Donald Irving Twito, M.D., age 67, passed away suddenly and unexpectedly at his home Tuesday, April 17, 2012.
Don was born April 25, 1944 in Minneapolis, Minnesota, the son of Irving and Leona (Mellum) Twito. Don was raised in Minneapolis with sister Jane and brother Ken, graduating from Roosevelt High School in 1962.
Don remained in Minnesota for college and medical school graduating from St. Olaf College in 1966 and the University of Minnesota Medical School in 1970. In 1975, after an internship with St. Paul Ramsey Hospital, an internal medicine residency and an oncology fellowship with the University of Minnesota Hospital and Clinic, Dr. Twito joined the physicians at the Billings Clinic.
Medical oncology became a board certified specialty in the 1970s. When Dr. Twito joined the clinic in July 1975 he was the first board certified oncologist practicing medicine in Montana. Dr. Twito, along with Dr. Warren Bowman and Nurses Martha Balestra and Ruth Benoit, started the oncology department at the Billings Clinic. After practicing medicine for 32 years Dr. Twito officially retired from the Billings Clinic but remained part of the clinic family assisting with the development and operation of the Cancer Center. Dr. Twito was still seeing patients and their families and working for the clinic at the time of his death.
After first meeting in college, Don and Christine (Sandquist) Twito were married in Minneapolis in 1970. Two years later they welcomed their son Scott. They lived in St. Paul in a house near Como Park before moving to Montana in 1975. Don and Christine divorced in 1979. Scott married Sammy (Ferguson) in 2004 and later provided Grandpa Don his grandchildren, Emma and Max.
Don liked to fish with friends, collect stamps and coins, and play cards. Like his father, Don loved to garden and meticulously kept his home. Grandpa and Emma enjoyed picking tomatoes from his garden or swimming in his pool. Max devoured Grandpa’s cookies. For several years, Scott and his Dad shared Billings Mustangs season tickets and were looking forward to the upcoming season. Don was pleased when he could travel and visit his Minnesota family. Through his brother and sister, Uncle Don stayed in touch with the activities of seventeen nieces and nephews and their families.
Don was a respected friend, scholar, and gentleman. He was passionate about the art of practicing medicine and enjoyed advancements in his practice allowing him to provide the best possible information and outcomes for his patients. Don treasured working side by side with the professionals of the medical community and cared deeply about his city quietly supporting many local causes beyond the clinic including the Yellowstone Art Museum and the Billings Symphony.
Don was preceded in death by his father and mother, Irving and Leona Twito.
Don is survived by his son, Scott Twito (Sammy); brother, Ken Twito (Ruth); sister, Jane Hokenstrom (Jack); former wife, Christine Twito; grandchildren, Emma and Max; and many beloved nieces and nephews.
A celebration of Dr. Donald Twito’s life will be held for family and friends on Tuesday, April 24, 2012 at 3 p.m. at the Mary Alice Fortin Health Conference Center on the Billings Clinic Campus, 2800 10th Avenue North.
Memorial gifts benefitting cancer patients may be made to the Billings Clinic Cancer Patient Assistance Fund or the Cancer Center Research Fund; c/o Billings Clinic Foundation, PO Box 31031, Billings, Montana 59107-1031.
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