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Meet Dr. Francis G. Wolf, cardiologist

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Headshot of Dr. Francis G. Wolf, cardiologist with Aurora BayCare Cardiology

Have you heard the one about the doctor who wanted to be a stand-up comic?

Ladies and gentlemen, meet Francis G. Wolf. Dr. Wolf, that is.

“Love a lot and laugh a lot. It’s important,” says Wolf, who’s a cardiologist with Aurora BayCare Cardiology.

Laughter boosts the immune system, increases blood flow and relaxes the body.

As a cardiologist, Wolf knows all about heart health. He also knows how to make you laugh. He almost made a career out of it. No joke. Seriously.

“One of my dreams in life was to be a stand-up comedian,” Wolf says. “I have some routines.”

However, his heart was in medicine, with the challenges that come along with being a cardiologist.

Wolf’s frequent childhood visits to the former Humke Clinic in Chilton, just a few miles from his hometown of Hilbert, sparked his interest in medicine.

“I was so impressed with the place on how clean it was, quiet, soft music, all of the staff wore white dresses, white hose, white hats. The doctors wore dress slacks and white smocks. And it was always a very comforting place. That resonated with me and I kept thinking to myself, ‘You know what, I’m really interested in medicine.’”

A family practice physician at the Hilbert clinic, Dr. Kenneth Humke, inspired Wolf to pursue a career in medicine. Humke was a mentor to Wolf.

“He and I got to be very close and he was excited that I was going to go into medicine,” Wolf says. “It was his dream that I would finish my training and come back and join his practice at some point.”

However, Wolf’s parents weren’t as enthusiastic about his desire to pursue a career in medicine.

“When I first started telling my parents about medical school, they of course, tried to talk me out of it because they thought it was a financial burden.”

That didn’t sit well with Humke.

“One day he sat down with my mother and said, ‘I grew up on a farm in Door County and I made it through medical school. He can, too. So, leave the kid alone.’”

“And the rest has been history,” Wolf says.

Wolf earned his undergraduate and medical degree from the University of Wisconsin in Madison, followed by an internal medicine residency at Roger Williams Medical Center in Providence, Rhode Island.

During his internal medicine training years, Wolf was drawn to cardiology and was encouraged to seek a fellowship. He was interested in acute medical situations, particularly cardiac arrhythmias and heart attacks, he says.

“A lot of the cardiologists that I worked with encouraged me to go into cardiology. I was then enrolled in a cardiology fellowship very early during my internal medicine training and I’m glad I did it.”

Wolf then completed a fellowship in cardiovascular disease at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee-Sinai Samaritan Medical Center.

Clinical cardiology is Wolf’s forte. His areas of special interest include congestive heart failure, heart disease in women, risk factor and lifestyle medication, heart disease in an aging population, geriatric cardiology and coronary CT angiography.

He began practicing cardiology in Milwaukee where he developed several cardiology outreach practices.

In 2000, Wolf then developed and led Aurora BayCare Medical Center’s cardiology program in Green Bay.

“I had an opportunity in 2000 to meet with the people who were putting together the Aurora BayCare Medical Center program and they wanted to talk about cardiology service. I said to the three other gentlemen that I was working with at that time, ‘I really think we should approach them about helping them develop their cardiac program.’ So I came up in 2000 and basically did that. My wife jokes that it was supposed to be a 90-day project but 20 years later, I’m still here.”

Wolf, who is in his 70s, has practiced cardiology for more than 40 years. He plans on practicing as long as he can.

“A lot of people ask me why I’m not retired,” Wolf says. “I love what I do and I want to keep doing it. Who has the ability and opportunity to help people on a daily basis? I feel I’m good at what I do and I want to keep doing it.”

Wolf says he’s never “had any regrets” about pursuing a career in cardiology.

“There has always been something that guided me to making the right decision in the sense that I’ve never looked back at any decision that I’ve made. There’s always been a guiding hand at every fork in the road helping me to get down the right path. Some people call that faith or good luck. I use the word ‘serendipity.’”

In his free time, Wolf and his wife enjoy landscaping, reading, exercising, traveling with friends, listening to jazz music and spending time with their grandchildren.

Published: Friday, August 20, 2021