By Joel Hillan

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (CBS4)– For 40 years Dr. Ira Kowal walked the halls of Swedish Medical Center as a cardiologist. Although he’s retired, he’s back at the hospital, touching hearts in a different way, through music.

Ira Kowal cardiologist piano wedish Medical Center

Ira Kowal plays piano in the lobby of Swedish Medical Center (credit: CBS)

He volunteers each week, spending a couple of hours playing the piano in the lobby.

“If they are coming in and out of the hospital or sitting down here and I can make them feel more comfortable, that’s all I’m really after.”

Ira Kowal cardiologist piano wedish Medical Center

(credit: CBS)

Kowal has been playing the piano since he was six years old. He got the idea to play at a hospital while taking his late wife Joly for cancer treatment at the Anschutz Medical Campus.

“There was a piano there and I thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be wonderful to be able to sit down and just play for people as they come and go in the center?’”

Ira Kowal cardiologist piano wedish Medical Center

Ira Kowal (credit: CBS)

So every Thursday, for a couple of hours, he plays, filling the lobby with music.

“When I play certain tunes, I think of her.”

Including one song he composed and played for their wedding.

Ira Kowal cardiologist piano wedish Medical Center

(credit: CBS)

“Ever since that time it’s always been the ‘Wedding Song’ and some evenings at home she would say, ‘Play the ‘Wedding Song,’ and of course I would. It was part of our relationship.”

He says Joly loved hearing him play and would get a kick out of this opportunity.

Ira Kowal cardiologist piano wedish Medical Center

Ira Kowal plays piano in the lobby of Swedish Medical Center (credit: CBS)

“Oh, she would just love it, she would go bananas, when I think of you can see I’m almost crying, she would just, go bananas.”

Ira Kowal cardiologist piano wedish Medical Center

(credit: CBS)

The 82-year-old says he plans to return each week for as long as he can.

“This sort of coda in my life has been amazing, it’s absolutely amazing, I’m so lucky that it fell in to place.”

Joel Hillan

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