“Death be not proud, though some have called thee Mighty and dreadful, for thou art not so.” —John Donne
The pandemic has changed the ways we grieve, mourn and honor our dead. But it cannot take away the gratitude we hold for the gift of their lives and their contribution to our world. We extend our sympathies to the family, friends and classmates of the UPMASAns who died in 2020 and 2021. *
Imelda Bernardo- Buendia MD Class 1969
Abelardo V. Bustillo MD Class 1963
Florentina Carangal-Gutierrez MD Class 1955
Benjamin L. Co MD Class 1981
Amor Cosio- Villareal MD Class 1991
Johnny Y. Fong MD Class 1971
Emelita Juliano-Veloso MD Class 1966
Antonio F. Meilly MD Class 1981
Leon N. Palacpac MD Class 1979
Jose C. Pamintuan MD Class 1961
Lourdes Pineda- Iskander MD Class 1967
Victor Rivera MD Class 1966
Fortunato O. Sunio MD Class 1957
Eduardo P. Vidal MD Class 1961
Juan M. Zarate MD Class 1957
Rodolfo Yapchai MD Class 1961
Leonarda Sablay-Cruces MD Class 1962
Josie Paez-Beltran MD Class 1975
*We thank the Membership Committee for providing this information. If we missed any name, kindly notify the Membership Committee Co-Chairs: Arelyne Pacho- Ramos and Patricia Ilagan at Membership@upmasa.org.
Jose C. Pamintuan MD
“Joe Pam”, cardiologist, humanitarian, fisherman— his remarkable life from schoolboy in Pampanga to respected cardiologist, past President of the Medical Staff and past-Board Member at Nanticoke Memorial Hospital in Delaware and past President of UPMASA —is detailed here. https://www.legacy.com/us/obituaries/delawareonline/name/jose-pamintuan-obituary?id=13542091. What follows is a more personal reflection of a humble man who was fiercely proud of Pampanga and was a passionate advocate of UPMASA.
From the very beginning, Joe was thinking of ways to advance medical education and healthcare in the Philippines. Even as he further specialized in Cardiology and as he began his practice in Delaware and built the coronary care/ICU at Nanticoke Memorial Hospital (now Tidal Health Nanticoke), he spoke of a vision of the Philippines that would care especially for the poorest, through Philippine General Hospital (PGH) and what he envisioned as its satellites in the provinces especially those far-flung and harder to reach areas.
Each year in December, he would go on a medical mission with a group of Filipino doctors to Pampanga to serve the poor. While there, he met with local hospitals, private and provincial to share what he had learned abroad that these hospitals could utilize to improve and spread healthcare through the region. He contacted friends, classmates at University of the Philippines College of Medicine (UPCM) and deans at UPCM about improving access to healthcare in the Philippines. When he was told there was need for a great deal of funding, he felt UPMASA could be the catalyst to raise the money necessary. He believed that the University of the Philippines was the premier university of the Philippines and as such, UPMASA should be able to raise an endowment that would help sustain the UPCM’s goals of providing scholarships to needy medical students and making healthcare available to everyone in the Philippines, most especially those in the barrios that did not have access to hospitals.
Joe called upon UPMASA to raise a Permanent Endowment Fund of $5 million (today it is $12 million) to help UPCM and PGH. He centralized its finances to more efficiently address donations and tax matters. He invited several members to our beach house in Delaware to explain and discuss his ambitious vision. In preparing for their arrival, as he always did for his guests, he sought out the biggest Delaware blue crabs he could find, a regional specialty and always a favorite. I believe he chose the beach because it offered the simple gifts of life: the sea, wonderful company and great seafood. He knew it would be a place where community building and bonding would strengthen UPMASA’s mission. There on our dining room table saw the birth of many ideas coming from the board members and friends who came in and went over several days, some staying over to reflect and finalize plans. I remember one afternoon myself socializing with a few of them in the back porch on one of their rest times.
Other interests were on research on Philippine human genomes which he predicted as did many others, to be the future of diagnosis and treatment in medicine. Another was computerization, that it be made available across the board at the university. I believe much of these are established now.
Another time, I would remember, Joe inviting Dr Wee Besa and his wife for a weekend so they could discuss medical education. Dr. Besa then was a professor at Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia. He believed much in picking colleagues’ brains, getting ideas from others and spreading them far and wide to achieve goals. He would talk incessantly to others about these, I believe, in the hopes that the educating continues on and with this, progress. He is, as one of his daughters said in a memorial, at heart a teacher. I remember Joe also recognized the value of Philippine botanicals; he tracked down a colleague about creating a catalogue of Philippine botanicals and medicinals. Eventually, this colleague published a book.
His afore-mentioned medical mission (co-founded with Dr. Camilo Gopez), Ding Capampangan, brought much needed medicines and healthcare screening to Pampanga, often times accompanied by military vehicles in the riskier areas. He told the story that Dr. Camilo would disappear at lunch time during the medical missions and Joe discovered he was standing outside the canteen giving away his lunch. Joe said that his friend showed him that it was possible to do even more for the poor and to do so without drawing attention. And even as he did these charitable works year after year, he always arrived late Christmas Eve to spend Christmas with us. Without fail, no matter how much snow and ice, no matter how bad the roads might be or whether the flight was delayed, Joe made that journey traveling 36-48 hours from Pampanga to make it home by Midnight Mass. Whatever Joe did, he honored all his commitments with a tenacity that knew no bounds.
Joe’s call to UPMASA was to “Not only make a difference, be the difference.” And Joe embodied that very goal of service in his tireless efforts to improve the lives of all patients in Delaware and in his beloved homeland, the Philippines – his life and legacy has made all the difference.
(Joe left this life a Filipino citizen to the end and will be interred in Pampanga as he wished with his parents.)
By Dr. Elvira Lacdao Pamintuan
EDITOR’S NOTES: Dr. Elvira Lacdao Pamintuan, widow of Joe Pam is an obstetrician-gynecologist who donated to UPMASA a legacy in honor of her father, Dr. Santiago Lacdao, a UP Public Health alumnus and first Health Officer of Lipa City.