Paul's Story

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God called Dr. Paul R. Honan Jr. to Heaven on May 18, 2017, just 11 days short of his 96th birthday. He was born in Lebanon on May 29, 1921, to Jewell (Crooks) and Paul R. Honan Sr.
Paul was a 1939 graduate of Lebanon High School. In his senior year at Wabash College, he decided to go to medical school because a friend and fellow Sigma Chi, who was a year older than he, was in his first year of medical school and influenced him to go.
He began his studies at Hahnemann Medical College in Philadelphia in 1943, and completed them there in 1946. During World War II, the school operated year-round to graduate doctors in three years instead of the normal four, in case they were needed by the war effort.
Paul opened his office for general practice in 1948 in Lebanon, where he provided care for patients with a wide variety of illnesses; delivered babies; and shared, with other local doctors, in staffing the emergency room at Witham Hospital.
In 1953, with the Korean War being fought, doctors were need by and drafted into the military. Dr. Honan had to close his practice. He then served in the Army from 1953 to 55.
During part of Dr. Honan's time in the Army, he worked in the eye clinic at the Madigan Army Hospital in Tacoma, Wash. He became interested in specializing in ophthalmology due to his experiences at the eye clinic. In 1955, he began his residency at the Indiana University School of Medicine in Indianapolis. He completed his residency in 1957, and started his ophthalmology practice in Lebanon, where he practiced until May 12, 2017.
Paul developed an interest in contact lenses in the early 1960s. He presented many courses on contact lenses for doctors from across the U.S. In 1967, he became concerned about the quality of contacts available and established Medicornea to make high quality rigid lenses.
Dr. Honan served a year as president of the Contact Lens Association of Ophthalmologists (CLAO). For over 40 years he was a professor in the Department of Ophthalmology of IU School of Medicine, working mainly in the contact lens department.
In March 1975, he traveled to The Netherlands to take a course in intraocular lenses by Cornelius Binkhorst, M.D. In July 1975, he inserted an intraocular lens (IOL) during a cataract surgery in Lebanon. It was one of the first, if not the first, intraocular lenses inserted in Indiana. Inserting an IOL was not looked upon very kindly by Indiana ophthalmologists at the time; but now it is the standard.
In the early 1970s, Dr. Honan became concerned about loss of vitreous fluid during cataract surgery. He developed the Honan Intraocular Pressure Reducer, the Honan Balloon, to soften the eye before surgery and to increase the probability of successful surgery. Paul's father, who had been in manufacturing, helped refine the design, so that it could be commercially made and sold.
In the early 1980s, he brought in his son, David, and later his son-in-law, Jon, to help run the company that still produces Honan Balloons. They are still used all over the world prior to modern cataract and corneal transplant surgery.
Dr. Honan remained active in many medical organizations. In addition to CLAO, he was a member of the AMA, American Academy of Ophthalmology, American Society for Cataract and Refractive Surgery (ASCRS), Indiana State Medical Association, and Indiana Academy of Ophthalmology (IAO), having served as president for a year.
In 2010, he received the Honored Guest Award from the ASCRS. He received The Harold Ridley Distinguished Visiting Professor Award for "creativity, innovation, perseverance and productivity in medicine and ophthalmology" in 2013. The IAO presented him with their Lifetime Achievement Award in 2016.
Paul was a longtime member of Ulen Country Club, the Lebanon Rotary Club and Otterbein United Methodist Church.
After admiring the bread in Europe on a trip in 1970, he began baking French bread, a longtime hobby he shared with family and friends and taught to the next generations.
Paul's life was one of service. He led by example. His family has been so blessed. Survivors include his sister, Martha Ann Parr; daughter, Linda (Jon) Silverberg; son, David, and daughter, Susan (David) Jones; grandchildren, Jon (Tiffany) Silverberg, Katie (Peter) Jones Schmitt and Shannon Jones; and great-granddaughter, Katharine Elizabeth Silverberg.
His practice was so very important to him that it was his fervent wish that it continue after his death to serve patients. His associate, John LaTona, M.D., will continue the ophthalmology practice in the same location, while Dr. Lisa Conard will ensure that the NAET allergy treatments are still available.
Dr. Honan was preceded in death by his wife of 73 years, Kathleen Kouns Honan; and by his parents.
Visitation will be held from 4 to 7 p.m. Thursday, May 25, at Myers Mortuary, 1502 N. Lebanon St., Lebanon. The funeral service will be held at 2 p.m. Friday, May 26, at the mortuary. Interment with military rites will follow at Oak Hill Cemetery in Lebanon.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made in his honor to Otterbein United Methodist Church, 804 S. Lebanon St., Lebanon, IN 46052.
Online condolences may be made at www.myersmortuary.com.
Published on May 22, 2017
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