The "School on the Hill" in West Palm Beach, FL
After triple bypass surgery in 1995, Dr. Omar M. Pasalodos had to give up delivering babies. The following year, he stopped seeing patients in a busy and stressful practice.
Then the Cuban-born physician, chief of obstetrics and gynecology at Baptist Hospital from 1992-1994, remade himself as a non-clinician, most recently chief medical officer for Baptist Health South Florida’s International Division, handling physician relations, philanthropy and international business development in Latin America and the Caribbean.
Tuesday, on a business trip to the Dominican Republic – where he’d gone to medical school at the Instituto Tecnológico de Santo Domingo – Pasalodos suffered a fatal heart attack. Born June 15, 1950, he was 60.
In addition to his work for Baptist, he chaired Florida International University’s Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine Advisory Council, a board of community leaders who help the college develop partnerships and raise money.
Pasalodos, of Coral Gables, served on the Health Foundation of South Florida board of directors, and was immediate past chairman of Informed Families, a nonprofit that describes itself as “an education, training and support center for parents, schools and communities to help raise safe, healthy and drug-free children.’’
Amy Goldstein, Informed Families’ communications director, said Pasalodos spent 10 years on the board, four of them in leadership positions.
“He really believed in the power of prevention,’’ she said. “He saw a lot in his practice related to addiction, and he really cared a lot about children. He consistently introduced us to donors,’’ many of them parents of babies he’d delivered, Goldstein said.
“He was incredibly pleasant and incredibly kind, always concerned about doing the right thing, always concerned about people’s feelings. He was sweet, warm, a great speaker, charismatic and a big-time schmoozer.’’
In a letter to colleagues, Baptist Health Chief Operating Officer D. Wayne Brackin called Pasalodos “a highly-regarded physician leader [who was] immensely proud of his Cuban heritage. Dr. Pasalodos embraced that spirit in his personal and professional endeavors.’’
Just three months ago, Miami Beach International Fashion Week gave Pasalodos its Humanitarian Award as one of Miami’s 10 most dedicated philanthropists.
He ran twice for the Gables Commission, losing in 2007 then, in 2009, dropping out so his medical consulting business could take on a new client: Baptist Health.
“I have a love for my city of Coral Gables and I thought I could help make a change…Had I been on firmer financial footing, I could have gone on with the race,” he told The Miami Herald.
He served on the city’s Public Safety Committee.
Pasalodos left Cuba with his parents on a small boat in 1961 – “in the middle of the night, according to Pasalodos’ wife, Lisa.
He graduated from Palm Beach High School and Florida Atlantic University.
He spent 12 years in practice with his father-in-law, Dr. Joseph De Cenzo. They met when Pasalodos was a surgical assistant at Baptist.
De Cenzo liked him immediately and helped him get a surgery residency at the University of Miami/Jackson Memorial Hospital. When he finished, Pasalodos, who was divorced, joined De Cenzo’s practice – DeCenzo, Reisman & Kellogg.“He’s like my son,’’ said De Cenzo. “We travelled together a lot,’’ hunted, fished, and delivered thousands of babies.
A big man – about 6-foot-2 and 200 pounds – Pasalodos was “very smart and very giving,’’ his father-in-law said. “He became a very good OB.’’
In 1991, he married one of the boss’s four daughters.
They have a son, Omar Joseph, a University of Florida freshman, and a daughter Kelsey Elizabeth,an Immaculata LaSalle High School junior.
Pasalodos is also survived by his parents, Elisa and Omar Pasalodos Sr., of Miami.
A viewing will take place at 6 p.m. Monday at Caballero Rivero Woodlawn Funeral Home, 8200 SW 40th St.
Mass will be sung 11:30 a.m. Tuesday at Church of the Little Flower, 2711 Indian Mound Trail, Coral Gables. Burial will follow at Woodlawn Park North, 3260 SW Eighth St.
The family suggests memorial donations to the FIU Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine, 11200 SW Eighth St., AHC II, Suite 690, Miami, FL 33199, or Informed Families, 2490 Coral Way, No. 5, Miami, FL 33145.