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Fulfilling Dreams and Discovering Passions in Retirement

Retired doctor busy teaching, taking classes, traveling

By Jane Eggleston

Gynecologist Victor Poleshuckin one of his many trips abroad. He stands next to an Asmat villager in New Guinea.

Gynecologist Victor Poleshuck is making the most of his retirement and enjoying it all.

“Retirement has been wonderful,” he said. “I’ve been able to indulge so many interests, which I had no time for when I was in practice.”

Born and raised in New Jersey, Poleshuck graduated from Dartmouth College, and then attended medical school at The University of California at Irvine. An internship at Strong Memorial Hospital brought him to Rochester.

At that time, the Vietnam war was raging. They needed doctors, so he enlisted in the Air Force and was fortunate to be stationed in Greece for his two-year commitment.

Returning to Rochester in 1970, he did his residency in OB-GYN at Strong, and then practiced at Joseph C. Wilson Center for five years before opening his own practice in 1979. His practice was successful, growing to 11 doctors before he retired in 2006.

“The very first educational thing I did after retiring was to take a course in constitutional law at the UR with Thomas Jackson who, at the time, was the president of the UR,” he said. “Then I joined Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at RIT, known as ‘The Athenaeum’ until 2009 — and haven’t looked back!”

Osher is a member-led organization of over 50 people who enjoy learning.

“Osher has been a place to indulge my thirst for learning and to teach subjects I love,” he said. “It’s really true that you never know something as well as when you teach it. My love of music has only grown as I co-taught a four-semester course in the history of western music and then taught many composer-specific courses. Most recently I taught a course on Shostakovich [fall 2022] with 63 people taking it! Can you imagine? — 63 people wanting to take a course on Shostakovich!”

To date, he has led more than 65 courses. In addition to the music courses, which usually include an Eastman School of Music chamber music group coming to perform — a much-anticipated event — his courses have covered medical issues, travel and topics such as “The Meaning of Life,” “Science and Religion,” “Hamlet” and ”Richard III.”

His medical courses are always popular, including “Medical Ethics,” “Up Yours” [what medical scopes see], “Medical School” and “The Right to be Well-Born.”

In addition to taking and leading courses at Osher, he was also a member of the course offerings committee for many years, reviewing and approving courses to be offered. Also, he has presented several talks on various travel adventures as part of Osher’s travel special interest group.

An avid lover of music and supporter of the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, Poleshuck is a member of the board of directors, where his efforts are specifically focused on community education. He enjoys attending as many concerts and Eastman School recitals as he can.

Another passion of his is travel and he has shared his experiences with Osher members through his courses.

Although he and wife, Joyce, traveled during his work years, once retired, they have tried to take three trips a year.

“How do we choose where to go and what to see? Most of the time we go somewhere we’ve never been,” he explained. “We tend to alternate trip types; if our last big trip was adventure travel, our next trip will be cultural or historic. A favorite plan is to pick a culture we know little about, study it and then visit it. We’ve done this with cultures as diverse as Mayan (Guatemala, Honduras, Belize, southern Mexico), Tlingit (Alaska), ancient Egyptian, Nabatean (Jordan), Buddhist (Nepal, Burma aka Myanmar), Inca (Peru, Bolivia), Arawak (West Indies), Khmer (Cambodia), Asmat (New Guinea), and Maori (New Zealand). Travel has made me an educated citizen of our country and a better citizen of the world. Travel has made me more aware of our country’s place in the larger world order and has informed me about how our behavior is seen in other parts of the world.”

In addition to all of this, he’s found time to work as the vice president of finance for Temple Sinai and interview medical school candidates for the UR. And, of course, his family, which means so much to him. His wife, who, died in February, was a partner in his travels and was a member at Osher. They have two daughters and five grandchildren and have been fortunate that they all live in the area.