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Published: Tuesday, 10/27/2009

Kidney specialist one of 1st in area

Dr. Thomas D. Geracioti, 76, one of the area's earliest kidney specialists, died Sunday at St. Luke's Hospital.

The cause was likely cardiac arrest, his son, Thomas, Jr., said.

An Akron-area native, Dr. Geracioti arrived in Toledo in 1963 as the city's first fully trained nephrologist, a specialist in the branch of medicine dealing with the kidney. His first private practice office was on Byrne Road and he made consultation visits every day to hospitals throughout northwest Ohio and southeast Michigan.

"When he started out he had to work in almost every hospital because there wasn't anybody else," said Dr. Robert Youngen, a longtime friend and colleague.

Dr. Geracioti's field involved being on call at all hours to handle emergencies such as acute kidney failure or overdose cases.

"I would run into a number of people during the years and they would say to me, 'Your father changed my life,'•" his son said.

By necessity he became an early adopter of the car phone, and rarely could attend a sporting event in the days before pagers without hearing himself called over the public address system, recalled the younger Dr. Geracioti.

In 1966 he was a co-founder of the Kidney Foundation of Northwest Ohio. Dr. Geracioti also served as director during the 1960s of what was then the Greater Toledo Regional Red Cross, as well as the Greater Toledo Red Cross blood program.

Dr. Geracioti pursued a wide range of intellectual interests, from ancient history to Italian opera. He was an avid reader and collector of books on most any subject, and collected maps at his home in Perrysburg dating back centuries. Friends said he embodied the ideal of physician-scholar.

"His viewpoint was often in centuries other than days," Dr. Youngen said.

Thomas Geracioti was born in Akron in 1933. His father was also a physician who immigrated to the United States from Italy in the early 1920s. He was the youngest of four children, and his older siblings were raised mostly in Italy.

He graduated in 1951 from Spencer High School in Spencer, Ohio, where he met his future wife, Carol Jean Neidhardt. The couple married in 1955.

Dr. Geracioti went on to Case Western Reserve University, where he graduated in 1954. He received his medical degree in 1959 from Georgetown University Medical School.

Surviving are his wife, Carol Jean; sons, Thomas, Michael, and David; sisters, Olga Dattilo and Elsa Dattilo, and seven grandchildren.

Visitation will be after 3 p.m. tomorrow at the Witzler-Shank Funeral Home, Perrysburg. Funeral services will be at 10:15 a.m. Thursday at St. Rose Catholic Church in Perrysburg.

The family suggests tributes to St. John's Jesuit High School, the Toledo Museum of Art, American Red Cross, or a charity of the donor's choice.



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