Ohio State Medical Association. He also was a Fourth Degree Knight of Columbus and served as past president of the Ohio State Coroners Association.

Despite his busy professional and volunteer schedule, Nenni was more than a casual participant in his various activities, said Jake Scherer, fellow Lions Club member.

"He was always a good-natured person and he mixed in well with everything he did," Scherer said. "He was a very active participant in anything that he became involved with. He worked very hard."

As a patient and a friend, Scherer remembers the most important aspect of Nenni’s character –  one that will be sadly missed, he said.

"He was my doctor, so I knew him both professionally and socially – but he was just a good guy," Scherer said. "That was the main thing. He was just a good person and he’ll be missed."

Dr. Nenni was preceded in death by four brothers, Attilio Nenni, Bill Nenni, John Jenni Jr. and Robert Louis Nenni; three sisters, Anna Sullivan, Josephine Tomlinson and Jean Black; and a foster son, Joseph Quinn.

He is survived by his wife, Dorothy Linsenmeyer Nenni, whom he married July 3, 1946.

Other survivors, in addition to his wife, include two sons and daughters-in-law, William and Kathy Nenni of Ironton and Robert and Rebecca Nenni of New Bern, N.C.; one daughter, Mary Beth Nenni of Ironton; six grandchildren, Kelli Nenni of Marion, Andrew Louis Nenni, Kathleen Nenni and Elizabeth Nenni, all of New Bern, and Jeremy Bailey of Ironton; one great-granddaughter, Emily Nenni of Marion; two brothers, Rudy Nenni of Tucson, Ariz., and Antony Nenni of Richmond, Va.; and three sisters, Rosa Ore of Huntington, W.Va., Georgia Artzner of Chico, Calif., and Florence Warren of Woodbridge, Va.

Funeral services are scheduled for 11 a.m. Wednesday at St. Lawrence O’Toole Catholic Church, where Nenni was a member. Visitation is 6 to 8:30 p.m. Tuesday at Phillips Funeral Home, with Recitation of the Rosary at 8:30 p.m. Burial will be in Calvary Cemetery.

The family asks that memorial contributions be made to the Dr. Harry Nenni Memorial Fund at River Valley Health System or St. Lawrence O’Toole Catholic Church in Ironton.