April 25, 2014

Elyria
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Longtime EMH doctor dies at 87 years old

Dr. Raymundo de la Pena

ELYRIA — A doctor known for his compassion for patients has died, leaving a hole in the Lorain County medical community, according to those who knew him.

Dr. Raymundo de la Pena, 87, of Elyria, died on Monday at EMH Medical Center in Elyria. Details of his death have not been released.

“He was my family physician when I was young, my mentor when I was in medical school, a colleague in practice and most of all a dear friend,” said Dr. Don Sheldon, EMH Healthcare president and CEO. “I will miss him greatly as well as all people whose life he touched.”

Sheldon said he had the unique perspective of knowing de la Pena both personally and professionally.

When he was growing up and deciding on a career path, there was no one in his family who had pursued medicine before him whom he could turn to for advice. But de la Pena graciously stepped in as adviser and was instrumental in Sheldon’s choice to do a family practice residency program.

“He taught me the caring side of medicine,” Sheldon said. “Medicine has become very technologically oriented where we nowadays spend more time doing and reviewing tests than interacting and talking with patients. He instilled in me the importance of interacting and connecting with patients.”

Dr. de la Pena graduated from medical school in Mexico and performed a rotating internship at Our Lady of Victory in Lackawanna, N.Y., from September 1951 to September 1952. He then finished his medical training at EMH, performing a general practice residency from July 1953 to July 1954 and a surgical residency from 1954 to 1956.

He was a member of the EMH medical staff from 1959 to 1999 in the Department of Medicine with privileges in family practice. From 1996 to 2006, de la Pena worked in the Med Express department of the EMH Emergency Department.

He retired from active practice in 2006.

Dr. de la Pena was very active in the Lorain County Medical Society, which in 2004 honored him for 50 years of service. He served as president of the organization in 1983.

“What a loss for everyone in the community,” said Eileen Novello, the medical society’s executive director. “He always made people feel good and put a smile on their face.”

Novello said everyone knew of de la Pena’s compassion, but a note in his medical society file illustrated that trait best.

Several years ago, there was an accident on the road. A little boy was injured in the accident and de la Pena helped get the boy out of the car and tended to his injuries until help arrived.

“Then, he just left without leaving his name or card,” Novello said. “That just shows the compassion he had for everyone he encountered.”

Novello said her family and the de la Pena family knew each other for years and one of the funniest and little known facts is the de la Pena family’s love of Christmas.

“He had elaborate decorations at his home,” she said. “His was one of the homes people wanted to drive by for Christmas.”

Sheldon said de la Pena may have liked to joke and laugh, but his patients always felt confident in his care.

“He was a very kind, caring and compassionate physician who you could easily talk to and easily connect to when you needed,” Sheldon said.

Contact Lisa Roberson at 329-7121 or lroberson@chroniclet.com.